Articles like this (read it) get passed around like wildfire. The short of it: we’re called “generation limbo” because we are not getting full-time jobs, and we like kickin’ around our parents basement post-graduation. But what I hate about these generational trend articles is that Middlebury students read it and think: That could be me.
In this case, “that could be me”-syndrome results in a variety of responses: 1) That could be me and that terrifies me, so I’m going to work tirelessly to prove the statistic wrong, or 2) That could be me and that’s great because I eschew taking on a traditional career, or 3) That could be me because I don’t really want to think about it and I’ll play it by ear.
Any way you cut it, “that could be me”-syndrome makes you draw some serious lines in the sand for those figuring out what they want to do after Middlebury. It negatively sets you up to accept your preconceived notions about the job search and use those notions as a starting point. By projecting yourself onto what you’re reading and hearing about the job search (not just in the popular press but also from friends/family), you change the way you think.
It’s not even that you should take all advice with a grain of salt or shelter yourself from the job-seeking hoopla. I would argue that it is more about identifying when and why you are changing your mindset and making a conscious decision to do so or not. Of course, it’s subtle and you’re not programmed to raise a big red flag every time you change how you think about the job search. Still, it’s worth the effort to understand the influences on your career search process. Who and what contributes to how you think about your career future?
Going deep into the (certainly not academic) psychology of the job search process interests me (also see my last post) because I want you to be able to put yourself in control. Far too many students, whether they know it or not, let the job search process happen to them instead of owning it. If you feel like you are in the drivers seat, you will have far less anxiety and really be able to use some of what I hope/plan to post about in the future: systems to identify/create and take on meaningful work in a life after Middlebury.
Next post: Social vs. solitary job searches and experience game-changers. More career posts.
Photo via elias-schwerdtfeger