Friday, October 18, 2013

A Letter to Me... Part II *What is a Career?*

Dear 18 year old self,
Me again. You know what I was thinking this morning as I was writing this letter to you? This is sort of like the episode of the office when Jim sends Dwight faxes “from the future”… One of your favorite episodes.  By the way, on this day, October 18th, 2008…. DON’T DRINK THE COFFEE! You’ll thank me later…

Speaking of the office, I wish to send you a letter to better prepare you for the working world and the adventures you’ll embark on in order to find your calling. I can’t even tell you what your career is and what you’re working towards. Really, it’s impossible for me to do so because I am ((almost)) in as much of the dark right now as you are at the age of 18. But this is not a bad thing… and here’s why-

You will hold multiple jobs throughout the next five years. You will work in several restaurants as anything from a baker to a barista. You’ll also be an office assistant, PR coordinator, intern, event manager, data analyst and advertising consultant. These will all be short-lived positions, but all of them will offer the opportunity to learn what you like to do day-to-day and what you do not. Don’t get frustrated if you fail at one of them (I won’t tell you which) because this will show you that you are better suited for a position that will open more doors to the people you want to surround yourself with, the work you wish to pursue in the long run, and the freedom to produce the crops of your heart.

Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s when it comes to pursuing the right major in college or your overall career after graduation. Each and every single person you meet will experience set-backs and moments of doubt about what they wish to be in the working world. It’s the people who experiment with multiple majors, consider numerous career paths, or juggle several jobs at one time that will gain a wealth of knowledge about what’s out there and the kind of person they are hoping to become. Go to them for advice when you need it. And by the way- your undergraduate major does not decide what you will be doing right after college nor does it define your career. But- make sure you use your time wisely and choose to study what you enjoy while you have the resources to.

One thing I did not do that I wish I did (and I beg of you to consider now while you can)- go abroad while in school. I’m sitting here at the age of 23 and I still have yet to go to a Spanish speaking country like I wished for in high school. Your brother did it, and you should too. Learn diverse cultures, adapt to differences so they are no longer differences but instead- valuable perspectives, and contemplate how you can transfer your understanding to others so they may too wish to close the gap on prejudice anywhere you go. You’ll know people who DID go abroad and they will always tell you this was something they will never regret.

Remember that money isn’t everything when it comes to your first job out of college. Here’s a shocker- the economy is hardly getting better, and this will make things challenging for you and your classmates. For the time being, apply for internships and don’t be discouraged if you work for less than you expect when starting off. Hands on experience in something you love for less income will bring you more wealth and feed your overall contentment. Don’t settle for a job that provides a fat paycheck only to pay for material things that suppress your unhappiness in that position. If you are afraid of only one thing- find fear in becoming unhappy- this fear will push you to be optimistic and driven towards your greatest capabilities- especially in the workforce.

Ban negativity from your everyday conversations- with others and with yourself. Complaining never got anyone anywhere- and in a world where time can make the difference between succeeding and receding- choose the path to higher ground, climb like hell, and don’t look back. Like mentioned in my first letter, the tougher classes and job positions will lend way to a more enjoyable and understandable horizon of opportunity.

Work hard, strive to yield results you can take pride in, and take every opportunity offered to you to learn something new. And if none of this seems relevant to you today… remember one thing- DON’T DRINK THE COFFEE!

Love, Future Dwight

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