If you are reading this, you, probably, find yourself in this anxious and intimidated state of not knowing whether you will land a job after graduation. I want to assure you first that you will. If you are in the US the employment rate is only slightly higher than 4 %, so you have a very high chance of getting hired.
This stress and uncertainty can rush you into making some impetuous decisions at the start of your career. Many students are so afraid not to get a job and are so excited about any opportunity that emerges that they do not give enough critical evaluation of the offer until it is too late.
Young graduates are very easily pleased, and companies use it to their advantage. I suggest you understand your value and don’t get trapped by a terrible job offer just because you are happy to jump into the workforce.
Why Is It So Important?
Any job is a commitment, especially if it is qualified. When you do some waitressing or bartending for few months and then quit, it is to be expected. However, when you give up a prestigious occupation in a well-known company, it will raise many questions at your future interviews.
In order to avoid or mollify those questions, you might want to stay in the job a bit longer. Just one more year, you would think. However, the more you stay, the harder it is to quit. Once you get used to this kind of work, you will be scared to try something new and will not want to abandon this illusion of security.
It will take your precious time that you could have used instead to find your true calling. Life is short, and it is not worth spending it being stuck in the job you don’t enjoy just to improve your resume and not scare off other potential employers.
Understanding Your Priorities
As a person who changed three jobs with very distinct pros and cons, I can tell you right now that understanding yourself and your priorities is the first and foremost thing you need to do before even thinking about sending a resume.
Do not think in terms of traditional ideals. Of course, having a fat paycheck is a very tempting possibility. Nonetheless, if you do not like what you are doing, will it be enough to compensate your dissatisfaction with how you spend most of your days.
I had a job with a good salary and outstanding benefits. Nonetheless, the fact that I dreaded every new day at work forced me a year later to quit it and find a more fulfilling career that suits my personality better.
I am not saying that it will be the same for you. Maybe, you are one of those easy-going and composed people who can do anything as long as the salary looks nice. In any case, try to imagine yourself doing this job every single day for the rest of your life. If this thought alone makes you uncomfortable, maybe, you should reconsider your original decision.
Think of Work-Life Balance
This is another issue closely linked to priority setting. Many recent graduates are so excited about starting their career with a big company that they are ready to work 24/7 just to make their employer happy. However, is that really what you want out of life?
Even if you really love working and feel passion for the company cause, you are not immune to burnout. If you want to have a job just for the sake of financial stability and ability to diversity your life with attractive things and activities, you need to be especially cautious.
Research the company’s work ethics. The job description may say that you only need to work 9 to 5; however, in reality it may be that employees are expected to spend much longer hours. Even if you are paid for overtime, maybe, it is more important for you to dedicate it to your hobbies, friends or family. Moreover, leaving work on time can diminish your career prospects, and you will simply look like an outcast in comparison with your colleagues.
It is also crucial to ask about vacation time. It can be that even though the salary is higher at one company, another one offers more paid vacation days. You need to think not just about the paycheck, but also what quality of life you can have in addition to that paycheck.
Consider the Benefits
Benefits are something many young graduates tend to disregard often in view of their age. You may think it is unnecessary to think about retirement so early. However, this is a wrong predisposition, as the earlier you create a 401K, the more money you will have in the end.
I will repeat again, salary is not everything. An employment is like a relationship between a company and you. Even if your employer pays you well, not being able to take more than 15 days of vacation or any sick leaves can make you feel neglected and unimportant for the company. Do you really want to stay in such a hurtful relationship?
Moreover, it is worth looking in the company’s maternity leave policy. It can be frustrating to work for a company for 3 years, and then end up unable to take sufficient time off to care for a baby. In the long term, such benefits can outweigh the salary as they do not only save you in your most vulnerable moments, but also fortify your relationship with the company.
Ask About Business Travel
Very often companies would require their employees to take a number of business trips in addition to their normal work. First of all, you need to ask yourself whether it is something you can handle in the first place. Second of all, you need to inquire about the financial compensation of the said trips.
This is critical to ensure that you do not have to take money out of your wallet to pay for business travel. Of course, a good company will provide sufficient compensation for such trips, but some of them may trick you into giving you the very minimum. You need to ask about the exact sum they are willing to arrange and then carefully estimate how reasonable it is.
Look at the Company’s Image
Some companies have this aura of evil around them. Granted, you won’t feel too proud of working in such firms. The thing that makes people the happiest, especially if those people are millennials, is the feeling of purpose in their activities. Therefore, you need to look for a job which will allow you to do something you deem important.
It will allow you to persevere through the first year of employment which is usually the hardest. It will give your life a sense of purpose and preclude depression. I know it sounds a bit naive, but getting stuck in a shady business that does no good can really hit not only your work quality, but also your self-esteem and the way you live your life in general.
So, if you do not want to feel miserable every day, find a job with a purpose, no matter how small. Even if you work in a lowly service job, think of it as helping people. Do not waste your life doing something you don’t believe.