"These are the best years of your life!"
-Every single adult over the age of 40, talking to anyone under the age of 30
It is such a common piece of advice given to us by our mothers, our mothers' friends, and that nice neighbor lady next door. Whether they are correct or not is up for debate.
The truth is, they probably were right- the age of young adulthood was, in fact, probably the best time they ever had. But the sheer fact of the matter is that times, they are a-changin'. That's not to say that I don't enjoy my life right now, but I wouldn't say this is the best time of my life.
The college generation is rapidly expanding, and jobs are more and more competitive. The modern young professional not only has to figure out how to constantly market themselves better than the billions of other YP's, but also must control their online presence.
It also doesn't help that so many "entry level" job postings now include five or more years experience in the field. The only reason I have cleared this hurdle is because I was advised to start my college education and work experience so young. Yes, Mom, you win this one.
There are just some things they don't tell you in your college coursework. So, here's an anagram to help you understand what it's like:
- YOUNG: So many recruiters will decide in their mind that you are too young, before even talking to you. Don't get discouraged! It's your job to prove them wrong.
- OVERWORKED: The modern career-minded individual must be willing to put in the extra time and effort to succeed and be recognized. Hopefully it's worth it in the end.
- UNDER-QUALIFIED: Even if you somehow became CEO of a fortune-500 company as a student, you would still be under-qualified for all the entry-level job postings.
- NO SLEEP: You thought you didn't have time to sleep in college? PSH.
- GOOGLING YOURSELF: I type my name into a Google search bar more than I type my name into a pizza order screen...which is saying something!
- POOR: You will be poor for a great portion of your career. You learn to live with it. Ramen noodles become your fuel.
- RESUME: You can roll that thing in crushed Oreos, deep fry it, and top it with powdered sugar and you still won't be happy with it.
- OVERWHELMED: It is easy to be overwhelmed with your job, bills, housework, and hard times life throws your way. You just have to take a breath and remind yourself you will be okay.
- FEELING TRAPPED: Even if you have a job, it's hard to figure out how to move up. Look for companies that are growing, so you can find a job with future opportunities.
- EVERYONE ELSE IS MOVING UP: Life is unfair. Your friends may grow their careers faster than you. As long as you are making the effort to better yourself, don't worry about them.
- SERIOUSLY?!: I find myself saying this daily. People and life will leave you in awe sometimes. Take a breath, get through it, and have a glass of wine when you get home.
- STUCK: You may feel stuck. You pioneer your life. Get out and make the effort to make the change.
- I WANT MY MOMMY!: Don't be afraid to reach out to your support system when you need it. If I am having a particularly hard day, I call my mom. If nothing else, she comforts me and lets me speak freely.
- OPPORTUNITIES: While life is overwhelming, don't forget there are opportunities out there for the taking, when the time is right. For example, there is someone who gets paid to follow Beyonce around all day. Think about that life..
- NETWORKING: Get to know people. The more people you can make an impression on, the more opportunities you can find. Remember, five degrees of Kevin Bacon...
- ALL IN GOOD TIME: If you can be patient, you will go far. It's hard to take rejection, or be in a rough spot in life. Life has cycles, and someday you will have it all figured out.
- LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE: Remember to take time to enjoy life. Get out, meet people, take time for yourself. Forget your struggles. Take your full lunch hour and get away from your office. Take care of yourself and take care of others.