Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a reader who looks a lot like you. You were told what you should do after high school, what the perfect career and career path for you would look like. You were offered a full-time, permanent job in the spring just before you graduated from university or college or whatever training you took after high school. It was a great job and you felt very competent and capable of, not only doing the work, but getting the work completed on a timely basis.
Within three years you had completely mastered every aspect of your job. One day you were invited into your manager’s office for a chat. The manager explained that now it was time for you to assume more responsibilities. There was a new job being created in the department that you would be a perfect fit for. It would mean a wonderful opportunity to broaden the scope of your work and you would learn a lot. Of course, it would pay more and provide an increase in other benefits. Would you like this new job?
Isn’t this a lovely fairy tale? The sad part is that some still believe this should be their story. But no matter how well you do in school, no matter how community-minded, or nice you are, there are no guarantees of a full-time, permanent, interesting, well-paying job when you want one. You may be the best of the best but you still may not find an employer who wants to pay you for what you want to do. You have to figure out the compromise between the work they want done and the work you can and want to do.
Most of us will work part-time and/or on a temporary/term basis for what will seem like an endless period of time. We will not make enough money. We will have to work hard in these bad, part-time, temporary jobs in order to get a better one.
If we are lucky – yes, often just good luck and not good management – we will have picked the education and/or experiences that will get us into the door of an industry or organization we want to work for. There will be surprises when we start working “in our field”, surprises that no one ever told us about, surprises that make us realize we just didn’t know what we were getting into when we chose this field.
For those who refuse to let go of the fairy tale, they will continue to apply for positions that they are not qualified for, and sometime they will even get them! Recently I read an article that claimed that, of the people surveyed, two thirds claimed they are “out of their depth” in their job and they were terrified that their boss would find out! Oh my – talk about fake it until you make it!
I’ve received so many applications and I’ve seen too many candidates who feel entitled. Instead of giving me what I need to screen their application in, they don’t feel the need to put a lot of effort into their resume and cover letter. And when they are not offered the job, they are surprised and offended. I live in hope that someone will be kind and explain to them, probably not for the first time, that their fairy tale of an easy road to success will not be coming true.
It is up to each of us to reflect on our actions – those that were successful and those that were not and figure out what needs to be done differently. It is my job to ask for help in achieving my goals. It is my job to accept my responsibilities and, hopefully, be a fast learner so I don’t have to learn the same lesson over again. It is not an easy road but the destination is so worthwhile.
I need to make sure that what I have to offer the world is in keeping with what the world is looking for. It’s my job to keep my skills and knowledge current, with or without my employer’s help. It’s my job to look after myself physically and emotionally so that I am able to work productively every day at work and/or at school. It’s my job to understand my terms of employment and ask for clarification when I don’t. I want to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. It’s my responsibility to hold up my end of that bargain. It’s my responsibility to manage my career aspirations.