3 Things The Job Market Taught Me About My Unrealistic Expectations
Everyone’s favorite interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Answering this question is difficult, especially when you can barely plan ahead for next weekend.
We’re trained to be planners.
We plan out what goals and accolades we’ll achieve this year, the next year and the year after that.
There’s nothing wrong with planning, but sometimes, it’s stressful when your plans don’t always come to fruition.
Five years ago, I was 19. Do you know what my goals were?
1. Being a talk show host by 23.
I was under the impression my insanely charming and personable personality would have undoubtedly got me recognition to be everyone’s best friend via a talk show.
2. Partying and drinking Cristal with the likes of Jay Z and Beyoncé.
I’m not even joking. I really thought right out of college, I was going to skyrocket into success and be partying among the elite.
3. Living in a nice apartment with a good view in LA, San Francisco or New York.
This was perhaps one of my more realistic aspirations. However, while I live in LA with views of the city, it’s not in my own place. I live at my grandparents' house.
I'll let you in on a little secret: I’ve hated every job I've had since college.
I know this sounds crass, but it’s honest.
I’ve worked at a gym, spending a brutal five days a week waking up at 3:30 am to make it to work by 4:30 am.
There was also a point in time when I worked for a bickering, young lawyer couple, who enforced a mandatory overtime. (Is that legal?)
I've also had other dead-end jobs that have only taught me one or two skills.
When we’re in high school and college, we’re more or less led to believe a college degree is the ultimate ticket to a high-paying job.
At the very least, it will only take you a couple months to find a great job in your field.
This is a bunch of poo.
I find myself to be a motivated, determined and creative person.
It’s mentally and creatively stifling to get stuck with a slew of jobs I barely like.
Why can't I find a job I love?
1. You must have a decade’s worth of experience, even though you’re in your early to mid-20s.
Pretty much every entry-level job at a company you actually want to work at has these crazy demands on how much experience hiring managers believe you should have.
They want you to have seven to 10 years experience, but they expect you to be fresh out of college?
So, you just thought I’ve been prepping for this job since high school? Perfect.
2. You’re hired! Now good luck affording to live.
I never thought living on my own would be easy, but I didn’t think it would be this hard.
It's especially difficult in an area like Los Angeles, where most employers hardly pay you a living wage.
Student loans are already stressful enough, but add on rent and utilities? Good luck surviving.
Living with your parents (or a family member) well into your 20s is fairly common these days.
According to a Pew Research Center study, by April of this year, 26 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 were living at home with their parents.
3. Embrace the unexpected.
While I can’t speak for others, I’ll admit a majority of my own disappointment with my various jobs has been due to my unrealistic expectations.
I aimed my goals high and was confident in my abilities.
However, I didn’t take into account how many other people also set their goals high and were confident in their own skills and talents.
The job market is tough, and unfortunately, you won’t always be guaranteed a position just based on merit.
Rather than planning and setting deadlines for when you’ll reach various self-appointed accolades, it’s less stressful to just have aspirations and simply enjoy the journey of getting there.
Just when you think you have life figured out, it laughs back at you and shows you how wrong you are.
I hate my job not just because it actually is crappy, but mostly because it’s not everything I expected myself to have.
I’m not bathing in expensive champagne.
I’m not anchoring a news channel or even living in my own apartment.
I’m just a 24-year-old woman working at a start-up company, making start-up money.
While this is not where I envisioned myself to be, I’d rather spend my time challenging myself to better my situation and embracing the fact this will be a rocky journey.
While I’m not where I'd hoped to be, I'm where I’m meant to be.