We live in a world of instant gratification. Want to know the square-mileage of Kazakhstan? Just Google it. (I just did. It's 1,052,085 sq. mi.) Think you've got what it takes to be a pop star? Just YouTube yourself and, if you're good enough, you could be a worldwide sensation overnight. Want to be famous? Just get on one of the gazillion reality TV shows out there and – BOOM! – you're on the cover of People magazine.
The Real Reality
Unfortunately, when it comes to getting the job of your dreams, it doesn't always work that way. Sure, you may have a diploma in hand and a million-dollar smile, but finding a job in your field right out of college isn't guaranteed.
In fact, last year the Washington Post reported that only 27% of recent grads had a job related to their major. This is known as underemployment, i.e., working in a job that does not require a college degree. And over the last couple decades right around one-third of all recent grads are underemployed.
I studied English in college and wanted more than anything to find a job in writing. But at the time there weren't a lot of opportunities in my area, and even though I had a degree to my name, I just didn't have the experience or skill that employers were looking for. As a result my first post-collegiate job was as a stock-boy for a national office supplies chain.
Not exactly my dream gig.
And it didn't end there. After that I worked in retail, and then the mortgage industry, and then as a temp for various companies, where I did basic administrative work. And none of these required me to do any writing. At least not the kind I wanted to do.
But I didn't give up. In my downtime I continued to hone my skills and become a better writer. I read as much as I could to learn from other writers. I asked people for advice and made solid, authentic connections that would help me down the road. Eventually, opportunity knocked, and I was able to land a job as a copywriter for a local radio station.
It still wasn't my dream job, but it was finally something in my field. More important, it gave me my first real professional experience—experience that I would build on to help me find the type of job I always dreamed of.
Your Time Will Come
It's been many years since I've graduated from college, but today I'm finally doing the type of writing I've always wanted to do. It's been a long and sometimes frustrating journey, but it taught be a lot about hard work, perseverance, and using your time wisely to better yourself and get yourself in position when opportunity comes your way.
Sure, it would be nice if you could graduate from college and suddenly find yourself in the perfect job. But chances are that's not gonna happen. Just remember to stick in there, keep plugging away and use your time to work toward your goals, and before you know it you'll find a job that fills your wallet and, more important, fulfills your soul.