Pink Elephant

As I read through the blogs left by fellow classmates and the responses left by the undergrads I tried teleporting myself back to my final months of college, the good ole days.  I thoroughly enjoyed college, the knowledge gained, the new experiences, the new friends acquired; I lived it all to the max.  However by my last semester I was MORE than ready to graduate and begin the next stage of my life; I was ready to become and adult!!  With a mix of excitement and nervousness of the unknown I set out into the “real” world to blaze my path, which is where all of you will soon be at.  So as I sit here now and think of how transparency would have helped me when I was in your shoes I thought of a mistake I made, and that was not being transparent with MYSELF.

My generation was the first generation born here in the United States and I was the first one in my rather large family to go to college.  I was also kind of a knucklehead when I was younger so there were members of my family who didn’t expect much out of me.  I was determined to prove my detractors wrong and my supporter’s right.  With this “me against the world” mentality I returned home like a conquering general to get a great job and start my amazing career.  Except that when I came home, the “real” world was NOTHING like I expected it to be.

I expected to come out of college with my degree and just have a job waiting for me, all of the Tampa Bay area would be throwing themselves at me!!  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Although the job market wasn’t as challenging as it is now, good jobs were in short supply and I didn’t even really know where to look for these good jobs!! 

Embarrassed and feeling like somewhat of a failure I hid all of these feelings from the world and went along like everything was working out how I planned it.  I didn’t reach out to others for help, I didn’t ask questions, I tried ignoring the big pink elephant in the room.  As I blindly fumbled around I came across a sales job that I took just to take something.  I lasted 3 months there before I quit to take another sales job where I only lasted 6 months before quitting.  At this point I didn’t know what to do, where I was going, or how to get there.  So I decided to try something different, I was going to be honest with myself and with those around me, I was going to knock down the walls I built around myself!!  I began talking to EVERYONE about the difficulties I was going through, about how I was feeling, about where I thought I wanted to go and how I thought I could get there.  It was AMAZING how things started opening up!!

I started getting advice from those around me, I started getting new ideas about what I wanted to do and how to get there, and all of a sudden I had an army out there helping me look for a job.  One day at a dinner one of my mother’s friends came to me and said “I heard you’re looking for a job, we have some openings at my bank, you should give me a call.”  Two months later I had the job I wanted, after a year of fumbling around by myself I finally had the career I had been looking for!!

I know a lot of you may be worried about what lies ahead of you and how you’re going to fit into the real world.  My advice to you would be this, don’t try doing it alone.  Be open with others about how you feel, what you like, what you don’t like, and what you hope for in the future.  You’ll be amazed at the feedback you’ll get and the new ideas that you can generate from that feedback.  Don’t be embarrassed if things don’t start off how you expected or change for the worse.  Continue working hard towards your goals, stay positive, and NEVER shut yourself down to the world.  Always have open communication with yourself and your network and you’ll be just fine.

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6 Responses to Pink Elephant

  1. Katelyn Soja says:

    It’s like I can see the college sophomore version of myself at the beginning of your blog post. While I was a sophomore at UT, I pretty much had this crazy little idea that getting a job would be a lot less daunting of a task than it seems now. I’m set to graduate this May, and now, I’m not kidding myself with the reality of the job market.

    You mentioned all the pressure falling on top of you to prove people wrong while making other’s proud and I can identify with that. I’ve had a really successful college career. While being involved in many campus organizations, I’ve gained a lot of leadership experience and have definitely soaked up all of my core classes. I’ll admit that I’m nervous to burn out before I leave school and enter the work force, where I’ll really need all my determination. You’re right though, staying positive is key in working toward goals while keeping yourself open to every possibility that may come your way.

    The advice about being honest in having difficulty getting started in the real world is really something I needed to hear. It’s hard for me to let others see me struggle but it’s so important to have that humility. The competitive aspect of the job market is definitely always on my mind. What’s my competitive edge? How do I market myself to numerous potential employers? Questions like these can weigh a person down. It’s encouraging to hear that after you were honest, people around you were able to help you out. I’m a big fan of teamwork.

    Some questions I have toward the end of your are:

    1) Was there any specific event leading to you “knocking down the walls” and being honest?

    2) What was some of the essential advice you obtained from those around you?

    3) In your opinion, what is the best thing a graduating senior can do which dazzle a potential employer?

    Thanks for your post. It was a real enjoyable read and greatly pertained to me.

    • a.ortiz says:

      I think this post ought to be titled ” Alyssa’s view on life”. I am a senior at UT, Public Relations and Advertising major and of course I feel like I am never going to find a job. I am from CT and being that NYC is a 30 minute drive from my house, I would love to work in the busy city. However I know the competition out there is cut throat. Yet it took me to feel the pressure during my senior year of college. Like Katelyn, if you would have asked me junior year I would’ve just shrugged my shoulders and said ‘hey I got this’. To be perfectly honest, I do not think I have this and find myself researching PR Firms more than checking my facebook page or the latest celebrity gossip.

      Growing up is a scary thing and I know that limiting my facebook time is such a minor sacrifice to what I have to truly have to make once I receive that diploma. Right now I am the place of uncertanity because for the first time I feel like I do not know anything even if I am going to have a college diploma in May. I may have a degree from college, but will I succeed in the course called ‘life’?

    • E-Man says:

      Deirdhre and Ortiz:

      Keep your heads up, you will get to where you need to get and don’t get discouraged by set backs or if it takes longer than you expected. Negative feelings can be hard to combat sometimes but you have to do it, all that does is bring more negative energy to your life and will make it harder to succeed.

    • E-Man says:

      Katelyn

      1) My repeated failures made me change what I was doing. Someone I respect very much told me to get the word out, don’t be embarrassed about your failures. When something isn’t working for me I don’t keep on doing the same thing, I switch it up and I’m very glad I did, worked out perfectly.

      2) They opened my mind to other lines of work to inquire about. I had never thought about working for a bank, and then it turned out I had a ton of connections in banking, connections I would have never known about if I wouldn’t have spoken up.

      3) As someone else posted, a lot of times it’s not what you know it’s who you know. If you can get a warm lead into a position that’s a nice start but it doesn’t mean you won’t be successful without it. Since you’re in your senior year I’m not sure if it’s to late for you to do an internship, but I really wish I would have done one. And when you’re going to an interview, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and prepare for your interview like its the biggest exam you have!! Go online and find sample interview questions and come up with responses so you don’t get thrown off by any curve balls during your interview. Learn things about the company from their website or other sources and then have questions prepared to ask THEM. Dress nice, and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!! All these things seem like they’re no brainers, but I’ve interviewed so many people that are just so clueless that it shocks me. I had a recent college grad in for an interview not long ago and her phone went off. She grabbed her phone out of her purse to turn it off, and she pulled out a bedazzled phone with a playboy bunny on it. I started laughing and immediately ended the interview…

  2. deirdhre says:

    I am a relatively shy person. . Being an only child I am usually very guarded and keep most things to myself. I am used to doing things on my own and by myself, but as I get older I am realizing that it is okay to ask for help. If you don’t understand something it is okay to ask a question. If you don’t speak up you can miss out on some good opportunities. Sometimes it is who you know and not what you know, so it is definitely important to reach out and talk to others. It is equally important to figure what drives you, to believe in yourself and to not hold back. I have heard that if you love your job you never work a day in your life. It is definitely important to like what you do. If you don’t you will have a pretty miserable life. I admit that I am not always the most positive person, but I have come realize that you must always have a good outlook on life and not be negative. It is important to smile, even when you have a bad day. Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball to see what lies ahead, but I am a big believer in the idea that things happen for a reason and whats meant to be will be. I happen to agree with you that communication is key (in both work and personal life) and without it failure is expected in any relationship. So i appreciate your advice. It was very helpful for the real world and definitely helped put things into perspective.

  3. Meghan Williamson says:

    I can see myself perfectly reflected in this blog. My first three years of college I conceived this notion that when you walk across the stage and get your degree you are handed a job as well. I know now that this is not the way the world works and I have to be willing to put myself out there to get a job. I know that most people get jobs through the people they know but, I always just thought that I could just do it on my own. I’m not sure whether it is fear or embarrassment that has kept me from reaching out to people for help but ultimately, it is hurting me in the end.

    This advice is exactly what I need to hear because I don’t know what exactly I want to do or even exactly where to start to find a job. The people around me that I already know can at least help put me in a direction to figure these things out and get my career going. The first step I need to take and all of us soon to be graduates is to be open with ourselves, not be afraid to ask for help or ask questions, and to be able to communicate with those around about what we are going through.

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