Time for a Reality Check

26 02 2013

Hey job seekers, the real world called.  It would like you to join it any time now.  Did I catch you off guard?  Good.  Here’s the thing – I’m seeing a trend with job seekers and it isn’t a good one.  The job market is more competitive than EVER, yet there are two things that I commonly see with job seekers that really holds them back.  The two things that seem to be limiting people are things that really shouldn’t be doing so.  Why shouldn’t they?  Well, I think that they both come with good common sense.  It’s not rocket science. In fact, I’d imagine that if you wanted to be a rocket scientist, these two things would come into play almost immediately.

reality checkOkay, I’ll stop eluding the true subject of this post.  The two trends I’m seeing with job seekers that really worries me are the lack of attention to deadlines and the sense of entitlement that is plaguing our society.  By the way, this isn’t an issue limited to job seekers, so please keep that in mind.  Oh, and if you’re thinking I’m targeting Gen Y or Millennials, you’re wrong.  This applies to everyone.

Deadlines.  We all have them.  They matter.  Throughout your life, you’ll be given many deadlines.  It might be a deadline at work that concerns a particular project that needs to be completed.  People depend on you to get the job done by a certain time.  Don’t let them down.  Scholarship entries and job postings have deadlines.  If you wait until the last minute, there’s a good chance that something will inevitably go wrong.  Don’t be that person.  Make sure you’re proactive.  Plan to complete your project ahead of the deadline.  It’s a nice surprise and gives you some room just in case something goes awry.  Personally, I would rather have someone submit a complete project/application/entry to me well in advance of the deadline.  Those that come in at the very last minute are still on time, but why wait?

REAL WORLD INSIGHT: Most deadlines don’t get extended and late entries typically aren’t accepted, no matter how much you plead.   Welcome to the real world.  Bring your A-game. 

Entitlement.  You have to start somewhere.  As someone who works with college students every day, I’m always a bit surprised to experience so much entitlement among college students.  In the US, there’s this sense of “I have a degree, now where’s my awesome job” mentality.  Is it something that only affects Gen Y or the Milennial generation?  I don’t think so.  It has nothing to do with Boomers, X, Y or Z. It’s a matter of maturity.  It’s also a matter of how each individual was raised as a child.  You can’t just give everything away and expect the person receiving not to expect it at some point.  My parents instilled a hard work ethic in me from an early age. I had chores, responsibility and was disciplined if I got out of line.  My parents love me very much and they still want the very best for me and my siblings.  But we weren’t given everything wrapped up in a neat package.  We had to work for it.

I’ve had a lot of jobs in my short life.  Most of them were enjoyable, some were a blast and one was absolutely terrible.  After graduation, I had the expectation that my perfect job would simply be offered to me.  Guess what?!  I was wrong!!  I had to work hard at it, applying to every job I wanted, being interviewed for many and ultimately accepting a job to get my foot in the door.  That job was as an administrative assistant.

Four years of college to answer the phone, manage paperwork and literally start at the bottom of the food chain.  Did I let this get me down?  Heck no!  I used the opportunity to work with my manager on my professional growth plan, set up many job shadow sessions and found a few mentors across divisions.  Best decision ever.  Those experiences taught me that we all have to start somewhere but we write our own destiny.  It isn’t the employer’s responsibility.  It isn’t your parents’ job.  It’s YOUR job.  Stop whining that there aren’t any jobs out there that fit your major.  Quit fantasizing about the one perfect job for you.  Suck it up and get out there.  Face the fact that your perfect job might not come to you right away.  But, if you work hard at it and keep the end goal in mind, you can get there!

I hope this reality check has been helpful to you.  This post wasn’t meant to belittle or offend anyone.  It is meant to fire you up with some hard facts.   Are you living in the real world?  We’re waiting for you!

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