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May 7, 2013

What happened to the dream job?

by wictseblog

by Allyn Woodward

AllynW B&W“Detachment is about learning to have faith in your actions and remembering that you’re more than what you do for a living” – Kelly Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You.

Three weeks before my graduation, I was sitting in the backseat of my friend’s car. I was sick, foggy, and in desperate need of a nap before finals. Her mom was driving the car as she sat in the passenger. As a family friend, I had grown up before this woman’s eyes. She had dropped her daughter off to all my birthdays, brought in brownies to our 2nd grade class, and was always there with a laugh and a story.

She too had began working again and as most parents asked during my final weeks at Georgia Tech, she asked about my graduation plans. I usually answered vaguely as I had still been moving through the interview phase. Something had changed and I wasn’t as excited about moving onto the next phase. I had always looked at college as my means to getting my dream job. The dream job was the most exciting thing to my fourth-grade self and I had held onto that dream until the last couple of months.

I decided to answer honestly: “I’m not really sure what I want to do anymore.” She had known me all my life and I expected surprise and disappointment. Instead, she laughed: “Don’t worry! I still don’t know what I want to do.”

As I continued through interviews, I found myself less excited about the coming opportunities. I had treated the dream job and the process as the finale. It was the end of the learning experience and I wasn’t necessarily ready or excited. My friend’s mom laugh reminded me that enlightenment is a process:

Focus on your passions

With demanding schedules, it can be hard to focus on what you love to do. As a former Resident Advisor, I saw too many students burnout by their first year and overwhelmed by school. They weren’t setting aside time for something they loved that had nothing to do with furthering their future career.


Without a clear offer at graduation, one friend decided to continue volunteering throughout her job process. She was able to continue networking for her field and have experience in what could have been the dreaded resume gap.

Get uncomfortable

With all the focus on grades, school, and the hopeful yet elusive curve, you need to change up your actions. Take a class off campus and if you’ve already graduated, take a class at another school. Coming from a technology-focused school, I decided to take a class at an art school. Though technical in nature, the class expanded my knowledge beyond my previous exposure and allowed me to explore different curriculum and techniques.

Most students become extremely focused on their job plans. After four years, this is what you have been training for, but it can become an obsession. Some students would get sick at the thought of interviews. One person I knew avoided one side of campus for fear of the career fair. As an intelligent, extremely personable student, she refused to venture or talk about going there. She couldn’t recognize her own abilities over her nerves. All she needed was a little faith and detachment.

Read more from Career Productivity

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