What are you going to do when you graduate?
It feels like my life has been a huge game of others asking me… “what I am going to do next?” It feels like, since Freshman year, I have had external influences pressuring me into thinking about my 10 year roadmap. I think some of that is valuable, long term thinking is important at times, but I do not think it is nearly as critical as the world wants you to believe.
When people ask me, as they have been all year, I tell them I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate. In fact, I do not want to know. I see it as too risky of a decision to decide today what my life will and should look like 6 months from now.
My lens, rather, is to focus on winning the next 7 days. One week. Sure I think about the broader picture and answer more strategic questions about things…but enough of this procrastination of doing hard and fun things…I want to win this week! This day!
People are generally offended by this answer. I use the word “offended,” which feels a bit bizarre and out of context, on purpose because that is how I characterize their reaction.
People want narratives that fit into their pre-determined box for how a career should go.
They want me to say that I have signed at x big company and will be working there come August. This narrative fits into their pre-determined benchmarking algorithm.
This is a bit of a cynical take…I know some people actually care about me, but I find that very few people really want to know how I am thinking about what to do when I graduate.
More people, rather, are assessing me on their personal leaderboard.
When I give them the unsatisfactory answer, rarely am I asked a series of thoughtful follow-up questions. Rarely, if ever, does anyone reach out sending me interesting articles, podcasts, etc. of how to think about things.
Rather, I get nothing.
And that is completely fine I am not expecting anything whatsoever. My point is that violating people’s expectations of your answers can make you enemies more than “how to win friends and influence people.”
I think, in general, people at top universities think way way too much about what they are going to do when they graduate.
They spend four years internally debating this question. And…
They do not do anything in the meantime. They do 2 internships all geared towards the “graduation job.”
And then what?
Well, of course, they then must figure out how to get into graduate school.
Originally published at Jordan Gonen.