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Open Letter to College Students: Please Think About Your Career Direction

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran -- A career expert says college students are in the perfect place right now to figure out a future career that allows them to launch their lives, become self supporting citizens, AND be happy. Here's how to avoid having your future self join the 60% of workers who don't like their jobs.

Dear College Student,

I'm sure you're truly enjoying your years in college; I know I did. You are swept up in the tide of family and peer influence that headed you to college because it is a good idea; and you need to have a degree to get a job. All of that is true, but it's not enough.

I'm here as your future self trying to argue your need to figure out your career direction right now while you're still taking classes and before you head into the real world. There is hardly a week that goes by that I don't speak to someone who got out of college with absolutely no idea about what kind of job they could pursue. The people I speak with range from freshly minted graduates to people who graduated 10 years ago. I can see that the new college graduates are headed for the same realities as those who've been in the workforce for a while. The reality is they had no idea how their degree could apply to a job which resulted in "finding something" that they end up hating.

When you leave college, more than likely you will quickly get into the mode of launching your life. You will be pursuing a job to help you pay off student loans and to support an ever expanding life. It's easy to get swept up in the act of growing your life. You fall in love, get married, buy cars, buy a house, have kids and on it goes. Before you know it, time has gone by and you wake up one day wondering how you went astray from your college education. More than that, you wonder how you ended up with your so-called career that you hate, and start wondering why you pursued the degree you did.

I know of people who were history majors that do factory planning, doctorates in archeology who are administrative assistants, acting majors who sell cars, green tech majors who work for a newspaper and health education majors who are carpenters. It's not that these careers aren't honorable professions -- in fact they are -- it's just that these people don't like their jobs and haven't correlated their education to a specific career or profession which might have been more resonant. A less delicate way of saying this is that they wasted 4-9 years of schooling and countless dollars to wind up doing something that bears no resemblance to what they studied AND they hate it. To make matters worse, at some point it gets emotionally difficult to shift gears. Many people feel like they can't change careers when they get down the road a bit.

I'm pleading with you to do your best right now to prevent being in the 60% of workers who don't like their job. Do your future self a favor and start figuring out right now how you will apply your study to a career.

You have to look at all the wisdom your parents passed on to you, and at your education as preparing you for one thing: To launch your life and be a self supporting citizen.

Wouldn't it be good to also be happy? Most students pursue their major because they enjoy it. Wouldn't it be good to figure out a career that capitalized on your interest and education? Your job will be the single biggest consumer of your life. You will spend more of your waking time working than any other thing in your life. Don't wake up to this reality after your leave college. You are in a perfect place right now to figure this out and to position yourself for a fantastic future.

If I could create a film for college students that is the equivalent of the "Scared Straight" documentary where troubled youth meet life-term prisoners, I would. These troubled youth quickly learn the realities of the decisions and path they are on and it helps to sway them into another path. Since I don't have the resources to do that, all I can do is to hope my words help point you to a brighter future filled with inspiration and fulfillment. Figure out your career direction now. You'll be glad you did.



With over 21 years in management at Intel and diverse staff mix, Dorothy Tannahill Moran has coached, guided and trained others at all levels to go on to achieve impressive results and careers. As a change practitioner, she is certified to guide individuals and organizations at a personal or professional level to make meaningful changes that stick. Bottomline, Dorothy Tannahill Moran is dedicated to helping you accelerate your career -- to achieve what you want by connecting you with your Free Instant Access to 5 Video series The 5 Most Common Ways Introverts Commit Career Self-Sabotage and How to Avoid Them. Unique and practical advice you can start using today. Go here to get them:

© 2015 Dorothy Tannahill-Moran

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