Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak with groups of students and faculty at several colleges from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL to UCLA and Cal-Berkeley. The discussion has been mostly centered on their career aspirations as it relates to their majors. What I have discovered is that most students simply don’t know what it is they want to do. I had this same issue when I was in college. I knew my major (Broadcast Journalism) and thought I wanted to be on the radio. And I was on the radio for several years, serving as General Manager for KSSU 91.9FM in Durant, OK and Program Manager/Board Operator for KLAK/KATY in Denison, TX. That was fun, but I learned quickly that this was not something I really wanted to do. There wasn’t much room for advancement and I wanted more.
I put myself into a box. You’ve heard people say, “think outside the box” when they refer to innovative thinking. I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. If everyone else is thinking outside the box and you don’t want to think inside the box, how is that being innovative? By thinking my major ONLY related to the jobs that were primarily associated with it (DJ, Producer, Station Manager, etc.) I didn’t even consider how my major and experience could be used in other areas…areas that weren’t on the Career Path chart in the Career Services office on campus. I see the same thing with students today. They see their major of International Business as something literal. I want to do business internationally. Again, I think this is the wrong approach. You’re leaving out so much opportunity!
What if there were no box? How’s that for innovative?
The person that imagines something greater, can put an action plan to achieve that dream and has inspirational (yet achievable) goals is someone that I want on my team. I would bet that’s true for many employers. Think about that.
I hope this gets the creative juices flowing for you this week. Whatever you do, make it awesome. Have a fantastic week and as always, thanks for reading!