New grad Sean Aiken is on a quest to find his passion. His mission to discover what will make him happy at work has led him across the US and Canada, taking a different job every week. What has he learned so far?
How did you feel as a graduating student about working? I was overwhelmed, depressed at having to face the responsibility of the real world and had no clue what I wanted to do.
Do you think many other students are in the same position? I think so. I receive many emails from people in the same situation. I think that we have higher expectations of the workforce. The world is getting smaller all the time and we are realizing there are an incredible number of possibilities for us out there. It can be quite overwhelming. Added to this difficulty is the fact that my generation is looking for more than just a career. We are seeking a healthy lifestyle, a situation in which we can truly be happy.
Do you think you'll find a career through this process? It is not about finding a specific career, it's about learning the characteristics that I require to be happy in the workplace. At the end, hopefully I will be able to bring them together and have a really good understanding of the type of career I would like to find.
Do you think traditional careers advice is still relevant? I think the traditional advice is still relevant, though there are other things to consider now. I often hear from my employers that they would take someone who possesses a genuine excitement for the job and willingness to learn as opposed to someone who simply has high marks.
What is the best advice you've heard from one of your employers? There is no rush. Many people don't really know themselves and what they want to do until their 30s. Enjoy this period of uncertainty in our lives for what it is. One day we will be looking back on it and laughing.
What are the top tips you would give to a student who is graduating college? I think a mistake many people make when deciding what they want to do for a living is to focus on a title and ignore the characteristics that a particular career and its lifestyle would entail. "I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher…"After having then gained the knowledge or expertise to get there, we might come to realize this is not what we are truly looking for.
Make a promise to yourself that you will be in a job that you love doing. Once you make that promise to yourself, with every decision that comes your way, you will be asking yourself whether that choice will keep you on the path to making this situation become a reality.
Do you think it's possible that you'll end up not in a career but as a freelancer? A definite possibility. My goal is to have difficulty answering the question, "what do you do for a living?" I will respond with, "Well, I can tell you what I do with my time."
For more, check out Sean's blog! jp