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Saturday, September 09, 2006  

Advice for college grads: Your first career choice doesn't have to be perfect

I have a short piece of advice for all of you who are about to graduate or just graduated college: just pick something!

I see so many recent college grads who are simply paralyzed by all of the choices ahead of them. They don't know what they want to do for a living, they don't know how to get into certain fields, they're afraid of starting the long journey to corporate drone at age 21. The thing is most people don't know exactly what they want to do for their careers, and the great news is most people also end up having several careers over their lives. The first job that you take is not a prison sentence that you will never be able to escape. But too many people don't know what to do so they end up not doing anything at all. I totally understand this, the process of interviewing is difficult and scary especially when you have that feeling of "why would anyone want to hire ME for this job over anyone else?".

This is why you just have to close your eyes and dive in. Pick any career that you're interested in and apply and interview until you find a an entry-level job in that field. Notice I said any career that you're interested in. Starbucks is not a career, but if you did want to make that yours should be applying at the corporate offices not the coffee shop. It's ok to pick something that you aren't sure you want to do for the rest of your life, or aren't sure that you want to do at all. The best way to find out is to try it out and see what you enjoy. Unlike college where it costs you more every time you switch majors in the real world you actually get paid for every job you take!

Another problem that I see is people feeling like their chosen career path isn't good enough for whatever reason. Maybe people in college or high school expected "more" of you than the lowly non-profit salary. Maybe you're afraid people will think it's silly that you want to pursue a career in theatre. Maybe you're afraid people will think you're "selling out". Who cares? You're the one that will have to show up every day. Pick something that you like, not something that others are expecting you to do.

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