A College Degree...Now What?

I can still remember back to the early phases of planning my life; graduate high school, go to an expensive private school, maybe law school... It is funny how seemingly naive one can be. Surely, there are those that accomplish those goals. However, the majority of the onetime ambitious crowd does not finish school in four years, if even at all.

6 Years Later And A Bit Wiser

For me, it took about six years. I started as planned in the fall of 2001, finished my freshmen year of school with a 3.2 GPA, and had everything in order. My major - Philosophy, with the intent of going to law school. Still on track. The second year is a bit blurry. I was a football player and suffered an injury that did not really heal. This combined with a myriad of other factors dissolved my academic and long term drive, so I left school. I found myself re-enrolling two years later and, as planned, I graduated.

I Had A Great Job, But Didn’t Know It

The sixth months prior to graduating, I began searching for jobs that fit my degree. I had a lot of experience. I spent the last three years going to school AND working full time for a local beverage company. In fact, I had worked my way up the ladder from a merchandiser, to a driver, and finally an assistant driver-merchandiser manager. I was making an great wage, but the preconceived notion that a college degree demands a high paying job skewed my vision. I Was Analyzed, Poked, Prodded, & Lied To I submitted my resume to many different companies, applied to multiple locations, and was even recruited. I was interviewed, analyzed, poked, prodded, lied to and even offered employment from three different companies. Honestly the whole dance was enough to not make you ever want to do it again. Actually, it was not that bad. However, it was a learning experience. I believe I learned more in those few months than I ever really did in school (slight exaggeration).The point I am trying to make it is a jungle out there. I Got the Bait-n-Switch On one occasion I traveled overnight, stayed in a hotel, and paid well over $300 in all, just to find that the job I thought I was interviewing for was "taken," however they wanted me to interview for another position that I had absolutely no interest in. Later, I would find through some extensive research on the internet that this is a common practice with that particular company. I Discovered Why They Were So Secretive About Their Jobs Other companies seem to be a bit apprehensive about sharing information about their job openings. Have you ever found a position through some medium that is attractive, but could not get any information from the employer about the pay, working conditions, stress levels, hours, shifts, etc? Meanwhile, in order to get these jobs one must abandon everything in front of them, present their job application and resume, take time off work, travel sometimes across town or out of town, only to find that the job they wanted is not as expected. Half a day or more wasted. Now, being forthcoming; it is not really that bad, but many job seekers to seem to have to jump through hoops in order to find the right job, no matter the costs. And they should, right? I Ended Up Where I Started (But Much Happier!) While I received three job offers from great companies, for one reason or another; pay, location, and little room for advancement, I stayed with the local beverage company. I quickly was promoted to a sales representative and I am completely content with my job in all aspects. I have no immediate plans to look elsewhere. Better Still, I Found Something to Get Passionate About Now to answer the question I presented earlier. The job hunt can be discouraging, expensive and at times difficult, but necessary. There are aspects of your job hunt that could be easier with the right information. It seems the hairiest parts of my job search jungle was because I lacked company and job information. Had I known that the company I traveled so far for would mislead me I would not have gone. If I known that Company B offered little to no room for advancement I would not have even submitted an application to them, let alone go through three interviews. I could go on and on. The truth is there is a lack of transparent job information available on the internet. In February of 2008, understanding the need and opportunity, I started building CareerLeak.com in my spare time. Basically, CareerLeak offers job seekers complete job and company profiles created by current or former employees. The profiles cover job descriptions, salaries, management styles, working conditions, physical requirements, interview tips and much more. CareerLeak acts as tool to enable and empower job seekers with real employer information. My Advice… Starting your career after you have your degree is a very exciting time. All of your efforts the previous four, er, I mean six years are coming to fruition. Some will land perfect jobs with little to no effort (Congratulations!), while others will struggle to find the perfect match. My best advice is - do not settle, or at least not for long, keep educating yourself, whether that be continuing education, looking for alternative employers, or being your own boss, keep striving to better your position. You will continue to grow and ultimately find what you are looking for. Photo Credit: Shutterstock