I know this post is not directly related to public relations or to social media; however, I feel the need to speak to every young professional out there who is either in the same situation as I (jobless) or have obtained a job that is not in the field in which they attended school to learn. I believe that we all share a common goal and that is to seek achievement, recognition, acceptance, guidance and most of all success.
The purpose of this post is to put into perspective, based off of previous conversations with other young professionals, friends and colleagues, how we as young professionals feel about the working world and why it is so hard to get to where we need to be professionally when we have the credentials and only seek a means to better our lives. This is only my opinion and should be treated as such. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion! So please, share yours with me.
Anyway, getting on to my point. As young professionals we are given the task of making our own way, achieving for ourselves the dreams that are instilled in us by our parents and grandparents. We are challenged to rise above the rest of society and make something of ourselves. We are encouraged to go to college and get a degree so that we can one day work for a company that pays top dollars, a company replete with benefits, a company that values us and keeps us around because we are so “awesome” and have such a bright future. Yet so many of us are left with pierced hearts and egos because we are promised a piece of the American pie and still have nothing to show for it after college is completed.
College Only Teaches Us What It Wants Us To Know
Given my current situation (a recent graduate of Marquette), I have had the opportunity to look at life a little differently. Being on the opposite side of collegiate struggles, I can now understand that college is, in my opinion, underrated. Here is why:
We as students are taught the basic principles of certain subjects. We work through all of the prerequisites to declare a major. Once we declare a major we work to master that one subject. However, college focuses so much on getting us to learn one subject that it does not teach us how to survive with what we have learned. We graduate from college with only the basic knowledge of our subject, but what about the other important subjects and skills we fail to get practice realize are important? For instance, many of us know how to communicate with the public but have no idea how to make a budget or write a proposal or craft a business plan.
Another flaw within the system is the fact that the school system is based on a pass/fail criteria. That detracts from students actually learning! We focus so much on getting the grade that we fail to retain all of the information given to us. Yes, you can argue that it is about applying oneself but what is application without motivation? Then, we get to the point where we have finally passed the class, but don’t care for the material because we have conditioned our minds to retain information only for the purpose of passing the next test or quiz. Now, where do students go from here? WE TEACH OURSELVES!
I value education because THAT cannot be written off on our tax sheets and it doesn’t cost us a thing. School on the other hand…well, we will feel that burning a hole in our pockets for years to come.
Working With What We Have To Obtain What We Don’t
The most daunting part about being a young professional is questioning whether or not we have what it takes to make it in the working world. Believe me, it is pretty scary especially when we have other responsibilities like taking care of ourselves: paying for rent, feeding our faces and just surviving with the bare minimum. Somehow we have to make it work and only with the help of those who care for us. It is true what they say, “It is not always what you know, but who you know.”
Young professionals have the incredible task of finding a career, not just a job, and proving to employers that we are “worthy” to be hired and to wear the crest of accomplishment. Well, given that we often graduate with little to no experience and a couple of internships to show, how realistic is it that we actually have a breakthrough and find a company that is willing to not only accept who we are as human beings, whether Black, White, Asian, Hispanic or otherwise, but also know that we often still need some sort of guidance to get where we want to go. It seems as though companies and organizations want the cream of the crop right out of college but turn away so many of us with promising intellect, drive, motivation and ambition. I assume that is not enough when all that matters is improving the company’s bottom line and making money. Companies often do not hold on to prospects long enough for them to make a splash and show themselves “worthy” to be a part. So once again, where do we go from here? WE GRIND AND KEEP IMPROVING OUR SKILL SET!
In a country where companies claim to be “equal opportunity employers,” I find it amazing that so many of us young professionals seek even entry-level employment but many times are told to “strengthen your resume and get back with us” or “polish your skills and reapply.” Well guess what Mr./Ms. Employer? We can only work with the little that we have and if no one is there to MENTOR us then we must do it ourselves!
What Should Young Professionals Do About Their Situation?
If you do nothing else in your life, find the skill set you are naturally good at. Whether it is writing, drawing, planning, organizing, teaching, etc., find your niche and perfect it. There is always someone who can’t do what you can do! Here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Market to individuals who seek your skill set
- Read up on how to improve your skill set
- Practice your skill set
- Make yourself available to smaller businesses in order to gain experience working in a professional setting
- Stay encouraged and keep working at your craft!
- Share your work with the world! How else will you build credibility?
- Brand yourself alongside your work. You have what it takes to get where you need to go. Just be faithful!
Please let me say that this does not at all suggest that I hate companies or organizations. I am simply providing a different perspective on the professional world and encouraging other young professionals to keep striving for success. Also, I am not discouraging people from going to college. Please, go to college. It teaches a lot about being self-sufficient and decision-making.
SOMETIMES THE BEST OPTION IS TO DO IT YOURSELF! CREATE SOMETHING MEANINGFUL FOR YOU AND WATER IT SO THAT IT GROWS INTO SOMETHING YOU CAN BE PROUD OF!
I would like to take the time to say I’ve enjoyed every moment of my thriving life and every experience that I’ve had. I have truly worked with some great women and men in my life and I have learned so much from them. I’ve learned a great deal of strategy, business tactics and learned from some of the best in the PR and social media business. I am grateful and look forward to making my mark on the world.
Peace and Love!