With the new year rolling around soon, the hunt for next semester’s internship is on. It may even be time for those of us who are seniors to consider options for a real job and, regardless, one of the first important steps along what will be a long and discovery-filled career path.
Have you been feeling like you can’t decide what field, what company and what role will be right for you in 2012? Think about this: what do you love doing?
Do you love traveling like I do, but are debating whether you can afford to take a summer off from interning? Do both; look into programs that position students in companies overseas (like Next Step Connections). Do you love eating but are debating whether you afford/ fit in culinary school? Research the business of the hospitality industry, or check out the newest up and coming food blogs, boutique marketing agencies or culinary tour companies (like Six Taste in downtown LA).
An inspiring innovator, career man and leader once said:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs said this, as a matter of fact, and his words to Stanford’s ’05 graduating class resonated me at the pivotal time in my personal life at which Steve passed. While we’re young, there’s no saying how long we’ll have to pursue and achieve our wildest dreams.
A dear friend reminded me yesterday that what we want to be when we grow up is oftentimes similar to what we want to be doing NOW. Why wait for the vague yet irrefutably approaching future? We should start on our goals now by talking to experienced acquaintances and mentors, or starting amateur projects in our desired fields. In addition to getting the feet wet in the pools that most appeal to us, we’ll also continue to build our leadership-resumes in impressive ways: with proactive initiatives that could impact the industries we aspire toward.
The most desired jobs and companies today are also the most competitive to pursue, and this fact – on top of the state of our economy – means that, sometimes, desperate times call for CREATIVE measures. New ideas don’t always need to come from out-of-the-box. Make sure you’ve exhausted every nook and cranny WITHIN your box of interests, skills and passions when the job search feels impossible. You might be more creative than you think.
A fellow optimist and passionista for loving-what-you-do, Mary Eve, wrote recently about ways in which we can make careers (and even a profit) out of what makes us the happiest. Check her out at BeHappyandDoWhatYouLove.
I’ve also realized, as an aspiring leader with close eyes on the management team around me, that leading new initiatives or teams of people will be the easiest when YOU’RE the most passionate about the mission. So seek out a project, a job, or a role you’ll love – especially if you want to be a leader in it.