When I was deciding on colleges and trying to answer “what do I want to be when I grow up” I knew that I wanted to make a lot of money and that I wanted to wear nice clothes to an office. I figured that people who work in offices seem to have money and wear pencil skirts and blouses. Those were the driving factors behind my 4 year plan which included majoring in business, (shopping) interning, and (shopping) getting a job.
I am happy to say I achieved one of those goals – business casual/professional is the expected dress code in my office! Turns out, I was not a very good business student. I didn’t come to class with a competitive, bottom line mindset and beyond basic math I am terrible with numbers. I found this to be the case in my internships as well. I hated going to my major classes but I loved art history, English, and sociology but feared these majors because they did not offer a clear career trajectory. I joined the marketing club which turned out to be a group of people who planned a trip to Europe which I didn’t even go on. So, I made a change for sophomore year. I kept my major and continued interning and working in the summers but I applied to be a Resident Assistant. Resident Assistants were always planning fun events, hosting scrapbooking parties and ice cream socials. They were super nice and friendly and always talking with me about my day and answering my questions. It was awesome, I loved this job.
In Season Finale I talked about advantageous ways to leave on a positive note from an internship or summer work experience. In that post I did not discuss what you should do if your summer or some other epiphany caused you to rethink your initial plans or if you are evaluating your current career path.
This epiphany or realization can come at anytime whether you’re in college or already adulting your way through life. My epiphany came when I was a junior in college and struggling my way through a finance class. I was complaining about this to my Residence Hall Director and she just looked at me and said, “Why don’t you go into student affairs?” Ding Ding Ding Ding! Briliant! I finished my business major because it was a little late to change but I did fit in a sociology minor. Professionally, I have been working in student affairs since I graduated college (and LOVE it) but personally, many other interests have crossed my mind.
I am still a long term planner but I am much better about acknowledging changes in my interests and finding ways to incorporate them into my life. In some instances my interests are very related to my work which results in conversations with my supervisor (stay tuned for how to have this discussion) and other times I scratch an interest itch by volunteering or taking a class or dragging one my friends to some event.
I fully recognize that when I aborted my initial plan, I was in a very flexible place in my life as a college student. If you are still in college and having any doubts or just feeling a little lost, speak with a career counselor. This is one one of the reasons my job exists. I help students figure out why they like or don’t like their classes or internships and then we re-work the plan. Career services is valuable resources all college students should avail themselves to.
If you’re adulting in the real world but share similar concerns about your career, don’t worry. Of course you cannot just up and quit your job and it is not as simple as adding a minor to your class schedule. First, consider your interests and why you are not loving work right now. Are these interests that you can pursue in your personal life and would make you happy or is it really time for a career change? If it is a career change entirely, try contacting your alma mater. Many colleges and universities offer services and resources for alumni. Get on LinkedIn, this is a great networking and job search tool (we will talk about navigating the LinkedIn beast later.) If your latest interest is not career related, find ways to fit it into your after work life.
These are just the type of questions I can help with! I would love to chat about your career or personal interests and how to move forward.