I graduated college 7-years-ago.
I won’t even begin to try to tell all of you recent grads what I wished I knew at age 22, because the truth is, I’m glad I didn’t know anything back then.
I didn’t know how to make a resume or apply for a job. I didn’t know what a 401K was or whether or not to claim 0 or 1 for my paycheck taxes. I had no idea that I’d one day move to NYC, start my own company, write two books.
All I knew was that I had to get out of my senior dorm room, pack up my belongings, and move back home to the Upper East Side of my parent’s house. I knew that I was scared, depressed, and feeling like I would never make anything out of my one precious life – with my one degree in poetry.
It’s better to not know anything when you’re feeling down. That’s the best way to make mistakes, good mistakes. The kind of mistakes that eventually spin your life in this messy bun kind of circle that oddly enough leads you to where you need to be in your life – though it can take years and years and years for you to get there.
2017 grads, I’ll tell you a secret. I’m 29. I’ve lived in three states since graduation. I’ve worked for 5 different companies. I was laid off once. Two of the jobs said they would have fired me If I didn’t quit. I started a business by accident. I decided to do whatever I had to do to make enough money every month (though a TON of random side jobs) so that I didn’t have to sit in a cubicle ever again.
What i’m trying to say is that while it might seem like all of us 29-year-olds have it all figured out, NONE of us know what we want to do with our lives. Maybe some of us do, but I think they are liars. I think if someone handed those people 10 million dollars and said, “Go off and become who you want to become,” they’d panic.
So, It’s okay to not know what kind of job you want or person you want to be. While you are on your way to a new adventure, here are some of my favorite post-grad lessons (that I learned the very hard way) for you to carry with you.
1. Nobody cares about your career as much as you do.
2. There’s no straight line to follow in the real world.
3. Quit your first job before you get fired.
4. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, you’re in a good position. Just do anything.
5. Don’t be comfortable at 22. Live like there’s a tarantula in your pants. Move around, shake things up, do things that make you scream out of fear & excitement.
6. Start something for yourself. A side gig, a hobby, a project that feels impossible.
7. Meet as many new people as you can. Don’t hold onto just the people you met in college.
8. Forget all the networking advice people have given you. Just have natural conversations with those you want to learn from.
9. Don’t rely on favors from people. Do the dirty work yourself. You’ll learn more that way.
10. Never give up. People will often tell you to. Don’t listen to anyone, ever.
11. Make mistakes. Oh, please. Make tons of mistakes.
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