Grads Without Gigs

It’s graduation season which means I have had a lot of conversations recently with young women I mentor lately, either formally or informally, about their careers and their futures. But today, I had the opportunity to speak with a young woman who graduated last year and still hasn’t found a full time job, much less one in her chosen field. Seeing this new crop of grads heading into the workforce just reminded her of the anniversary of her own graduation and her former feelings of hope this time last year turning into frustration now.

We had a good conversation, and of course, I offered her words of encouragement and practical approaches to the job search that she said helped, but still, I could tell this was difficult for her… in part because of her own self-imposed limitations.

“I can’t move where I want to because it will be too expensive.”

“I can’t look for a job too far away from where I live now, because the commute would be crazy.”

“My field is not common in this area. The gigs are rare and not coming up.”

All valid points, by the way. She wasn’t just making excuses or being lazy. But – all those reasons struck me as having the same theme: MOVE!

In this case, it really is likely a “move” in both locality and mindset needs to take place, but for many of us – especially new grads – it may be one or the other.

FEAR HANDCUFFS US! We tell ourselves that we can’t do something and back it up with ‘credible’ reasoning saying that whatever we want to do doesn’t make sense or that it is too risky. We end up short-changing ourselves and the rest of the world from the people we are supposed to be as a result.

This is something that I have to remind myself about to be honest, because the older I get – especially now with a husband and child and dog to consider – I have become much more risk adverse. Once I realized that, I began to make it a habit to try and do something that scares me regularly, like keeping up with this blog, indoor skydiving, recently taking Amharic classes, or trying [solidcore] for the first time (which I am now addicted to, by the way, and go three to five times a week!). Doing something you are afraid of keeps you YOUNG, keeps you SHARP, keeps you EXCITED! It’s super important to remember that as you grow older, but it’s also important to remember when you are indeed young.

If you are feeling stuck, think about what you really want, where you really want it, and how you really want it, and then MOVE your mind, body, or both and take the first step. The first step is the scariest, but then… it’s just another step on your path to actualizing the gifts that are you. Do something new, out of your comfort zone, and STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF. No more excuses. You got this. We got this!