Imagine graduating in the 1970’s…You’re listening to Queen, pondering your future in your high-waisted flares, platform shoes and snacking on 10p pic ‘n’ mix sweets. All good to this point? The clumpy shoes were great for jumping around at the local disco but unfortunately your graduate choices were pretty limited. Equal pay for men and women was only just making it into the mainstream workplace. Plane travel was neither cheap nor readily available to the masses. Nobody knew what ‘the internet’ was. If you chose the wrong career for you, it wasn’t really acceptable to change your mind and start again.
Fast forward to 2016, the high-waisted jeans and platforms might have come full circle but luckily the career options have come on leaps and bounds! Flight prices have never been so low. The internet has brought our generation endless possibilities. The world is becoming smaller and opportunities more diverse. Thank the career Gods, we no longer live in an age where women have to become secretaries or nurses and men become workers or doctors.
Equality, mobility, and ambition are key values of our generation.
Yes, we admit there is still a long way to go, but it’s up to us to make this happen. There is a whole world of opportunity available to us. We shouldn’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that our options are restricted to corporate London graduate schemes.
Today’s world presents us with enormous challenges; increasing inequality, climate change, conflict, human rights’ issues, environmental destruction. We need us to understand these issues. The world needs us to travel! The necessity for international cooperation has never been so high. We must talk to people and learn their stories. Careers are now available in green energy, corporate social responsibility, charity work, social enterprises, conservation, responsible travel to name but a few. We must be culturally adaptable so that our generation can fast forward global progress throughout the 21st Century.
We attend globally respected universities. We naturally speak a language which other people spend a fortune on learning. Jobs are open to us anywhere from the Antarctic to the Amazon, from Lisbon to Lilongwe.
So that’s what the world wants, but what do you want? This is the question you need to ask yourself. Career choices are so broad these days that choosing can be a real challenge.
What do you want out of your career? You will typically spend 80,000 hours at work. Imagine spending 4 hours doing something that really bores you. Then multiply it by 20,000. Don’t ever sell out. These days, career change mentoring is a whole industry. The once highly-respected corporate bubble has burst.
Our generation quite rightly thinks about meaning, ethics and fun in the workplace. Do everything in your power to avoid having that ‘wake-up’ moment 10 years down the line…wondering what on Earth you’ve been doing for the last decade. Discover your passions and make that the focus of your career search.
I genuinely believe we are the luckiest generation of graduates to date. And we have to grab that with both hands and never take it for granted. The internet and the ease of international travel means that we can go almost anywhere and do almost anything after graduating. On top of that, there are more businesses, more organisations and more people out there giving us advice than ever before. Helping people with the challenges that come post-graduation is now a whole industry. It can be almost overwhelming. But do not fret! We’ve been there. We didn’t know where to start either. That’s why we started The Cool Graduate.
My name is Elizabeth Bailie and I am passionate about inspiring you to follow your dreams. I started TheCoolGraduate.com because I wanted to provide a platform of inspiration to other graduates so they have the confidence to pursue their passions. I graduated 3 years ago. I wanted to work abroad. I wanted a job which I cared about. I didn’t particularly want to do a graduate scheme. I wanted to prove that going abroad after uni isn’t just about full moon parties on the beach in Thailand. You can create incredible professional opportunities, as well as developing yourself personally, if you think globally with your graduate choices.
Your career tools are very simple; the internet, your voice and your brain. That’s it!
Think big, and act small. Ask yourself what you want from life, and then take baby steps to get there. Have faith that if you stay proactive in your job search, things will work themselves out. Remember that nothing is forever. Think about how you can apply your passions to your career and if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the UK, do not panic! Lucky for us, there’s a whole world of opportunities out there.
A Bit About Our Contributor: The Cool Graduate
The Cool Graduate is a brand new platform of inspiration for students and graduates, specialising in inspiring people who want to do something a bit different after university. We cover everything from working abroad to setting up your own business, to nomad jobs, to travel and volunteering.