By Matt Triay
So young man, or young woman, “What is it you are going to do now?”. How often do we hear this sort of question, from an auntie, uncle, or your dog. The last thing you want to say is “I don’t know”, or worse yet just bark in response. It is great to have the answer, not only for this situation but for yourself. Direction is everything; knowing where we are heading and why is a comforting feeling whilst uncertainty breeds anxiety.
There are the few lucky ones of us who are extremely sure of their purpose in life, whether it means becoming a doctor or an Ed Sheehan lookalike. However, I feel many of us will have a moment, a realisation that if we are lucky to recognise will be indicative of our career path. This lightbulb can turn on at fourteen years old, but it can also take a long while. University is a part of this journey, figuring out where your interests lie. As a Gibraltarian, I and many others were lucky enough to spend 3 years or more working this out for free. There are not many eighteen-year-olds who are in as fortunate a position. There are about a dozen countries that offer free – or close to free – university courses, with Germany topping this list.
There are many graduates trying to understand their place in the world.
So, what now? Even after 3 years of university there are many graduates trying to understand their place in the world. One third of your life, or 90,000 hours of your time, will be spent at work. Of course we care, but do we care too much? As a graduate finding work is difficult; it involves a lot of time spent on a computer, sending out emails, a lot of rejections and it also involves a lot of discussion with as many people as possible about their jobs, what their opinions are on different roles and industries, the pros and cons etc.
One thing I can confirm is that everyone has an opinion on everything, a second is that all people are different, and a third is you alone will decide what you do and who you become. The first two go hand in hand. Taking advice from people on what to do is can be helpful, but one person may say working in sales is great, the next will tell you it is boring, one person will enjoy the target-based performance others may prefer a base salary. Decipher what you think is good or bad about a role, so that you can come to a decision for yourself.
Knowing how to play the game is essential. We may not know what we want to do and employers want people who are passionate about the role, the company, and the industry so play the game and #FakeItToMakeIt. Take the pressure off finding your ‘dream’ job immediately after of university. In my experience, circumstances change all the time – statistics show that the average Brit has 6 jobs in their lifetime, millennials are likely to have 12, and people aged between 18-34 only plan to stay in a job for an average of 3 years.
My point being that it may well be the third or fifth job that is the job. Your first role may well teach you more about yourself, about where your career path is leading, and what makes a job enjoyable for you. Factors such as salary, the size of a company, promotion opportunities, teamwork, company holidays to Ibiza igniting business romances, these factors will be things to think about when progressing through your career. Think of it as a lily pad: you’re a frog moving between jobs (lilies) until you reach one that suits you best. As I mentioned before, some people want to become singers or footballers – in that case, a dream job will allow you to pursue these hobbies. Working late nights won’t work if you are playing gigs, working weekends won’t work if you play Sunday league football.
Think of it as a lily pad: you’re a frog moving between jobs.
I myself want the security to pursue my hobbies in writing and podcasting, and when the call up to BBC comes I’ll make the transition. I’ll be in your ears soon enough! In the meantime, play the game and put on the suit.