So you’ve graduated university. Long nights spent doing assignments the day before they are due and gorging yourself on liquid gold (coffee) have finally paid off and you have your diploma. You’re eager and ready to start your chosen career and positive you have all the necessary tools to do so.
But inevitably the rejection emails start to roll in. By the dozen, actually. As the months pass by and you still find yourself in your sweatpants at noon, you’ll realise that you may actually be well on your way to the dreaded Quarter Life Career Crisis. Staying hopeful is easier said than done, but there are ways to kick the Postgrad blues.
Psychologist and former management consultant Angela Lee Duckworth gave a rousing TED Talk on measuring success and how grit plays a large part in indicating future achievement. The best part about grit is that, as a university grad, you’re likely to have tons of it. Remaining in higher education actually demonstrates high levels of grit or ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ as your parents would put it. Jotting down and taking steps to accomplishing long term goals may actually help you achieve short term goals. Instead of wishing and waiting for your first (or second) graduate position, think about yourself 10-15 years in the future. Use your long term goals to bolster your short term ones and you’ll be surprised at how much more confident you feel walking into job interviews.
Nevermind the buzzkill
Comparing yourself to your peers and former classmates is the most toxic thing you can do to fuel a Quarter Life Career Crisis. It’s human nature to become frustrated when you notice people your age make major career advances. One thing to remember is that it’s not a requirement to have your life together by 25. It is, however, a requirement that you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and forge ahead. Bringing yourself down by lamenting a lack of perceived success can get you into a funk very quickly. Ditch the pity party and realise that your 20s are a time of personal and career growth.
Work outside your home
Whether you’re applying for jobs or finally making strides in your freelance business, leaving your home to work a few times a week can go a long way. Aside from the obvious ‘get some fresh air’ business, getting up early, getting dressed, and going to a well lit coffee shop or shared working space can make a world of difference. Settling into a routine not only has the positive effect of changing up your scenery but it can also help to break bad habits like sleeping in well into the afternoon.
If you can’t find a job, then make your own
The best advice I ever received at university was that you don’t have to sit and wait for an opportunity to present itself. You can make your own opportunities. The rise of well paid bloggers, vloggers, digital consultants, and social media specialists has been meteoric over the last 5 or so years. No one is saying that it’s easy. There are obvious start up costs to consider. However, becoming self-employed or just freelancing has relatively low barriers to entry. Not getting the work you want can be frustrating but creating a job for yourself puts your hard earned qualifications to good use and can ultimately help you land your dream job.
Nicky is a twenty-something year old London based freelance blogger, journalist, and recent graduate. She specialises in entertainment journalism and digital marketing. She can be found blogging at www.nnikatnite.co.uk.
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