Sunday, June 20, 2010

Checking In

Hello future, current, and past job seekers of the world. It's been quite a while since I've added a blog entry and figured now would be a good time to reflect on the last few months and prove that Eva McSpartan is surviving school and beyond.

As a bit of background, I officially graduated in December of 2009 and am now employed by a major company which I will not disclose the name of. Before beginning work, I had the opportunity to travel to 8 different countries throughout Western Europe in all of 11 days on a whirlwind tour of London, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice, Lucerne, and Paris. All I have to say about the trip! It's always fantastic to get another view of the world and get a taste of what the rest of the world does while all of us are going along with our "normal" lives. Plus there's nothing like forgetting which language you should be speaking (of course, very broken phrases in that language) on a given day because one day you're saying "Danke" and the other you are saying "Merci" depending on which country the tour bus dropped you off at. I've said it before and I'll say it again, for anyone who is thinking about burning some time traveling before starting their full-time job or going to graduate school...go for it! You really have nothing to lose except for a finite sum of money and it's worth all the life experiences you gain. You may not think about it now, but only having 2 weeks of vacation time doesn't leave you with a whole lot of extra time on your hands. It becomes more and more difficult to find 2-4 weeks to travel when you're trying to save up vacation time for holidays, family gatherings, etc.

Now that I am officially a big, bad working girl, I've truly learned the value of many of the things I talked about previously in this blog and have also gained a wealth of knowledge when it comes to dealing with people on a day-to-day basis in a manufacturing shop. I can never emphasize enough how valuable it is to work on your "soft" skills - written and verbal communication, interpersonal skills, problem solving, etc. Considering that I deal with upwards of 50 people a night to keep my shift and sometimes other shifts running says a lot about what may happen in an evening. Laying down a network as soon as you get in the doors of your new job can put you way ahead of the competition in any new job. Being the friendly, open, and focused new person is way better than being the timid or condescending newcomer to the shop with not enough knowledge or patience to earn anyone's respect. Like I've said before, respect leads to respect and making each opportunity your own will guarantee some form of success. Keep in mind that even your big time failures can lead to success because you learned a boundary or something you didn't know before.

On top of all these recommendations, I'd like to emphasize something for anyone who is starting their full-time career: your life is going to be a fluid progression of experiences and opportunities. Just because you finished school does not mean that your degree is complete. In the real world, you need to focus on constantly learning to make yourself a better person and employee. Strive to find things that interest you and learn about them. Continue to set short and long term goals for yourself for the future. I've mentioned before that post-college life may seem like a cliff because after the diplomas have been distributed, everything seems to be unknown. I challenge everyone to welcome opportunities and change, but also realize that you need to have control of the undercurrent of your life. If you finish your degree and realize that the working world is just not for you after a few years, there's always time to consider an alternate career or look at advanced degrees. Figuring out "what you want to be when you grow up" is not something that ends as soon as you get that first job. For most of us, what we wanted to be when we were little changed from day-to-day and even though now it seems to change less frequently, but it's important to stay aware of those changes. If you work for a year in operations and figure out that working with people makes you physically ill from stress and due to lack of interpersonal skills, it may be time to look for a change. On the flip side, if you work in operations for a year and realize that your true calling is being a floor supervisor, feel free to adjust your goals and go for what you enjoy.

Life's too short to suffer through a job you hate!

That's about all. The moral to my rant for now is that:

A) Eva McSpartan is currently surviving the real world and loving it by keeping an open mind, learning as much as possible, and realizing that a career is built up of a fluid progression of experiences and opportunities. There's always going to be rocks, dams and rapids to impede your way, but when it comes down it it, water erodes rock so make it your goal to carve out a place for yourself in unknown terrain!

B) "What you want to be when you grow up" doesn't stop once you've graduated. It is a continuous learning experience that requires determination and effort to help you go where you need to.

C) Every experience is a success because even failure can help guide you in the right direction.

As always, thank you for your time and attention.

Eva McSpartan