Should you grab the first job offer or wait until you find 'the one?'
Okay I know what you are thinking, I must be crazy right? Why am I even thinking about waiting to find the 'perfect' job offer when I've gone through that long, painful and scorching (okay not scorching, since you know we live in England) journey up the hill just to get an employer to offer me a job?
Well, that is a good question indeed. We all know, we've all seen the statistics in all the news programmes either telling us how difficult graduate jobs are to get, then a few weeks later they get our hopes up by saying the economies in better shape and then the next day they grasp our happiness with both hands by admitting there has been another dip in employment. For all us soon to be graduates, we've heard it all plenty of times (more times then we've heard Taylor Swifts name everywhere we go).
However, a part of me feels as if students (myself included) are somewhat so scared of not getting a job, that they just take anything. Before you throw your drafted dissertations at me, let me explain my point of view. I'm not saying it's not important to grab an opportunity with both hands and I'm not saying you shouldn't go ahead and grab yourself that offer. All experience is good experience. All I am saying is, are you taking that job offer because you genuinely want it? Or because you are scared of being an 'unemployed graduate'?
Now as a soon to be graduate (if I pass this year, prayers in all forms are welcome), I have seen the many different versions of final year students. There are those final year students who know exactly and have always known which area and career they want to go in, then are those who are not too sure of the specifics but have some sort of clue in which direction they are going and then there's the 10% of us, yes myself included who are still unsure.
So for the 10% of us who don't know what type of job we want, why did we not research earlier? Why have you waited until third year of university to figure it all out? What's wrong with you? (okay this question isn't asked but I'm assuming us 10% have asked this to ourselves right?). Well of course we have tried, we've spent time with the career advisors, we've gone and tried to get different forms of experience but it's a matter of fact that there are some people who don't know what area's they will excel in. Now that doesn't mean we aren't motivated, that we sit and waste hours away watching Downton Abbey (*Cough Cough*), the simple fact is some people just need a little more time in discovering what area/career they want.
Now, let's talk about the process of final year, what does being a final year student entail? Papers all over your desk, seminar readings to do, drafted forms of your dissertation, your laptop is opened with a hundred research websites as you attempt to start your 3000 word case analysis and don't forget the hundreds of emails your university is sending you about potential job offers and their deadlines. Final year is a pretty stressful experience no matter how organised you thought you were right? So how do we make time to sit down and decide to make an important decision about your career? Of course a majority have decided and are already sending away their CV's and cover letters but not every student is in the same position and same mind frame.
I feel as if, us soon to be graduates have a deadline in our own heads, that by the time we leave university we should have a job offer in hand and get onto that train of independence and steam away (Wow, Downton Abbey really has me using historical imagery). Why is that? Is it because we don't want to sit around at home and feel as if we aren't doing anything? That automatically we have to hop onto the next option. If you are a soon to be graduate, I'm pretty sure just like me, you've unconsciously given yourself a deadline to find a job, internship or any form of experience quickly so you don't have time to be unemployed or lazing about. There is this pressure, internal pressure to almost rush yourself into finding any sort of work.
But is there anything wrong in taking some time?
Why is it that we manage to convince ourselves that it's not okay to take some time in really figuring out what you really want to do? Is it better to take that opportunity in Graphic Design just because you maybe kind of like it, or is it better to sit at home for a few weeks to find an amazing opportunity in Architecture that has completely consumed your mind and you can't stop thinking about how awesome that role would be for you?
Obviously, before you throw your heavy (and pricey) university books at me, it is important to clarify that the first job offer you receive may be the 'one', the 'one true love' and everything you have been dreaming of ever since you first stepped into this world. All I'm simply saying is whatever experience or job you are accepting, is it something you really want or are you too scared of being unemployed for some time?
So just think whether you're applying for a job, whether you'v e already got an offer whether it is exactly what you want. We all want to get onto that ladder and get started on our career but it's no point starting off on a completely different ladder right?
Is the job role something you are happy with? Do you see yourself waking up and not regretting this decision? Did you apply for this job because you wanted to? Or because you started to panic when you realised all your other mates have already applied for a role and you still hadn't decided? Are you happy with the direction this job may take you?
You really should think about it as it is something you are in control of. I think people (myself included) don't want to be sitting at home, going in no direction but if you think about it, if sitting at home (after you have finished university) on that laptop for a few weeks means you'll find and give yourself time to find an amazing opportunity, why shouldn't you do it? If that means volunteering for charity shops whilst you look for a suitable role for you, then do it.
Even though I have mentioned this idea of 'the one', it is important to understand the chances of their being 'the one' is very unlikely at this point in your life. I'm not being a pessimistic person here but you know, we are only soon to be graduates who are just to about to step onto that fresh sand (okay I used this term because I didn't want to say 'real world' I've heard that term far too much this past month). It does take time to find yourself in a position that you are happy with. Even though I have said you shouldn't just grab the first opportunity, it is important to note that we have to be a little realistic and not throw away good opportunities that will eventually help you climb that ladder (yep, we are still using that ladder imagery). We've just got to make sure that that opportunity is a good one and that it will eventually help you progress so you can get that perfect job.
I know we do panic, especially when you see hundreds of graduate opportunities and deadline dates in your university inbox, with the exclamation marks and massive font size, and it does put us off and want to get back into bed and wake up as a three year old. However, don't let that alarm you, have a browse, see what's out there but just take a step back before you apply and think about the opportunity.
So to summarise, the main gist of this post is to highlight one of the questions I have been thinking about. We all feel this sense of rush or pressure to find any kind of work once we finish university but would it be better for us to not rush and pressurise ourselves? To take a little bit more time to work on the specifics so you don't end up in a position or job role you are unhappy with. I know a lot of us worry about letting good opportunities fly by so it is important to try and keep an eye of the many job roles (and by following as many graduate jobs/internships on good ol' Twitter).
All I'm saying is if you are confused, or sceptical and need a bit of time, there's nothing wrong in doing that. It's better to take a little bit more time to find that wonderful opportunity then to pressurise yourself to find a role because you don't want to be unemployed (and be out of the cash).
I do hope this post has helped you in some way and for all soon to be graduates who are a little bit confused, I wholeheartedly am with you and let us join hands and help each other out (Okay now I sound as if I'm a school teacher).
Thank you for reading this post and I would love to hear your thoughts below on what you think.
By Maariyah Zaheer