Ending Job Search Paralysis

During his senior year of high school, Nick continually questioned what he wanted to do after graduation. He considered the military but then changed his mind. He wanted to go to college but did not feel ready. He thought taking a gap year between high school and college was his best option, but he did not know what opportunities to explore. Nick was afraid to pursue anything for fear that it would not be a perfect match. He expected any job or program to match his strengths and ideal work environment one hundred percent.


Yet even when you’re pursuing your passions and working toward your strengths, not every job is going to be perfect. As you work as an intern or during your first job, you won’t always be doing glamourous work. Even those who are in careers that they look forward to every day do not spend 100% of their time on high energy, engaging projects. But this does not negate the work itself or mean that this career isn’t meant for you. As Cal Newport says in So Good They Can’t Ignore You,
“It’s hard to predict in advance what you’ll eventually grow to love.” 
It’s tempting for students to encounter a setback in work or not be completely thrilled with their every day tasks that they miss key learning and growth opportunities. Instead, you need to try different experiences because you’ll never fully understand what work you love to do until you put your talents into practice. As Katie Couric recently said her commencement address to Randolph-Macon College:
“Even if it’s not the perfect job, get in there and do something! You never know who you might meet, or what it might lead to.” 
Furthermore, the industry you’re in may still be a perfect fit for you, but just in another role. Or it could be that once you master some entry level tasks that exciting projects are ahead. No matter what situation you are in, take advantage of the resources. Who can you meet with to build your network? Whose job seems intriguing to you, and can you set up a time to discuss it with them? Lean in to all that is in front you, and ensure that you’re taking key steps to point you in the right direction to your perfect career.
As you take ownership of your actions, you’ll soon unlock new capabilities, uncover new passions, and experience the feeling of being fully immersed in your work.
As Nick started Student Launch Pad, he stopped being paralyzed by the fear of finding the one exact, ideal fit in a job or post-high school program. By going through Student Launch Pad’s assessments, he began exploring what type of jobs and experiences matched up with his strengths, passions, and values. He learned that he liked people-oriented jobs that allowed him to use his artistic strengths. He decided to start small and take “mini-risks” in order to gain experiences and knowledge of what particular career he enjoys. So he set up appointments with contacts in fields he was interested in. These connections ultimately helped him decide on a gap year internship program that he is excited about starting this Fall.  

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