Saturday, May 21, 2016

An open letter to graduating college seniors

Dear New College Graduate,

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! Graduating from college is a big freaking deal. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't. 

Now that the congratulations are out of the way...

Every year around this time, every hack writer with a blog gives new college graduates like you advice for the "real world." (If you ask me, college is just as real as the "real world," it just has a more relaxed dress code, but no one asked me.) Not to be left out, I'm going to join the prestigious (now that I'm on it) list of writers who give advice. I'm just going to do it by giving you the same advice you heard four or five (maybe even six) years ago when you graduated high school...with a few small changes.

1. Don't worry if you don't know what you want your major to be = DON'T WORRY IF THE FIRST JOB YOU TAKE ISN'T YOUR DREAM JOB

There a million majors to choose from. Same with jobs. No matter what job you're in you're going to gain work experience that can help you get the job of your dreams down the road. It may turn out that it IS your dream job and you just don't know it yet. If not, just think of it as an elective that helped broaden your horizons and even gave you a paycheck.

2. Don't change your major every semester = DON'T CHANGE JOBS EVERY SIX MONTHS

No job you get will be perfect. Maybe that first job really isn't your dream job. Stick it out for at least a year if you can. Maybe even the second job you take isn't a good fit either. Stay there for a year, too. The reason is that If you can't or won't stay with any job for at a least a year, you'll start to become HR poison. It costs a company A LOT of money to hire and train an employee. Companies want to know you're worth the time and expense. That being said, if your job absolutely hurts your soul, or if another company comes to you with a great offer, then get the hell outta there!


When you start that new job, you're going to need someone to show you the ropes. If there's an official mentoring program, join it. You need the know-how, and management likes to see that their new employees are eager to learn. Because, believe it or not, you don't actually know everything when you finish college...despite how expensive your education was. 

If your company doesn't have a mentoring program, find your own mentor. Don't look for someone "cool." Look for the person who is respected by the company president AND the company janitor. 

After you've been at the company awhile, become a mentor yourself. There will be a new employee who needs you, and management will see you're invested in the company.

There are thousands of other pieces of advice I could give, but these three are the ones that I wish I'd figured out sooner. You're obviously smart (you graduated college AND read this blog), so I have no doubt you'll figure the rest out as you go. Or by reading some other lame blogger's stuff. 

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