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How will you choose to spend 124,800 minutes?

To all of the seniors graduating...congratulations! While this is an exciting time, you may feel a burden over your head to accept a job right now – even if the job may not really be related to your major or is less than what your degree should be earning financially.

124,800 minutes per year is 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year--that is a lot to think about. How will you choose to spend it? Assuming that you had experience related to the jobs you’re applying to, your GPA is decent, etc., etc., consider your career long-term and how your first job may impact future opportunities. More than likely, you will be spending more time with individuals at work than people involved in your personal life. It is important that you enjoy what you’re doing. Yes, I understand – not every day is going to be rainbows and butterflies. However, in general, waking up for work should not be a chore.

Evaluate your talents, abilities and interests

Before choosing a job, evaluate your talent, abilities and interests. Clarity in this area is helpful, and it may change over time due to other circumstances. You’ve already chosen a major that you are passionate about. You should have the education to do the job you enjoy. Will you need additional trainings or certifications? Understand the job requirements and qualifications before setting a goal that is unachievable due to your qualifications.

Long-term goals and career development

Most people find their career is typically a journey rather than a linear path from A to B. If you were to ask individuals higher up in an organization, more than likely they did not always know they would be in the position they are today. Your career will have stepping stones along the way that may steer you in a new direction. It’s OK to not know exactly where you want to be in 10 years.

When you are first choosing your career, you align your career objectives with the current position. The roles that you choose along the way will help identify future positions. Thinking about where or what you want to do long-term can help you stay focused rather than moving jobs without a purpose.

What can you be doing now?

  • Define your talents, abilities and interests
  • Determine what is financially feasible
  • Check out future prospects or companies

When thinking about your first job avoid some common pitfalls:

  • Choosing the same career as your sibling, parent, or friend. Most of the time, those people all want the best for you. They are probably passionate about their job, and they may try to get you to be passionate about that too. It’s OK to have your own view on your career. Choosing your career is a personal choice.
  • Choosing the first job that you get offered.  If you are still pursuing other opportunities, check in with those employers to see where they are in the hiring process before making a quick decision on an opprortunity that is concrete--but possibly not your favorite.
  • Choosing a job because of a title.  There are other considerations...day-to-day work, the people you'll be working with, your future boss, geographical location...and much more.
  • Choosing a job based solely on compensation. Remember, you have to enjoy doing what you’re doing every day. Yes, money is great. If you choose a role based on compensation instead of your interests, strengths and abilities, you will likely not be a star performer. Regardless of where you work, you do not want to be that person that others do not enjoy working with.

Need help evaluating offers or finding opportunities?  Reach out to ECS.  We're here to help!

 “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”
-Steve Jobs

About the author

Lauren Verhoff

Lauren Verhoff is a Graduate Administrative Associate with Engineering Career Services.