I am going to tell a little story about some of the jobs I have had and how they helped me to reach my current job and position as a Career Advisor and as the associate director of outcomes (which means I get to work with the data from various assessments that we send out – mainly, the graduation survey of our recent grads).
My story is not going to be the one of career fairy tales (i.e. the first job she took was the perfect fit and she lived happily ever after in career bliss) – it is going to be about the potholes I ran over on my path to a job I love.
Pothole #1 – Professional Athlete in Europe
This seems like a dream job to many and it really was quite fantastic.
I experienced a new culture, got paid to travel, and it allowed me to stay in great shape. It was remarkable but it was also where I realized that distance did matter. I was connected to my family via Skype phone calls and Facebook status updates and I needed more. Also, having a lot of time on my hands and little interaction with people made me feel unfulfilled. For two years, this was the best job ever! Anything beyond that and it would have grown to be a job that I detested because it was stopping me from doing what I had a need and desire to do.
Realization #1 – Get back to the Midwest. Do something that involves helping people.
Pothole #2 – High School Math Teacher
I’m back in the Midwest and I’m helping people! I think that teaching is an amazing profession and I have the most respect for those doing it but there are things about it that are not for me. The 2 ½ months of vacation: wonderful! Helping students to deal with something they are struggling with: amazing! Checking papers for over 100 students: what about my TV shows! Contacting parents about student issues: no thanks!
Realization #2 – Work with and help students. Minimal contacting of parents.
So….now what? I started thinking – are there any people I know that work with students but don’t work with parents and do some paperwork/grading but not so much that it interferes with relaxing in the evening? It took some rattling of the brain, but I came to the realization that my academic advisors in college had that life. I contacted them, told them what my desires were and they helped me to start traveling the career road with less bumps, less potholes.
So what’s the point? Even though many students will at one point and time find themselves in a job or internship they dislike, it doesn’t mean it has to be wasted time. Remember what you like and remember what you dislike and search for a job that highlights the likes and minimizes the dislikes.
Written by Jamie Cavey, Associate Director of Outcomes and Career Advisor.