Guest Post: The Blogger Picture

7 Apr

Good morning, friends :). It’s a busy Thursday for me. I am interning and preparing for the real world today (I have another job interview, eek), so Michelle from Living, Learning, Earning is here to tell you about one of the biggest lessons that she has learned. I love reading Michelle’s blog, and I am so excited to have her guest posting today! If you have ever felt confused about your path in life (something that I can definitely relate to), then you don’t want to miss this. Be prepared to feel inspired; perhaps Michelle will help you see the bigger blogger picture :).

Hello!  I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Emily today – thank you for the opportunity!  My name is Michelle, and I am the author of Living, Learning, Earning.

I write about my life as a semi-recent college grad, just trying to figure things out while staying happy and healthy.  I currently work at a management consulting firm (you can read more about that here), which has its ups and downs.

A couple years ago, I was right where Emily is now – getting ready to graduate and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  When she asked me to share something about my experience with this, I knew I wanted to share my biggest lesson learned… the hard way.  Here’s my story:

I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives.  Throughout my childhood years, what I wanted to be when I grew up changed as frequently as my shoe size.  Over the years, I wanted to be a teacher, a singer, a magazine editor, and everything in between.

I even wanted to be a ballerina at one point

This indecisiveness followed me to college.  I began my freshman year at the University of Minnesota positive I wanted to be a physician.  Just to be sure, though, I took courses in creative writing, kinesiology, and communications.  It wasn’t long before the doctor idea was abandoned for a personal trainer and later, an economist.

Those too were left by the wayside when I transferred into the Carlson School of Management, the U of M’s business school.  This opened a whole new set of career considerations.  Did I want to study accounting?  What about marketing or entrepreneurship?  I began to feel lost as I switched my major over and over, and I started to envy those who knew their calling in life.

Fortunately, by the beginning of my junior year my luck seemed to change.  I learned about consulting as a career in one of my classes.  I was hooked as soon as I heard there was a job that involved travel, the possibility of switching projects and industries every 3-6 months, and with excellent salary and benefits.

The rest was history.  I spent the next two semesters deeply immersed in a real-life consulting program for students and loved (almost) every minute.  I followed it up with interviews at many of the major consulting firms in Minneapolis and Chicago.   I accepted an offer for a full-time position at one of my top choices, where I began working in July 2009, after graduation.

With friends on the big graduation day

While it’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to explore my interests, it hasn’t been as fulfilling as I had imagined or hoped.  I’ve discovered that although I enjoy the excitement that comes with my job, I need something more.

Looking back, I realize this stems from my failure to really think about the things that are truly important to me:  the things below surface level, beyond pay range, expense accounts, and travel.  Had I taken the time to understand that I want to work somewhere my voice is heard and respected, where competition with peers does not have to be cut-throat in order to advance, and where I can truly make a difference in the world, I would have chosen a different path.

So, why am I telling you this?  Well, in the hope that you can avoid making the same mistake whether you’re in college or out.  I know sometimes it’s hard to look at the bigger picture when you’re immersed in the moment.   I encourage you to take a step back and consider what truly matters to you the next time you’re faced with a big decision.  Don’t be swayed by superficial considerations and promises or let indecisiveness prevent you from making an educated choice.

As for me, I may not have figured out my life’s calling just yet, but I have certainly made some progress in that direction.  It’s never too late to start doing the things that make you happy.

Questions: Have you ever made a big decision without thinking it through all the way?  How did you decide on your career?

9 Responses to “Guest Post: The Blogger Picture”

  1. Cait April 7, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    ahh i can so relate to this- after i graduated last may with a full on decision that i wanted to teach, there were NO teaching jobs where i went to school much less when i was coming home near the chicago area. I decided to go to back to school and get my masters in lib science. my parents always talked to me about being a librarian but i thought they were crazy! now i’m so happy to do it! i have about a year left but i love talking about books and organization skills with other people who enjoy the same! xo

  2. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) April 7, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Wow actually I can relate so much. I have no idea what I want to do and I’m actually in the midst of switching majors. What a great blog. 🙂

  3. loftyappetite April 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m 5 years out of college and I remember this feeling so clearly! I had a business degree which doesn’t help narrow anything down, and had no idea what to do except apply everywhere. I ended up in an industry I know nothing about and to be honest am not too interested in, but I’ve learned a ton about myself. What I like to do and don’t like and have learned to manage people and projects I know nothing about – but have found the challenge of constantly learning and solving problems exciting. I guess what I am saying is even if you don’t have a clear realization of what you want to do, sometimes you have to go with the flow, and find yourself first. Sometimes it takes a few tries, and sometimes you just gotta make the best out a situation that has presented itself to you and make it work for you. Leverage it to find what truly motivates you. It sounds like you, Emily, are in the process of it and it’s totally normal! Use what you learned about yourself and skills you may have acquired to lead you to another opportunity. No one really knows what they want to be when they grow up, it’s all about the journey of evolving and learning. The best part is a background in consulting is so flexible, you can take that anywhere you decide to go! Thanks for sharing and good luck!!

    • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy April 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks you for sharing! I am so glad Michelle wrote this post, because it’s nice hearing that other people can relate! I have been applying and interviewing for certain jobs “just because they’re available” and I’m realizing that I am not at all interested in them. I know I shouldn’t be too picky, but I shouldn’t sell myself short either!

  4. Brittany April 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Michelle– amazing girl! So true! Though– i try and look at the big picture most of the times– yes sometimes it doesn’t happen! So much so share, but regular college didn’t work out for me. I went to a technical school for Medical Assisting, worked for a while. Then i decided to go back to school for nursing. Graduated from LPN School in January! AND I LOVE BEING A NURSE!!!!!!! Brittany of 10 years ago and my teachers in high school NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT i’d be a NURSE!!!! It’s amazing really 🙂 Gotta just follow your gut sometimes 🙂 love you girl!

  5. scatterbrainjane April 8, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Michelle-GREAT post!!! Love love love 🙂 Thanks for sharing all that!

    Good luck on your interview- let the blog world know how it went :)!

  6. squigglefloey April 8, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    Hi Emily!
    I just found your blog and loved this post and topic. I’m graduating in June with a BA in Journalism, and although I LOVE writing, there are almost nooo jobs in print journalism for recent grads 😦 I’m scared!
    I’ll be moving back home after school and am praying I don’t go crazy!
    But anyways, I definitely loved this post by Michelle!

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