I realize more and more as I get older that the details of my early career days are known to few. Some will look at my LinkedIn profile and resume and think I always had my ish together. That I graduated from college with a well-thought out blueprint to cultivate my career in digital marketing and that things flowed naturally from there. Well I’m here to tell you that’s FAR from the case. I struggled to find my way. I worried I was doing it all wrong. I stumbled. I made bad decisions. I learned. I grew. Allow me to take you through my story…
It was my graduation day from Penn. I crossed the stage in my cap and gown, looked out at the rows upon rows of congratulatory faces, and felt like I was on top of the world. College Graduate. Those two words made me feel unstoppable. Moving back to New York City armed with a prestigious summer associate gig at MTV Networks added further fuel to my already revved up engines.
Do you remember when you first got out of college? Remember how the eagerness you had to take on this new territory called “The Real World” made everything new, fresh and exciting? You had seemingly endless energy as you set out to make your mark. Ideas of all you wanted to do were racing a mile a minute. And you were ready to compete—to hustle your way to the top because it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. This was what you had been preparing for four whole years to do right? This was your moment!
Or not. If you’re like me, after mere months in the working world (maybe weeks depending on where in cold corporate America you landed), it slowly began to dawn on you that this monotonous daily grind would be your life for the next 50 years. It also began to click that four years of midterms, papers, finals and frat parties really didn’t prepare you for the office politics, ego trips and just overall suckiness of the postgraduate working experience.
So when that first college homecoming rolled around, you eagerly flocked back to your alma mater, desperate to relive some of the carefree days of college. On the ride home from your last hoorah, it finally set in that there would never in life be an experience like college again. From that point forward, the just-got-out-of-college hustle slowly began to die a bit each day….
I think it took about two years for my hustle spirit to fully drain out of me. After two years, no longer was I interested in networking affairs and rubbing elbows at after work parties. No longer was I focused on having a side hustle. No longer did I want to rush home to put on my hottest outfit for the latest album release or listening party. I was no longer even fazed by the celebs I would occasionally come into contact with at MTV. Instead I was annoyed. They were there, and there I was…just an unknown face in the crowd of servants expected to jump and respond to their every beck and call. No, something was entirely wrong with this picture……Did I go to college for this??
(To be continued….)