There is so much hype around graduating college. Sure, we’re taught that it is a necessity in the ever growing world and that if you ever wanted to make something of yourself, then you just went. Growing up you’re taught that it is such a big deal and that life is so much easier after graduation. We all just blindly fill out the applications and mail in the application checks. You’re also taught that some amazing job will appear out of thin air and that all the hard work will pay off almost instantaneously. Well, maybe I was a bit naïve and $40 grand in debt by the end of it but that’s not how it worked for me. As undergraduates we believed that we would come out of college having both feet planted on the ground and know exactly what we wanted out of life, we all have a plan. Little do we know that plan quickly tucks and runs from us the moment we walk across that stage. It’s quite funny actually. Reality smacked me in the face right around my 10th interview. I realized that getting a job and starting my life was going to be considerably harder than I thought.
For the first few months after college I continued to bartend and hoped I could figure out my new reality. But the thought in the back of my head was constantly, what now? Where do I go from here? Throughout my life, I always had a clear cut plan – a next step if you will. It was my parent’s plan for me, but a plan none the less. And it was quite simple, get into a top school, graduate, find a job and become financially independent. After graduation, their plan for me turned slim and barely existed. Thrown to the wolves, I had to really look internally and really ask myself – What now? Did I want to travel? Possibly move to a new city? I was 21 years old, completely lost and at an awkward stance in my life even though the world was practically mine for the taking. Imagine writers block but for life, unsure of what direction to move in.
After about 6 months, I had finally landed a corporate marketing position at a top property management software firm. I was pumped to finally have a direction and a purpose in my life. I was tired of feeling stagnant. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that I in fact did not enjoy marketing – hated it actually. I honestly probably would have learned that in college if I had actually attended class on a regular basis – but that’s a story for another time. So here I was in the awesome position that other people would have killed for and I absolutely hated it. So I put in my 2 weeks notice and walked away from that comfy salary, because is life even worth living if you aren’t enjoying it? One very important thing I did learn from this company is that while I definitely did not want to be in any aspect of marketing, I did love the property management sector. I could feel in my bones, it was my passion.
The only logical next step for me was to work on site at the property level and y’all I loved it. I loved interacting with residents and leasing apartments. It was my thing. After leasing for 6 months I was quickly promoted, then another 6 months passed and I was promoted again. Life was freaking awesome. I was no longer stagnant and I had plans. While in my new management position, I got to taste the accounting side of operations. Nothing crazy, just a bit here and a bit there. But it intrigued me, it challenged me, I needed to be in accounting. So, that’s exactly what I did. I applied for an open position at our corporate office and got the job. Frankly, I knew little of what I was doing but the constant challenge and new opportunities to learn drove me through and I’m still here today. Strangely, loving my job because I absolutely hated accounting in college.
The one major lesson I learned from this is if you are ever in a position where you are not happy with how things are going in your life – change it. Yes, it will probably be hella uncomfortable. Trust me, it was not easy walking away from a salary to barely covering my bills as a leasing agent. But, I did it and came full circle. It takes guts and a giant leap of faith, but it’s worth it in the end.