Your Career and You: “Where Will I Go? What Will I Do?”


Publication1We’re slipping “gently” into the final weeks of spring semester at Curry College, where I head up our Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses. I, for one, can smell summer on the horizon!

Aside from the (finally) melting snow, the surest sign that the semester…. and the academic year…are staggering to a close is, as I have come to recognize, the panic-stricken looks on the faces of many of my senior advisees and students.

Reality has set in. In just a few short weeks, they will strut/prance/slink across the stage, accept their diploma from Curry president Ken Quigley, smile for the photographer, and go off into…

And here lies the dilemma…Go off where???

For some, the road is clear. They’ve completed one or more internships to help get a sense of what it is they’re pretty sure they like doing, and where they would like to be doing it.

For others, it’s like looking into a deep well at midnight. No sense of where, what, or why.

This is where I slip into my “take a deep breath and step off the ledge” counselor role with so many of my disciples.

First, I assure them that this feeling, though it looks like and smells like…to them…the absolute end of the world, is perfectly normal and is something that even I remember so well.

Second, I remind them that they had a similar feeling when they walked across the stage at their high school graduation. Sure, they had (or at least most of them had) settled on a college where they would continue their education in preparation for “real life.” But what really lay ahead?

Most of us got where we are today thanks to advice and guidance from someone who took the giant step before us. And in so many cases, the advice wasn’t “Here’s what you should do.” Rather, it was “Here are your options. Let’s take a look.”

Finally, finding a lifelong career path is like trying on clothes in a store. You see something on the rack that you really like, and it seems to be your size. Then you try it on.

Dorkville…

So you try others. If you’re lucky and you’re shopping in a store where you’re at least a familiar face, the assistant will make suggestions and show you more options…styles or colors that you’ve never considered before.

Shazam!!

You slip into something that absolutely looks, feels, and is you.

But you did this because (a) you were willing to try different things, and (b) you were willing to listen to someone else’s advice.

Where am I going with this? Simple.

Talk to your teachers, to your advisors, to others you have relied on as you’ve made your way through this briar patch called “life.”

Ask what they think of your plans as you envision them now. “Am I being realistic?” “Does it make sense based on what you know about me?” “What am I missing?”

Unlike Rhett Butler in response to Scarlett O’Hara’s tearful “But where will I go? What will I do?”, your advisor/counselor/friend isn’t going to say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Onward and upward!

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About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 10 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
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