September is creeping closer, and with it comes the increasing pressure of having to find a job. I’ve been studying for five consecutive years now, and am looking forward to whatever change will come in the next coming months. Yet I’m not quite looking forward to the “job” that seems to be waiting for me, i.e. the corporate job where I would consult, analyse data, sell a product, or look at financial charts. Agreed, good money can be found there, as well as a certain peace of mind, and millions of people are satisfied with their role as a calorie in a chocolate cake. But that’s not how I roll.
I’ve asked several friends how their job search is going and whether they are looking forward to working. I found out that only a very select few are excited about leaving university and starting work. Most feel uncertain about their future, and are unhappy about what they think they’ll end up as. When I ask friends that are applying for consulting jobs whether they really want to be become a consultant, most say no. But then what’s the point of applying for it in the first place? The reply to this question is that they’d like to gain some experience first before chasing what they really like. I’d say you’d be more happy if you try to chase that something in the first place.
Of course that’s not easy. If it were easy, anyone would do it. But then it’s not impossible either. There are a few steps that will lead you closer to properly pursuing what you want to do, a process that I’m going through right now:
1. Think about yourself
As of late, I’ve been thinking quite extensively about myself. I’ve figured out that I do not want to lead the regular, corporate life (with all due respect). Figuring out what you do not like is a good step forwards, yet thinking about what you do like I found quite a lot harder. Eventually, I found out what brings me joy in life. I enjoy exploring, by which I mean travelling to a certain place and finding out what the place is about, how the people live, what stories exist there. I enjoy practising sports. Right now, I go to the gym four times a week, yet I would like to pick up a different sport in Shanghai, either something in the martial arts or fencing. Next, I love reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, that have novel views on life and that make me think or imagine. Finally, I like sharing my story, which is the main reason why this Arrow is still flying.
2. Think of ideas
Think about the activities you enjoy, what communities surround those, and what frustrations you have surrounding the things you like. This is a conscious act; only very rarely does a brilliant thought suddenly pop into your head. These are some of the ideas I’ve come up so far: an app where you use your cellphone camera to count the calories of food, a gym that offers healthy meals, the possibility to charge your phone battery with a wi-fi connection, and a travel video-blog (vlog). I particularly liked the last one and have decided to vlog in Shanghai. It combines my love for exploring with my love for sharing. I want to use my vlog to show China to the world, as it’s still a very mysterious country for many. I also want my vlog to form a community of people who love travelling, exploring, adventuring, but most of all of people who want to create, and take their life in their own hands.
3. Act on your idea
Once you found a fun idea, you try it out. This requires planning and putting some actual work into it. I already made a bucket list of places I would like to visit in China (see my previous post), and am now figuring out how much it would cost. I still have to buy a good vlogging camera, and figure out how I can edit my videos so they look professional. I give my vlogging idea a daily amount of thought to keep the momentum going, which is something not to be underestimated. Do not let your idea be snowed under by everyday life. And if the idea fails, at least I’ll have some nice videos of my stay in China.
These are three steps that will definitely push you further down an exciting road. Be careful though, because it will painfully push you away from the life that you saw in front of you. Realise that the only obstacle on the exciting road is yourself. Every excuse you come up with is exactly that. An excuse. Whether it be money, time, or something else, everything can be overcome if you want something badly enough. Give it your full effort, and if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried it out. But it will work out, trust me. Don’t doubt yourself, and be ignorant of doubters. It boils down to who you want to be in life. If you’re afraid of the job that awaits you after graduation, then do something different, something that you like. Do not wrap yourself in excuses (“time will tell”), but think and act, create and inspire.