To my friends graduating college this month, congratulations!
You made it, you did it, and I’m proud that you did. It’s about to get crazy with freedom and responsibility and tons of fun grown-up stuff to do.
Here are 5 quick things for you about our secret meetings and your Suddenly Racist Grandpa:
Don’t narrow your job search to your degree. The point of your major wasn’t to focus you into one singular career field. It was to make you think critically, to see opportunity, to learn social skills, to equip you to survive in the world. Within 10 years, 80% of college graduates are working outside of their area of study. That’s awesome. Don’t limit yourself! If your job doesn’t require the skills you learned in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, that’s OK, it just makes you a potentially more interesting dinner guest.
Get rid of the debt. If you had to take out debt to get through school, I wish we would have met sooner, however this is slowing you down, it’s impeding your progress, it’s a huge weight on your back. It’s killing you. If someone was running after you with a knife, you would fight to survive. Treat your student loan like a person who’s out to seriously harm you…and get rid of it. Fast. Now. Today. With no shame. Make money, pay on the loan, make more money, pay more on the loan. Do jobs that you think are beneath someone with a degree to make enough to pay off the loan. Just because ‘everyone has them’ doesn’t make it OK. Those loans are killing you, no matter the interest rate. Think you should consolidate them? No! Stop doing math and start doing work!
Your degree doesn’t entitle you to a job. Your character and your work ethic and your ability are what gets you a job, not your degree. Hopefully you’ve built and cultivated those other things during your life this far. You don’t deserve anything yet, you get what you earn and work for. You can secretly wish that your diploma would grease the approach into any hiring manager’s office, but the sooner you realize that it doesn’t, the faster you’ll find employment.
Our secret meetings haven’t been about you. Again, this kind of applies to the above, but no one is plotting against you. The world isn’t out to get you. Your college didn’t lead you astray. No one is detracting from your success. Exactly where you are today is the culmination of your choices. Acceptance of this fact puts you ahead of millions and millions of other people. When something doesn’t go your way, if you’re able to check that box, move on, and not blame others, you WILL win.
The real world is full of jerks, not safe spaces. The best thing I can tell you to do is lead by example. You’re not going to change your Suddenly Racist Grandpa. You’re not going to control what and how news channels report events. You’re going to be offended, probably by someone who didn’t even intend to offend you. It happens every single day. What you CAN control is you. Not you as part of a group, but YOU. When you make you better, people notice, and hopefully they’ll become better too.
Excuses are transparent, nobody believes you. You’ll learn this soon enough. In the meantime, stop using them.
Don’t talk to me about TV shows during your interview, that just tells me you squander your free time.
Stop cussing in public.
Pete Herrick is a radio personality, speaker, blogger and podcaster. He works with groups on leadership, culture, transition, efficiency, storytelling and branding. Find him on social media @peteherrick or at herrickandcompany.com. Now booking engagements, contact us for availability.