It’s graduation month and my Facebook newsfeed’s filled of photos with people wearing black togas and friends and family saying congratulations. Others are ecstatic to get a degree while a job offer awaits, while others are anxious about being unemployed.
It’s also been three years since I graduated and how I wish by now, I’ve easily eased into the IT industry and figured out in my heart that this was what I really wanted. But for the life of me, IT isn’t for me and worse, I don’t know what is.
There are days when I just want to go back to that day I got my degree and signed the first employment contract I was given. I was so sure I wanted all of this – my dream job and company rolled into one. I was happy, and I even let out a few tears along the way. I wish I still have the same feelings about it today.
Sophie from Love Letters to Juliet wrote, “What and If are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.” What if – What if I didn’t jump on the first job offer I got? What if I bummed around for six months after graduation? What if I applied in a non-IT job? What if I took over Mom’s business? What if I started my own business? What if I went on to study another course? When all those time I was resting, what if I figured out what I really wanted to do and chased after it?
There’s nothing wrong in getting a job as soon after graduation, it’s actually cool that you’ve received a job offer. But think about it, the moment you accept it, the moment you walk into that building, the moment you start learning, the moment that you start crying over it, the moment you get frustrated, the moment you want to quit, there’s no turning back. You’re stuck, and it would be really hard to get out of it.
I took up Computer Science thinking I can work anywhere because well, hello, it’s computers and computers are needed everywhere. I walked into the IT industry three years ago thinking I could just leave whenever I wanted; that I could find a job unrelated to IT. I did try seven months ago. I was so desperate to leave the IT world that I thought I could start from the bottom of the food chain all over again. At this point, I still didn’t know what I wanted, I just wanted one thing, to get out from the IT life. But even if I applied for the fresh grad position, I was still not accepted because apparently, my skills didn’t fit.
It’s true that you can leave the company, but you still can’t leave the first rabbit hole you fell into. I left my first company, the one I regarded as my dream company; but I jumped to the next company which there’s not much difference to the first one.
It’s like being in a house, with so many rooms. You walked into the house, get into the first room. When you felt like the first room wasn’t working out, you jump into the next room, but you couldn’t leave the house. You wanted to go to the farm, but the farm would not welcome you because obviously, you are not a farmer and maybe you won’t learn how to farm. But that’s a maybe; what if you turned to be quite good at it? What if you were really born to be a farmer but because you started out inside the house, you weren’t given the chance to be one?
So think about it, read through the contract. Is it what you really wanted? Is it something you can see yourself doing for the next five years? If you have bigger and larger goals, will it help you to get closer to it? Because if yes, then cheers on the start date! But if not, maybe you want to sit this out; maybe you want to explore other things first before walking into this one; maybe you’d like to contemplate on life first before finally deciding, because I’m pretty sure with all the studying, the partying, the drama back in college, you couldn’t find time to ask yourself what you really wanted.
This life isn’t just about money and buying all the things you wanted, but there’s just so much more to it than that. Someday, you want to look back in your life and feel glad that you chose what made you happy rather than what made you rich.
Sometimes, when I try to look back, there are feelings of regret and gratefulness. If I look at the bright side, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t walk into that 26-floored building. I wouldn’t meet the people I call friends. I wouldn’t know what’s the difference between a mentor and a boss. I wouldn’t learn this isn’t what I want.
It’s a journey and if like me, you have fallen into the rabbit hole, don’t give up just yet. It isn’t too late. You’re young and you can still crawl out of it. It will be hard, yes, but you’ll definitely make it one way or another. It’s scary, but if your dreams don’t scare you, well, it isn’t big enough. It will always be worth a try and worth the loss.