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Hopeless graduate, don't know what comes next...(27 Posts)
Hello, name changed and hopping on my mums account so apologies if this is in the wrong place. I am wondering if anyone could offer any advice or even just words of wisdom.
I am 23 and have graduated this June from university , and I don't know what to do next. I have no idea what I want to do career wise and am really struggling applying for jobs and graduate schemes when I have no sense of direction. I have worked previously in various basic part time jobs (hospitality etc.) but just feel I'm at the point in my life now where I should have a 'proper job'.
I feel so behind compared to my friends (many of whom are several years younger and leagues ahead) and like I'm getting older and older and it will soon be too late for me to have a successful career (whatever that looks like). I have part time work at the minute for which I am very grateful given the current employment situation, but its not something I can do long term. However, It just feels so impossible and overwhelming to commit to something new and tie myself into a contract which might just end up being a step in the completely wrong direction.
I know that I often put too much pressure on myself, and as a result have developed quite severe anxiety, constantly panicking about the future and being a failure. On the other hand, I know I'm not stupid; I have 3A*s at a-level and a 1st class degree (science subject) so I must be capable of achieving things, I'm just so terrified I am going to throw away my potential and be stuck in dead end jobs forever. By the time I figure out where to even start upon a career it will be too late.
I am so incredibly lucky to have supportive parents who are willing to let me take the time to figure this out, but I can't help but feel completely useless and like I'm letting everyone down.
If anyone can offer any suggestions or share your own experiences I would be very grateful. I am feeling very bewildered with everything and its really starting to get me down.
Thank you x
Do you not have any clue at all what you would like to do? Would you like to work with people? Outdoors? Office based? Something practical?
Why did you choose the degree that you did, it must have interested you and you have got a 1st so must be good at it. Can you do something related to that?
Would it help if you made an appointment with a careers coach or similar? Do your Uni offer this to graduates?
There is no reason that you have to stick with something if you start a job and find that you don't like it. Why do you think that you would be tying yourself into a contract?
You are definitely not a failure but it I think will get harder the longer you leave it.
Hi, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately not. I prefer to be at least somewhat active as opposed to being sat at a desk for 40 hours a week, but equally having worked outdoors previously that extreme isn't for me. Other than that I really haven't a clue.
I enjoy working with people and having done personality profiles would suit a role In which I was helping others apparently. I have always thought about teaching but I dont know whether I'd be capable because of this anxiety.
It doesnt help that my mood has been so low recently I seem to have lost all hope and motivation
What are your interests or passions?
What is your science background? Would you be open to retraining in something more vocational e.g. speech and language therapy / occupational health?
Do you have a salary target in mind that you’d like earn? If you want a huge salary aim for something like law, finance.
If you’re happy on a decent but not mega salary then vocational as above or something like cyber security is a growing area desperate for female graduates. The civil service also always gets good reviews, so maybe look into the fast stream.
What was your degree in?
Have a look at environmental sciences jobs, environmental engineering, impact assessment etc. They have elements of combining outdoors with working with people as well as some elements of desk based reports.
I’m the parent of someone like you. Tough love moment.
You are at least a year too late. You are competing against people who will have done internships and temp jobs during their student years. So best advice is to get a permanent job in anything. It won’t be your dream job. It’s likely to be boring and office based (most jobs are!). But it will be a start on learning some transferable job skills that you can’t offer at the moment. Type in Administration and your chosen location in Indeed.com and get applying.
It’s shit out there. You tong people have had your lives curtailed to an intolerable degree. But you need to put the old big girl pants on and power on. What’s the alternative??
If I were you I'd look into a masters in environmental health. Excellent career progression, good wages compared to many, and variety in spades.
Friends daughter graduated this summer with first in chemistry and starts job as scientist in a week, so don't give up your dreams too soon. It is not compulsory to spend 40 years typing into a computer.
Having said that, a lot of first jobs are less than ideal. But they are good experience for the next job
I had the same problem out of Uni. Business degree and no direction. I went for a part time entry level job just to get working (NHS) and then once you are in opportunities come up, you know people and how things work (same with any medium to large organisation). I’m now four different employers along, an experienced manager and am thinking about next career steps. And I do not work in the industry of my degree at all. it’s basically a tool now to get me through a paper sift when applying for jobs.
What I’m saying is get your foot in the door somewhere. Let the rest follow through. Opportunities never come up when convenient or when you expect them.
I am also the parent of someone like you! Two in fact, one with two science degrees (and currently pursuing a PhD) and one with two humanities degrees and no clue in which direction she's like to go!
Which area of science is your degree in? Biology? Do you like working with animals? Could you volunteer at a local sanctuary to fit around your working hours? This might give you an idea if animal care or conservation etc could be a career path for you? Biomedical science degree? Look into a job working for the NHS? In a lab. I'm just throwing ideas around here but could you do the same? There's a book called - I think- what colour is your parachute? It might be a place to start to see which of your current interests, qualifications and personality might suit which career option. Good luck!
Hi all, thank you for your replies.
So for some more information. My biggest passion in life is animals (degree very much related) although am under no illusions that the pay is generally terrible and have no desire to train as a vet.
@VanCleefArpels Whilst you are fully entitled to your opinion, I don't appreciate your assumptions of me. I have too been working and volunteering throughout university, at one point holding down 3 paid roles, 1 voluntary role and studying full time. I therefore don't believe that I lack work ethic (not that you implied I did just as a side note) and feel I do have plenty of transferable skills already.
My problem is purely direction. I have been applying for lots of admin based things at the minute and even getting to the interview stage is tough because of how competitive everything is at the minute.
I don't feel right now that I want to go back to studying. I have had enough of it and want to be out in the real world. Until recently I was going to pursue a PhD (was offered a fully funded project) but have since decided that academia is not where I want to be.
First thing is, don't panic. I was exactly where you are and feeling the same things.
Everyone's as insecure and anxious as you are and nobody is guaranteed a bright future in any aspect - that's life. Try not to make comparisons.
OK, so don’t worry! Careers are made over the long-term - it is not compulsory to have a fixed path to pursue in your 20s. Most jobs have transferable skills - take the stress of ‘deciding’ off yourself.
Have you been in touch with your uni careers service? They should be able to help.
Have a look at what colour is your parachute- a bit quirky, book and website, but v good at helping you pin down your skills and values to think about where you might like to work.
I would also consider what type of organisation you would like to work in and explore any way of getting in. You are young.
You have plenty of time and opportunity to explore and try things- could you volunteer in a school? Some are taking volunteers.
Are you volunteering with animals? Could you explore that?
And you are likely to have several different “ careers” in your lifetime.
It is increasingly unusual for people to stay in one carer for life- even more traditional professions.
You talk about direction- I would suggest that momentum is more useful to think about. Do something- anything, to get moving. And be open to possibilities. Connections are so important- think about who you know who are doing something that interests you. Talk to them.
If you dont know what you want to do, just do something. A job. Get some work experience and transferable skills. The longer you leave it with no experience like this, the harder it will be.
You dont have to choose your path now. But you do need to get working, And sorry but you might not enjoy your job. It might be boring and stuck at a desk. But it will benefit you longterm and you wont look lazy to future employers who are innundated with students with multiple internships and all that jazz.
Science degree too. I left uni and ended up in an investment company, so essentially 2 years on Excel.
At 24 I went to work in technical/quality for a factory. It was closer to my science background and something a bit different. I now am in QHSE and love manufacturing! Its varied, needs an eye for detail, reasoning and is not 100% desk based.
Big take home, don't be afraid to try roles.
I'd never have imagined that I'd like industry, but until you try, you won't know. It was prob 2 years into the role where it really hit me that I enjoy it.
It's ok to not know yet. Maybe, as you are part time, you could try for work placements and have a taste of different employers. Good luck, you've got a world of opportunities - go with it!
You don't have to be a vet to work with animals. Look into working into some of the big agricultural companies like 2sisters, Arla, Noble or Moypark. They all have grad schemes with good career progression.
OP no assumptions made - just going on your original info which stated you’d had hospitality jobs but did not indicate you had any office-ish skills to offer. No comment on work ethic at all, just commenting on the skills you may or may not be able to offer. It is hard out there as so many people who will have loads of experience have lost jobs.
Go and look at the Civil Service Fast Stream roles. Might be something there that takes your fancy. Deadline coming up soon but they have vacancies every year and so much potential for progression and the chance to make a real difference.
You have done so so well, be proud of all that you have achieved. You are so young and you have your whole life ahead of you you know. Some weird posters on here- good to see you sticking up for yourself- you’re no pushover and I think your assertiveness is a plus too.
Good luck- have a feeling you will be fine.
Contact your uni careers service for a chat with someone
Its not too late to contact Uni careers service.
Lots of good ideas here. I think you should look for a job rather than spending your time thinking about a graduate career. Get working and then plan for the future. Try to find a job with a large organisation - part time/temp work and then look for opportunities within that company. I once read on here 'it doesn't matter what you do - just do it really well.' Maybe you will work out your ideal career/maybe it doesn't exist. Start moving forward. Otherwise dare I say you might just be sounding a little bit self-indulgent.
I think your mistake is in thinking you need to find a career that you will be in for the rest of your life. My first 2 careers didn't suit me - but I would never have known that if I hadn't tried them. They both provide me with a useful sense of perspective when I have a bad day in my current 3rd (final??) career
At 22 you can look for something which might suit you, give it a year and if it doesn't work out then you move on.
I felt like that when I graduated not too long ago. I could have sat around for years thinking about what I wanted to do and would still probably be none the wiser.
The most helpful thing I've found is just getting a full time job, even if it's not something you see yourself doing long term. That helped me to work out what I liked in a job and what I didn't like, and each time I've changed jobs I've whittled it down further and got closer to something I enjoy. I wouldn't say my current job is my passion, but it's much more enjoyable than the my first job out of uni.
Don't be worried about signing a contract and not enjoying it - you're not signing your life away and if it's really that terrible you can hand in your notice whenever you want.
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