By Tymmarah Anderson
For some, this question is easy. For others (like me) this was the worst question you could ask me other than “What’s the plan after college?”
I dreaded every post-college conversation, ever post-graduation gathering because honestly, I didn’t feel like I had a good enough answer for people’s questions. It just didn’t feel okay to not really know. I mean, I knew what I was passionate about, but I had no clue where my passion could fit into the real world. Can you really make money doing the thing you love? The answer is yes. But it all takes time and patience and it may not always happen when you really want it, but when you need it to.
After graduation, I was set on keeping the safe job. The plan was to stay in my college town, continue making a little over minimum wage, and learn the art of doing unfulfilling busy work for 8 hours of the day, 5 days a week. I knew deep down this wasn’t what I wanted, regardless of how much of an easy option this was. What did I want? Still no clue. But, I had always imagined myself hopping off the L downtown in my booties, strutting down the street to a start-up that offered free snacks and premium coffee. It seemed shallow at first, but it was actually a good starting point for me. I knew I wanted to work somewhere fun, liberal, and as inclusive as corporate America could be.
So I started looking. Eventually, I snagged a decent job. Great culture, decent perks, but deep down, I knew it wasn’t the one. Once I got settled there, I started looking again; searching for my dream job. Hundreds of cover letters, applications, and disappointing emails later, I found the one. I read the description of the job posting, and it felt like they were calling me out — like the job posting was written just for me. Not only was I qualified, but the company’s reputation preceded itself. I’ll never forget getting a call from the hiring manager. I ran into the vestibule of the Cultural Center on Randolph for some peace and quiet.
“We’d like to offer you…”
I don’t really remember anything after that but I do remember how bad I wanted this job; I could feel it in my bones.
It wasn’t until I got my dream job that I knew what my dream job was. Now, I talk to anyone who will listen about how cool my job is: the people, the office, the role. It’s exactly what I imagined, and the coffee is better than premium.
While my journey may have been shorter than others, it was rough. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself so soon to find the perfect job, when it was always destined to come to me as long as I continued to work for it.
If there was one thing I could tell myself last year, I would say, “It’s okay to not know.” Especially, with a global pandemic hanging over our heads, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air. Still, the things I learned in my journey apply to today, amidst all the chaos. There’s no right or wrong answer, no right or wrong path. You may find out at age 20 or 50. No matter what, it’s important to never stop searching for what that dream. It’s waiting for you.
Tymmarah Anderson is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC.