Get Personal: Advice for College Seniors

There’s some pieces of advice that I know now, that I wish I knew when I was a college senior. They say that hindsight is 20/20- which I definitely believe now.

“Take the first job you’re offered.”

Someone once offered this advice to me when I was stressed about finding a career. I can’t even fathom the amount of pressure I was putting on myself day in and day out, trying to decide what I wanted to do for a career. The worst part of it all was that I was looking at a career as a lifetime decision. If I picked the wrong one, that was it! I was stuck doing something I hated until I retired at the ripe, young age of 70. So when someone decided to fill me in on the secret to securing full time employment- take whatever you’re offered- I felt so far removed from the job search and just felt like I was wading through a bunch of jobs I couldn’t picture myself doing.


“If you pick a job in a certain path, that will determine the rest of your job career.”

I went to school near San Francisco. Most of the people I knew getting jobs out of college were either doing sales or customer service. When this advice was given to me, I was tormented over making the decision as to whether or not I could envision myself doing a career in sales. Specifically, cold-call sales. It wasn’t until my life changing interview with Yelp that two things became clear to me.

  1. If this advice was true, I was never going to find a job
  2. I hate calling people on the phone, all day, hundreds of times.

“Something will come along.”

This advice is about as vague and accurate as a weatherman’s forecast. “We’re looking at wind the next few days,” the weatherman says, as it’s already windy outside. I struggled with the job search all the way until my lease ended. This advice was given to me as a sly way to acknowledge that everyone felt sorry for me. There I was, poor Amanda, no career job.

“Your dream job is out there.”

Honestly, tops the list of worst advice you could ever give a college senior. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do for a first job post-grad, let alone stress about trying to find my dream job. There’s so much pressure to be pursuing your “dreams” and working a job that feels like you never work a day in your life. I call it like I see it and frankly, this is an unrealistic standard. Sometimes it literally pays to just have a job that supports your life. Some people don’t dream of work as the key to what’s missing from a life of fulfillment.

“You’re so young! Do whatever you want. If you don’t like your job just change it.”

Remember the saying, “Easier said than done” ? This advice fully embodies this quote. Job hopping might possibly be equally as stressful as actually securing a job.

“Your job doesn’t define you.”

This is the piece of advice I would give any graduating senior. A job is a job is a job. In this life, which is short, work takes up the majority of our time. It leaves us tired, drained, and unable to give 100% of ourselves in all other activities we pursue.

A former co worker of mine is a bartender. Like myself, she graduated from a UC and didn’t know what to do. With all the pressure of family, family friends, and others asking “What are you going to do?”, she finally threw her hands up in frustration and said “NOTHING.” To this day, she lives in a small Northern California town making drinks behind a bar. In her free time, which compared to the amount of free time the average 9-5 American has is a lot, she’s out traveling around to different national parks highlining. She’s been featured in the news. She’s sponsored by Lifeproof. It’s all because she finally decided she didn’t care about all this advice people were giving her and she used her job to support what she was passionate about in life.

I was stressed and anxious the last few months of college. I constantly wondered if I was ever going to secure my dream job. It wasn’t until I realized that maybe my dream job wasn’t exactly what everyone else had in mind. As a society we get caught up with benefits, vacation time, career goals, career paths. These buzz words trap us in jobs, chained to desks.


If you don’t have these “career” jobs in offices for corporate companies people give you weird looks, judge you, or shame you for living with your parents just until you’ve got a better hold on your finances. This creates a whole world of unhappy job goers, who are joining the rat race in hopes of….

I’m not sure. I’m not sure why people subject themselves to miserable jobs 40+ hours a week when life is about so much more than money and 401k’s and stock options. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying these aren’t great things. In fact, setting up long term savings plans is a great plan to start in your 20’s. But that’s for a different post at a different time.

You can make money without a desk. You can pursue your passions in this world in such a way that doesn’t include sitting behind a desk for 85% of your life. If you’re not someone who wants to conform to that corporate life you’ve got options. For people who want to stay in the corporate life, companies are starting to catch the hint that over time those employees leave for companies that offer more work/life balance.

It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks besides you at the end of the day. No one else has to live with the decisions that you make.

That’s the best advice.


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