Your 20s and the Dream Job
As someone who showed up the first day of college with a 30-year plan, it would be putting it lightly to say I’m a planner. I thought I had it all figured out on day one. I was going to get a journalism degree, work my way up through the ranks as some kind of reporter and then end up working for National Geographic. It was the ultimate plan.
I quickly learned the plan I was banking on coming true wasn’t really what I wanted, so I had to adjust accordingly. I still ended up having a good time in college and upon some reflection and declaration of a second major (and then the dropping of said major) I graduated in five years. And the day I walked across that stage and accepted my degree I felt confident I was well on my way.
Well on my way? Well on my way to what? A $10/hour job that makes me pay $80 a month for parking? As a newly graduated 20 something, what should my expectation be?
I consider myself a realist, so I know I’m not going to get a job in my chosen field making six figures within six months of graduating. But what I am going to get? My first welfare check?
I always thought moving to New York City would mean I absolutely made it. Well, I got a job there and was on my way when, the day before leaving, I decided my heart wasn’t in it and I stayed in Nebraska. So, now that New York City wasn’t my goal anymore, what was?
Notice all the questions I keep asking. I thought I had all the answers, but I don’t. And then I go and read these articles saying, “If I could tell my 20 year old self anything, I would tell myself to calm down.” Yeah, easy to say once you’re safely in your 30s or 40s and have a stable job and a home.
Maybe I do need to calm down, but frustration should be allowed. I don’t expect the dream job because I don’t even know what that is anymore, not that I truly ever did. I think your 20s are about learning the lessons - moving to the wrong cities and taking jobs only to pay the rent. It’s just difficult when you’re so incredibly aware that this is where you’re at in life and there’s nothing you can do about it but ride it out.
However easy it may be to sit on the pity pot (trust me, I know), we’ve got to keep our chins up and know that the dream job, graduate school, the house, whatever it is you want that you don’t have will come, or so they say. In the meantime, though, it’s good to keep a bottle of wine and a shoulder to cry on within an arm’s reach.