How To Make A Powerful Career Change Before Graduating
I’ve been struggling with a dilemma that’s been eating me up and keeping me up at night. Being one year away from obtaining a Bachelor in Law, I was absolutely terrified that I will not get a job, or that I’ll settle for a job I’m okay with as opposed to obsessed with. Queue the tiny violins, “thousands of almost-university-grads are in your position, you’ll figure it out.” That’s the standard advice you get as young-adult, “It’ll all work out.” And while this statement may help others, all it does is frustrate me. Saying “It’ll all work out” is encouraging passive behaviour. Saying “It’ll all work out” translates to “sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.” How will it work out? I wanted answers.
Searching for answers led to an ultimate realisation: I am 20 and I don’t want to be lawyer. I am 20 and I want to put my witty, creative, restless brain to work and I want to love it. I am 20 and I want to have time for my future husband, children, and blogging. Pursuing a law career simply does not allow for the amount of time I would like for my future life. This is not a “women need to choose between a family and a job” speech. This is a “I am 20 and I know that a law career will not fit in my ideal lifestyle” affirmation. Formal attire is not what I want to wear to work every day, “formally” is not how I would like to conduct myself in a work environment. Legal arguments are not the conversations I want to have over a morning coffee.
When you search up “career change” on Google you get testimonies from people who already have careers. Where’s the advice for those of us who haven’t started, besides the “now you’re in thousands of euros of student debt, pay that back first and then figure it out?”
I blame society. Society meaning you, me, all of us for endorsing the idea that changing your mind in your twenties means you’re lost, and that now you’ve pointlessly invested thousands of euros.
You are lost.
And that’s so incredibly okay. It means you’re human. But I don’t believe in passive behaviour, in words of encouragement followed by incredible thoughts but no actions, so I would like to share my story in hopes that you too will get up and do something about how you feel.
Last January I opened an account on a freelancing platform. I had written articles for several online magazines, but always to share my thoughts and never for money. (No, I do not want to become a writer even though I highly admire writers.) I started writing travel articles and I started making great money for a student, but I wasn’t fully satisfied. As I said, I do not want to be a writer. So I sat down and wrote a list of things I wanted from my work environment; informality, encouraged creativity and productivity, an international environment, space for persuasion, research, some writing. At this point it shouldn’t be too hard for you to tell why I went into law in the first place. So, what jobs fit these requirements? I ran into marketing. More specifically, online marketing. I am an almost-law graduate so now what? Start a new bachelor? Can’t. I don’t have the necessary high school math background to go into business. Dead end, find a law job and be miserable for the rest of your young, long life.
Wrong. I had the necessary skills, and now I had some necessary background from my freelance work. “Search for internships, find a way to outshine the other candidates who do have shiny perfect resumés for the job” my brain screamed at me. “Show them how motivation is worth more than learned-knowledge, and how paper-perfect isn’t always picture-perfect.”
Fast-forward two months and in September 2016, I am starting an Online Marketing Internship in the Netherlands’ biggest affiliate online marketing firm, Imbull, who works with brands like Nike, HP, and many more. Turns out one of the (incredibly understanding and easy-going) managers that started the company just so happened to start off studying law too, and thought my bubbly and witty personality fit right in the company.
I didn’t quit my bachelor, I intend on finishing what I started because I refuse to deem it useless. I had countless business and economics related classes throughout this law bachelor, as well Contract Law which the manager himself said would come in useful when he has to read over contracts, that I can aid him in doing so. Finishing this bachelor will make me a double-asset. It gave me the research, writing, and persuasion skills necessary to enhance my performance as an online marketer. I am currently talking to as many people as I possibly can at my university to find a way to get into the Business Communications & Digital Media Masters it offers, despite my law bachelor background.
The most important career change I made was before my actual career even started. Take this article and let it show you how that guilt you’re feeling of not wanting to pursue the career you studied for should be turned into motivation to find out what you do want to do. Simply knowing you don’t want to pursue that career tells you nothing. Find out what you want to pursue. Find out how you can make what you’ve learned in your study so far useful for your future because, if anything, it increased your general knowledge. Seek opportunities, network, ask anyone who’s a year older than you what they did, what they’re doing, what their plans are.
Refuse to sit there and sulk. The next time someone tells you “It’ll work out,” let that trigger your brain into think “yes, it will, because I am actively learning about myself and the possibilities around me.”