Look Around and Look Ahead This Summer

Nathan Parcells
Look Around and Look Ahead This Summer

I remember an upperclassman telling me during my first year of college to “enjoy every minute because graduation is right around the corner.”   When you consider how fast this summer has flown by, you’ll be able to see how the next year or two of college will fly by and all of a sudden you’ll be searching for a full-time job.  Have you reflected on your summer internship experience and considered what you want your future to look like? Analyze your internship while you’re still able to observe your experience rather than waiting until you’re gone and not having anything to reference when you’re searching for a job. Believe it or not, the first few years of working are surprisingly important. Don Peck was quoted in the National Journal saying, “about two-thirds of all lifetime income growth occurs in the first 10 years of a career.”

Look around

Here are some criteria that you can use to analyze your current internship. All your answers to these questions will lead you to discovering what you prefer in a job.

1) Work environment

Is your work space comfortable?
Is it quiet or talkative?
Is there a dress code?

2) Co-workers and Staff

Do you get along well with your coworkers and your manager?
How would you describe the relationships between people at work? Are they friendly, relaxed, stressful, tense, etc.?

3) Working hours

Are you required to come to work at a certain time and leave at a certain time?
Do you jive well with the hours you work in or would you prefer to work at a different time?

One of the best ways to get a deeper look on your job is to ask your co-workers to describe what it’s like to work there full-time. Ask them questions like: “What challenges and joys does this job have?” and “What’s your favorite thing about working here?”
Remember that the most important criteria for a job is that you love it. Is it really worth spending 40 hours a week at a place you hate?

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.” – Roger Caras

Look ahead

Here are some factors to consider when deciding where you want to work after graduation.

1) Location

Do you want to live in a rural or urban area?
What kind of environment do you want to live in?
Click here for some recommended cities to live in as a recent grad. Click here for more detailed factors to consider when deciding where to live.

2) Plans for the Distant Future

Ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years. What job would help you arrive there? This picture of yourself should include your career goals along with things like whether you want to have a family with children.

3) Purpose

What do you want to accomplish at your work?
What do you want to contribute?
Where do your gifts and the world’s needs meet?

Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it. If you do so, the job will come.  Remember: that the options are endless! Maybe you want to do your own things and become an entrepreneur.

Maybe you want to have an adventure after college or contribute to a community by doing Teach for America, Americorps, or the Peace Corps.

Start looking for your area of destiny, your future career path within your summer internship.  The best way to figure out where you’d most enjoy working is to squeeze all you can out of your experience this summer