Creating a Career Plan

I realized why I’ve been feeling so uninspired lately (besides the fact that I hate my job and am supremely bored at my desk, day in and day out). During my final year at university I created a plan for myself – a direction my life would take after I graduated. This plan included taking a year off after graduation to work, save some money and travel; then go back to school and do an internship; and finally to work.

I am in the final stage of my plan: I am working full-time, in a job that is somewhat related to the program that I studied. But now I don’t see what’s next. I’m not working towards anything, I don’t have a current goal in my professional life. So I’ve decided to create a new plan. This one will be more detailed in terms of a specific career I want and how I’m going to get it.

I’ll be doing a lot of Googling and using a lot of sticky notes over the next few weeks, but I hope that at the end of it all I’ve got a clear path and that I can put a bit more purpose back into my life.

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And would you believe that just as I’m typing this blog post a work opportunity was presented to me. This puts a bit of a wrench in my  career plan. Isn’t this always the way life works? I have a chance to go back to the job I had before I went back to school. This job allowed to me to save up for travelling, buy a car, pay off my student loan, pay for grad school tuition, and made it possible for me to not have to work while I went back to school.

Current Job

  • REALLY LONG commute
  • Flexible hours
  • Boring and uninspiring
  • Spend a lot of time doing crosswords, playing sudoku, speaking to angry customers, working on the occasional project that goes unnoticed and unused
  • Working late some nights, working some events on evenings and weekends
  • Poor paycheque

New/Old Job

  • Stressful work environment
  • Tons of work to do, always busy (not necessarily fulfilling)
  • Reasonable commute
  • Dirty work environment and small office, no real washroom (port-a-pottie)
  • Really good paycheque
  • Early mornings (would mean no time for running, which I love)

 

Now I have an immediate decision to make. The good thing about this is that it will only affect my short-term career plan.  It’s important for me to remember that a career is a life-long work trajectory and that my current job will only be a stepping stone in my career. A career is a journey and one job will not define who I am or what I want to do. It’s never too late to change paths.

Is it bad if I really want the decent paycheque right now and I’m willing to sacrifice my career direction for a bit in order to save up enough money to buy a house and get an RRSP going? Is it so bad? Not many millennials right now are able to get a decent-paying job. Lots of people go for the bigger paycheque over personal-fulfillment. Would I be a sell-out?

Does this sound like I’m trying to justify going back to my old job? Does it sound like I’ve already made up my mind? Maybe I have.

Uggghhh! What should I do?

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Let’s Start with my Unemployment

So I’m unemployed.

(Well technically I have a part-time job, but for all intents and purposes of this blog, let’s just say I’m unemployed because I’m only working about two shifts a month).

I finished my postgraduate program in December and since then I’ve been looking for a full-time job. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it’s tough out there. It’s tough to find a job that I’ll actually like and it’s even tougher to find a job that I’m actually qualified for.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about how there’s a gap between what post-secondary schools are teaching us and what jobs require from potential employees. I agree with this completely. In university I learned how to write well and how to think critically, but what entry-level jobs are asking for are usually at least two to three years of relevant work experience. Even after completing my postgrad program, where there was a compulsory internship placement, I’m still having trouble finding something I’m qualified for and something I actually want to do.

So what options do I have now?

  1. I can do another unpaid internship and hope for employment afterwards, but I’ve done the whole internship thing, and I’m really at a point in my life where I want to be more independent. I’m sure I’m not the only 23-year old post-postgrad student still living at her parents’ house but come on, Mama needs her own place!
  2. I can take a job that I don’t like. I’ve actually applied for a couple of these jobs. Entry-level jobs that don’t pay well, involve a lot of travel and are not very fulfilling. I’ve seen quite a few of these job postings while looking for jobs in the marketing industry. I’ve even gone on a couple interviews for these jobs, but upon hearing more about the position I turned it down. After I finished undergrad I actually made decent money working as an office assistant for a small company, but I hated the work I was doing. I don’t want to be stuck in a job I hate again.
  3. I can keep plugging away with my job search and hope something good will come my way.

I realize that this post may perpetuate the stereotype that millennials and Gen-Yers are entitled. But why is it so bad that I’m not going to settle for something I don’t want? Why shouldn’t I be determined to land a job that I like with a decent salary? I know I may not get every single thing that I want and I know that no position will be perfect, but damn if I’m not going to try my best to find a great fit.

I’ve been getting more interviews recently and have fine-tuned my job search to better suit my wants. I know that I’ll find something soon. I also know that I’m just starting my career and I’ve got a long road ahead of me with a ton of options and different directions to take, but I still want the first step to be a good one.