At 6, I wanted to be a firefighter.
At 12, I wanted to become a doctor.
At 16, I just wanted to quit school already.
At 20, I didn’t know what to do with my life but i knew i needed an education.
At 24, I graduated from said education with the most useless degree one could get: Art and Graphic Design.
Why? Because i liked drawing so much i thought i could easily make it into a successfull career. (Lol)
It was 2012 and the economy was stuck in the worst recession since decades. Needless to say i didn’t find a job ANYWHERE.
Burn your degree
We’re Millennials, born in a innovative era, the world is changing faster than ever before. Still we’re being told we can face that challenging world the old-fashioned way.
The millennial generation is one of the few generations subjected to so many profound changes in such a short time. We started highschool barely having cellphones (nokia 3310…anyone?) and while doing homework on a typewriter. To graduating college on an ipad and stories about people dropping out of college and becoming millionaires.
Given recent developments in AI and technical advancement there are no signs these changes are slowing down, they’re just getting started.
The truth is that various certainties like ‘work hard and get a good degree’ and ‘hard work will get you anywhere’ just don’t seem right any longer, it just doesn’t cut it in today’s world.
But then what? What do you do? Just dig a hole in the ground and wait for it to blow over?
“if you just work hard and get a good degree/scholarship, it will all work out for you” -my dad
Me, Myself and I
I sent out resume after resume, but never recieved a call. I just wanted what everyone of us wanted; freedom to do what I want (and a car), why was that so hard?
I would be lying if i said it didn’t hurt or that it all went smoothly. Being an adult all of the sudden is hard! It came to me that my education didn’t -in ANY way- prepare me for the world I was shot into. I was educated in a field that barely even existed at the time I graduated.
Eventually i found myself a job doing nightshifts in a Customer Service Callcenter making barely minimum wage. Horrendous workinghours, stressfull, teamleaders on speed (no, really…), colleagues stuck in the same routine for YEARS…and the CUSTOMERS! Don’t get me started…and the list goes on and on.
If you’re currently working in a callcenter and you’re happy where you are, you’re awesome! You guys get me discounts every year! I can imagine there are callcenters where one can work happily ever after, unfortunately i had a completely different experience at the time.
For me, it took a year or two to realise that life wasn’t for me. I had enough. So i started to do what everyone does: updating my resume and writing letters to possible employers. I wrote more than 50 letters without ONE invitation for an interview.
Little did i know that in the two years i worked in Customer Service, the Graphic Design industry changed so much that i had less to offer than everyone fresh out of college. For example: I was the last year to graduate without coding lessons… and nowerdays, you need to be able to code.
Well i was completely stuck, my degree didn’t get me anywhere while it should’ve been my ticket to a good career! …Right? It felt as if i was condoned to a life in Customer Service forever. I was mad at everyone back then, especially the ones I loved most dearly.
So I just quit from one day to the other.
Needless to say: what followed was a rollercoaster from freelance gigs to part-time jobs with a detour at unemployed and a pitstop on welfare. It wasn’t pretty to be honest but it would be unfair if I were to leave my SO out of the equation. She really stood up to the test and provided some much needed emotional and financial stability, I’m still extremely grateful for all she did!
I manned up eventually, took some friends in high-earning positions out for a coffee to see how they got there and fast-forward 3 months later: I started working in the Financial sector and I’m working there still.
So what can you take from this?
- Understand nobody is the same, everybody developed in their own way and pace. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.
- Your fancy and costly degree doesn’t dictate your life, you can re-invent yourself at will.
- Understand that EVERYBODY is looking for a place in this world, it’s no shame you haven’t found yours.
- You have a network already, use them and hear out their story, we all like to share successes over a coffee.
- Ready more books, a simple book about the basics of human psychology landed me a 25% raise!
- Dare to question yourself and your truths.
- Learn how to write a good resume and cover letter
I’ll cover more on these topics later on, if i can give you one last piece of advice it’s that Change. Will. Take. Time., don’t expect things to change overnight.
Life is a long-ass marathon, not a sprint.