A really interesting series of articles was found last week by one of my fellow interns, and was sent around the D-SIP email group (and posted to the D-SIP facebook!). It was a debate held on the New York Times opinion blog centered on recent grads, and whether taking any job is better than having no job. If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you know this is pretty relevant to me.
Photo courtesy annarbor.com
I graduated from LS&A with a degree in Political Science and Economics, a pretty common degree. I received an excellent, broad, liberal arts education but that’s difficult entering this job market because I’m competing with so many recent grads with similar academic backgrounds. I’m not yet on any sort of pre-professional track, so I could literally do anything. As we near the halfway point of D-SIP, you can see how I start to face this conundrum…should I take just any job, or can I afford to wait for the right one?
What I found interesting about this debate was that the people who most strongly argued in favor of taking any job were the people with the background in psychology. Both talked about how young people in my generation are too over confident when it comes to jobs, and they need a “dose of reality” when it comes to the workplace. One even calls this generation of college grads “Generation Me,” because they are too focused on themselves. Members of Generation Me see work less central to their lives and many jobs as beneath them. While I think that there is some merit to taking jobs and learning how to work, I wholeheartedly disagree that a lot of people my age are too self interested when it comes to finding a job. I’m confident that I personally know what it takes to work hard and reach success; I think I’ve learned that in past internships and on-campus experience. Thankfully, a number of the other commentators sided with me, arguing that college students should take time when selecting a career rather than just taking a dead-end job. I feel like I have a lot of really relevant experience, even more so now going through D-SIP (which has been great!)…And I think doors will open if I’m patient. While this debate didn’t do much make me feel better about my job prospects, I think it helped reinforce my perspective—and gave me clarity on some the decisions that I will face as my job search continues.
Read Full Post »
As apart of D-SIP, each Friday afternoon we get to discuss and participate in activities revolving around professional development. These sessions have been particularly helpful for me because I am a recent college grad who is both looking for jobs and trying to figure out what career direction I want to move in. This week’s topic was the importance of networking, which led to a long, yet very organic, discussion about different experiences people have had and some strategies some of my fellow interns have used when it comes to this daunting task.
Within the next five years I want to end up in DC, how do I get there? Networking!
The Wall Street Journal this year ran a great blog named “Hire Education,” which followed a couple of college seniors throughout the year as they embarked on their job hunt. On that blog, a recent post said that in general a lot of students have a really hard time networking while they’re still in school. According to the author, this is due to a few factors including: anxiety, a lack of ability to frame this type of correspondence for maximum effect, and issues revolving around an inability to define self-identity. I mostly agree with these reasons why networking is so difficult for many of us. I can especially identify with this concept revolving around personal identity. In these situations my question always seems to be, if I still don’t truly know what I want to do in life yet (I still dread the question “What are you doing now that you’ve graduated”), how am I supposed to network with established professionals to ultimately gain some benefit for the future?
Luckily, Friday’s professional development session helped reframe this concept for me. I realized that networking is a natural occurrence, an activity that I am constantly participating everyday. Once every couple of months, I email bosses and co-workers from my previous internships updating them on life. To me, this was simply about maintaining friendships, but I’ve come to realize that through this I am also developing my professional network.
I can also say that almost every job opportunity that was presented to me came about due to networking. Whether it was a reference from someone working at the company, to someone forwarding my resume along for me to someone they knew—the way that I received most of my interviews was through using my network. In this economy, it is rare that blindly dropping your resume online works, that is not the only strategy that any recent college grad can use when applying for full time jobs. It is only this year that I have come to see the benefits associated with networking. As the summer moves along I am going to try to work on this skill; it is an ability that I know D-SIP will help me develop and that is really exciting. As always, any comments or suggestions (or career advice!) are much appreciated!
Read Full Post »
This last month has been a whirlwind. I spent April enjoying the weather, seeing friends for the last nights out in college, wrapping up my student organization commitments, reflecting on where I am to go in the future, and, oh yeah, taking exams. I graduated May 1st, a thundering, rainy mess of a morning that turned into one of the most amazing days of my life (I have the Obama commencement address still bookmarked on my browser and watch snippets of it from time to time—does that make me a political nerd?). And then last week I started D-SIP.
Suddenly life is more settled, it has routine. I feel re-energized and refocused as I start this internship. I still am not totally sure where I want to go next. Over the year, I have had job opportunities come and go and I decided on D-SIP because I felt like it had the perfect blend of personal and professional development to put me on the right path for the future. As the summer moves along I will continue to blog about my internship, let you know how my workdays, philanthropy class, and projects are going, and keep you updated on my job search. Even with this newfound routine in my life I am sure this summer will be equally challenging and enlightening as my April was.
This summer I will be working for the School of Art and Design, which is up on North Campus and is known for producing awesome grads that go onto do great things across many different disciplines.
I’ll be working in Development focused on helping with their annual fund. I’m excited to bring some of my analytical background to the job, but I’m also nervous because I really want to deliver for them. I’ve only worked two full days so far, so once I actually delve into my project more I’ll let you know how it’s going!
Read Full Post »