Monday, May 18, 2009


People are graduating all over.

Graduation. That rite of passage, that level-increase that indicates you have progressed, increased, learned, altered, improved, arrived. It’s that transitory warmth that lets you bask in the light of your accomplishments, or at least breathe a sigh of relief that something heavy has passed.

Yea! Lift a glass!

Now onto the next.

Commencement means something new has begun. Your journey has ended, only to dump you out on another road. All those beginnings and endings never really end; they just cycle around.

So you’re standing on a threshold, and what do you see? The bright sunshine of a new day? A long, dark, scary tunnel of the unknown? Maybe you’re too damned drunk to look yet, but the future is right now. Best be prying your eyes open to greet the dawn, girl. Might as well embrace her, because she’ll just keep rolling in day after day after day.

This brings to mind a young woman I met a few years ago. She had graduated from a very impressive university. She had travelled overseas to teach English to Chinese business folk. She had paddled down a big river to bring the Internet to native villages. She had worked for a prestigious arts organization. Lovely internships providing valuable life experience. And, she was looking for an entry-level job, a foot in the door for a good company where she could work and prosper and pay off her student loans.

She made me nauseous.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the value of corporations. Many are upstanding organizations that provide a good product. Scads of people have built careers, fell in love, married, raised families, and retired with a sense of accomplishment and a trunk filled with wonderful memories. What’s not to like?

But, rushing to the safe choice is not always the thing. I wonder if it is ever the thing. I am sure there are tens of thousands of responsible, fresh-faced graduates out there who have landed the corporate job, banked their graduation bucks, and now look forward to a decade of working in a cubicle, paying off student loans, and scraping to establish a nest egg for tomorrow. Hoping that nest egg can someday be combined with the one the cutie in Accounting is building – seed money for the Plan 529 that will send the next generation off to college.

So, in this graduation season, I just want to ask all you graduates for one favor. Not to mess with your karma … Okay, I’m messing with your karma. Find me, and sue me.

But, before you lock into that blue-dress-shirt-on-Tuesday job that you never heard of before, before you stuff your feet in three-inch heels and spruce up your cubicle with an African Violet, before you relegate that thing you love to do to weekends, and then to the basement, please pause. Please think. Please remember what you started off wanting to do. Please remember the dreams you had or discovered or considered. Please contemplate what made you spend those years pursuing that degree, and at least look around for a slice of your dream.

Exercise just a bit of patience while you do so. Tamp down the panic screaming for you to take any any any job. Look at door number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (I know time’s a-wasting, but at 22, is it really moving that fast?).

I don’t want you to crash in your parent’s basement. I don’t want you to miss an opportunity. I don’t want you to regret your choices, but I don’t want you to regret your choices. I want you to take just one extra moment to look for your true dream job. Who knows – you might find that door with the sun spilling over the threshold, and embark on that path that’s been calling you. And, wouldn’t that be worth the extra stretch?

Okay. Time to bask again: Congratulations on your most recent success!


JobSearchNinja said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janie said...

Right now, finding any job at all could be a bit of a search. But I know what you're getting at. Too many times people give up their dreams without doing much reaching for them. And that's a shame. Best of luck to all the graduates for reaching and, I hope, finding a job or career path that will bring them real, long-term happiness.

CoyoteFe said...

Sorry - I only delete weird robo-ads.

Oh Janie!
I know, I know. It's tough out there. I think all grads could get SOME job, but time is precious, so I just want them (and us all for that matter) to pause, before giving up their dreams. They say 85% of people don't gain a career in their major. That either means they decided not to follow their chosen field, have deferred their chosen field, or never could find work in their chosen field. I would just wish for everyone to have a dream and a plan. Even if they have to wait, even if life interrupts, and even if they have to come back 20 or 30 years later. But, if they can do it now, well, blessed be.

mountain.mama said...

Hi Coyote, thanks for the comment on my blog.

This one of your made me stop and think. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school and headed off to the University of Utah in the fall to pursue engineering. I hope she doesn't get caught in the rat race but it's that kind of path.

I know I took time off to discover myself and play and didn't have kids until age 35 so never regretted any loss of freedom with the responsibility of raising my two girls. I took time off again to raise them and have recently gone back into the work force. Now I'm wondering what I want to be when I grow up!

Esther Garvi said...

It's easy doing things because of obligations, expectations and desire of financial security. But it struck me when I was working as a teacher (which I loved) that we when we spent 1/3 of our days at work, it NEEDS to be meaningful!

Loved your post, Fe. You always make me smile!

CoyoteFe said...

Mountain Mama!
Congrats to your graduating daughter! Kudos to her for pursuing such a rigorous program. Love that you followed your own path, did the things you wanted to do on your own schedule, and it sounds like everything turned our quite well. I realize reality has a way of interrupting dreams; I guess it's just important to remember what they are, and believe that they are possible. That's the first step to giving them life. Also, isn't it a bit exciting to have the next phase of your life laid out before you like a mystery?

How is your pup?? I will check and see. What you said reveals an important key: that need to do something meaningful. And, it does not have to be anything fancy, just something that makes you WANT to get out of bed in the morning. Someone once told me that you know that something is important to you if you would rather do it than sleep!

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