When I first graduated college, I was dead set on pursuing a career in theater. I was positive that my career was going to be meaningful and that I was destined to become a great drama teacher. After many rejected applications, I realized that my bills would not pay for themselves. I desperately started applying for anything. I wandered from family member to family member’s house hoping that one of my applications would get accepted. After all, hard work and perseverance would get me through, right?
After some hard nights, my then boyfriend- now husband – sat down with me and started to ask me some difficult questions. He continued to push me to think critically about the types of jobs I was applying for instead of applying for everything under the sun. Initially, I pushed back on him because I just thought he was one other person telling me that I wasn’t going to have a career at all – let alone a career I loved.
But once I sat down with myself and really reflected, I realized – Pete was right.
As much as I hated to admit it, the truth was that I am not good at everything.
I am admittedly great at a few things, okay in fewer things, and terrible at many things!
So, I started to reflect on my childhood. What did I want to be when I grew up?
A came up with a list. I came up with several that really didn’t apply. A gymnast, a teacher, and a writer. Obviously, gymnast was a little far-fetched for me!
I started writing down my strengths.
- good with music
- good with children
- great with words
- good with people
I also listed my weaknesses.
- can get emotional at times
- can sometimes overextend myself
- can be type-A with certain projects
- admittedly not great at math
After this, I considered positions that I aligned with my strengths – not just my undergraduate degree.
I stayed away from job postings that lent itself to more of my weaknesses than my strengths.
I started looking at job postings I would enjoy and then the requirements.
From there, I backwards planned my requirements.
I decided I wanted to go into education.
I moved back to Orange County, where all my old college friends were.
I realized that connections (professionally and personally) were important when trying to get a job. I took a part-time job in sales/customer service teaching Mommy and Me classes.
And I went back to take online classes to meet the requirements for teaching at a preschool.
It was a lot of hard work, but at the end of my classes I applied for a position for a full-time preschool teacher and I landed the job!
I write this because I felt completely lost once I graduated college, and I wished someone would have explained this to me.
The most important thing in considering my career was this:
You are not defined by your career- but by who you are.
I followed my passions and it lead me to a different career path- and that’s okay.
I loved learning about this and I hope you find solace that wherever you land, you are wonderful and amazing. I hope that this post reminds you of your strengths more than your weaknesses.