- Alexis Paige, Penn State University
Don't Forget About Yourself During Your Job Search
Before graduating, I’d say finding a job is one of the most pressing things on my mind. It is exhilarating and terrifying to know that I’ll be moving past my life as a student and jumping head-first into adulthood. Thoughts concerning things like which company is best to work for, relocation, bills, and student loans circle my thoughts often, which brings me to my biggest worry, money. I have never been a person to obsess over dollars, but these adult bills looming over my shoulder are shifting my focus. According to Business Insider, the total national student debt is over $1.5 trillion. Written in October 2019, this figure is already outdated. Suffice to say, being able to keep afloat and pay off my student loans promptly is at the forefront of my mind during my job search.
At a meeting with Disney Television Group, Ms. Donna Michelle Anderson ("DMA") said that when searching for a job, you should type in three words that matter to you. Not three words of a job title, but three words that would bring joy into your work life. I heard once before but brushed it to the back of my mind. "Let me just get a job first with a company I liked, then I would worry about what would bring me joy," I thought. I jotted the advice down in my notebook anyways, promising to do it eventually. However, that wasn't in the plan. We were placed in groups and asked to put it into practice. I immediately started getting nervous. As much as I thought about landing a job, I never checked in with myself to figure out what would make me happiest in life. I mean, sure, not having to worry about my bank account would be ideal, but what else?
I have never felt like I developed a passion. Don't get me wrong; there are things I like to do and enjoy, but I never felt that all-consuming love for something. I have always really enjoyed meeting people, reading, philanthropy, and traveling. Ideally, my future career would incorporate at least one of these aspects. With these insecurities flowing through my mind, I anxiously pulled up the career website and looked to my group. They seemed as hesitant as I felt. But I spoke up and said I like traveling, but not in the way of me merely wanting to go places. I love meeting new people and immersing myself in their culture. I like hearing about their customs and way of life. The group helped me figure out a more appropriate term for what I was trying to convey--connectivity. That's it. I would have never thought of that word by myself. Off of this one word, I ended up discovering a few jobs I would have never considered for myself. Posts that I could not only see myself at but see myself finding joy. One of these job titles was for community relations, which involves my major in public relations, but in a less traditional form. My school does not cover community relations in class, so it was never on my radar. After reading the description, I saw how essential one word could be in changing not only how I thought about my career but myself.
I won't say that money isn't a significant factor. But I will point out that happiness is equally, if not more important. Happynomics is a measure of a country's link between citizens' happiness and wealth. If it's essential to measure for a country, it must be crucial to measure for yourself. After this meeting, I made its plan to check in with myself about things that bring me happiness and holding it against the things I do in my life. I would suggest that each person, whether they are diving into a new chapter of their lives or are already in their careers, to check in with themselves and chase joy.