I know that the economy is currently unstable and that recent graduates are stuck in a never-ending battle with a failing job market and other promising grads. I understand that you have high interest student loans and that living in your parents’ spare bedroom is not an ideal situation. No doubt I will be criticized for saying this, but do not take the first full time, paying job that comes along after you graduate.
After several months of unemployment, you may be tempted to take that full time job as a secretary, despite the fact that you actually went to school to be a designer. You will more than likely tell yourself that the job in sales can work for you, even if you have a writing degree. But don’t settle. Before I make my plea in defense of my argument, I would like to make it clear that I’m not saying you shouldn’t work part time to pay your bills. However, I’m also not saying you should snub something out of the running that doesn’t suit your ideal career. I understand that not everyone’s situation allows them to wait before finding a full time job, it just isn’t feasible. However if you’ll be able to wait, not taking the first job that comes your way could be the best career choice for your future.
First and Foremost: Your Happiness
After graduating, my original goal was to find a job in public relations, ideally for a non-profit corporation. After months of applying for jobs yielded nothing, I threw in the towel. The first job I found was as an administrative assistant for a property management company and I took it. While this wasn’t a bad job in any way, I was unhappy in what I was doing. I did not enjoy what I was doing and it made me depressed. Eventually, I snapped out of it and decided I needed to be grateful to even have a job. Even then I wasn’t happy with my career or myself. Perhaps I was being egoistic but I can’t imagine any new grads being happy in a job they do not like. After all, we didn’t dedicate four years of our young lives in college to something we enjoy only to be hired into a profession we have no interest in.
Next in Line: You Won’t Get Any Expertise in Your Field
If you’re taking a job outside of your field, the only thing you can put on your resume will be that job and also the skills you acquire there. It will be exhausting to find employment for something in your field later because you won’t have quite as much expertise as others who have taken entry level position and have some hands on knowledge.
A friend of mine went to school to be a writer but the only job offer she received after graduation was processing mortgage applications. Three years later, she is still processing applications. She has tried many times for journalism jobs; however she finds that she doesn’t have enough experience as the other candidates. The potential employers don’t understand why she’s working as a real estate loan processor rather than as a writer. Even though she has done some freelance writing for online publications, the experience just isn’t enough to contend with graduates who have one or two years of full time jobs or internships.
Last but not the Least: You Will Get Sucked In
You often lose the ability and motivation to break into your original desired profession after settling for a lesser job. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you enjoy your new-found career path, but it could potentially be disastrous if you hate what you’re doing. There are many graduates who have been sucked into a profession they don’t like because they believed it was temporary at first. Many think it‘s easier to stay where they are at while others have lost the drive to do what they originally wanted. Every day that passes makes it more difficult to get back to that original goal, regardless the reason.
You may wonder what you should be doing if you don’t take that full time desk job you were offered three weeks post graduation. If you’re still looking for your dream job, keep applying and don‘t get discouraged. Maybe start working up the ladder by taking a summer internship or entry level position. As long as you keep your eye on the prize, you will ultimately break into whatever it is you want to do.