Hannah Waters writes for Geezeo.com, a personal finance Web site and a sister site to TheStreet.com.
It's the time of year when upcoming college graduates are starting to freak out that we actually have to enter the "real world."
Let's be real -- most of us are definitely not ready for this transition ... or for some, this giant leap!
Last week, I accepted my first job. It was not my first offer, but it was the first one I accepted. It's hard when you get offers and weigh the pros and cons. Unless it's the job you have been searching for your whole life, it can be hard to make that decision!
I'm still not 100% positive about what I want to do with my life... so, eventually, one just has to take that leap, right?
My job entails becoming a buyer for a major company. Shopping is one of my downfalls, so, why not put it to use at a company that needs me to shop for them?
The salary, $38,000, was not exactly what I'd dreamed it could be. But since I'm a marketing major, I knew my first salary would be much lower than someone, say, graduating with a finance degree.
It took me a little while, but I realized that money isn't everything. The job was something I knew I would be good at. It is a reputable company. And everyone I talked to loves it there.
In the end, I realized that I would rather be happy with my job and get paid less than be miserable and making a ton of money (which is why I chose marketing in the first place).
My advice to those of you out there looking for jobs (and believe me ... I know it is
a fun time to look for jobs!):
Don't give up. No matter how frustrating the application process may get, something will come around. If you accept a job and don't love it, don't worry. Most people don't stay at their first job for very long anyway.
Apply everywhere. Although this may not seem logical, I have found out that only a few of the companies you apply to will even look at your application. You want to get yourself out there as much as possible. And so what if you have to go to a million first round interviews, it just increases your chance that you will get a second round interview!
Weigh your pros and cons. This is important. Like I said, the money aspect was hard for me to get over ... but in the end I realized that money was not everything. You need to look at more than just the short run ... consider also what you want for the future. Would you rather be happy and get paid less? Or unhappy and get paid more? If you're very lucky, you won't have to make this decision at all and you will get paid a TON at a job you love.
Don't let people make your decision for you. For a while, I got sucked into listening to my friends and family too much. Don't get me wrong, I value their experience and advice a great deal. But, in the end, the decision is yours -- and only yours -- to make.
Don't get hung up on an offer you might let go. There is no point in looking back. If you turn down an offer because you think it isn't for you, you have to move on. Having regrets won't help you in the long run. Move on without the regret, because there was something about the job you didn't want. So even if you end up without a job when you graduate, at least you won't be stuck in a job you didn't think was right for you.
Don't let graduation freak you out. Don't make rash decisions just because graduation is around the corner and it feels like everyone else around you has a job. They don't! The market is so bad right now that I know some people at my school who accepted jobs in the fall and have had their offers revoked because the company can't afford to take on new employees anymore. Many people are in the same boat. Don't think you're the only one!
The move into the "real world" won't be easy, but it's just another step in your life.
Like your time in college, it will probably go by much faster than you ever imagined.
Also, make sure to check out Geezeo.com's
college and university groups
, because many students that attend the same school as you may have some advice to get you through.