As winter break comes to an unfortunate end, it’s back to schoolwork and tests, leaving much less time for
productive life planning and career searching gluttony and time-wasting.
Time off sure was nice, but so is employment. Here are 11 things I could and should have been doing over break. Oops.
- Searching for alumni networks in my area: While sleeping 13 hours a night for a month straight is nice, I should have been looking for people who want to help me succeed. Alumni of my high school and college, especially ones with similar upbringings, should have enough in common to bond over and to give me relevant advice.
- Reaching out to the alumni: I should have reached out to those alumni, using those common interests and experiences to my advantage, to get them to share some of their experience and wisdom, to gain better clarity for my own path and to have valuable contacts for the future.
- Diagramming my talents and interests, and brainstorming possible career paths: Devoting some time with a pen and paper to write out all of my interests, skills, and tasks I like doing, and mapping them alongside jobs or industries I think I might be interested in; would have been much more valuable than watching those 7 consecutive episodes of Storage Wars. I then could have delved into Vocatio’s career groups to research the roles that my test said I’d be a high fit for.
- Perfecting my resume: My resume can use work. Everyone’s resume can use work. I know employers usually get tons of resumes and will often toss them at the first sight of a mistake or weakness. Come to think of it, my BaseballFan57 email address probably doesn’t look as cool now as it did when I was in 5th grade…
- Applying to a job a day: Even if I’m not totally sure I’ve found my “dream job,” I should still be engaging in the process, and applying to jobs that seem even mildly interesting. This can (a) potentially give me some options, and (b) help me hone my craft of filling in applications, writing cover letters, and reaching out to hiring managers. This would have been way easier to do during break, when the only other worthwhile task on my list is writing thank you cards for presents, rather than during the semester when I have tons of other work.
- Practicing talking about myself: Hopefully, I’ll be getting some job interviews in the next few months. When I get one for that perfect job, I don’t want to be just winging it. Instead of wasting hours in the wormholes of Wikipedia, I should have been practicing talking about my story, my best qualities, and my work style and tendencies (which my Vocatio personality fit test conveniently helped me realize), so that I can make myself memorable in interviews, cover letters, and serendipitous introductions.
- Reading: Instead of sitting around binge-watching a television show from twenty years ago in my bed for six hours, I should have tried reading. While simple, it keeps my mind working in ways that my third favorite protagonist from the nineties can’t from the other side of the screen. This would have been the perfect time to get in some pleasure reading, which always helps my creative and imaginative juices flowing. On the other hand, though, now I have an arsenal full of silly obsolete catch phrases I can use.
- Reaching out to past employers: There are people from my past summer jobs and internships that surely would like to hear from me and find out how I’m doing. A simple holiday life update email would have been a great way to maintain contact with people I’d like to stay in contact with, and who also might be able to provide guidance or recommendations in the future. I spent my four-week vacation on the pho tour of Los Angeles; a challenge I created in an attempt to try as many varieties of my favorite food as possible.
- Talking with my peers about the real world: Rather than of being afraid of the future and doing my best to ignore it, I should have been talking about it with equally-confused friends. Hypothetically, if I had done numbers 3, 4, and 7, the next step would have been having some real-talk with friends about all those things, and helping each other sort out our interests, passions, and true skills.
- Talking to friends who have been adulting a couple years: Friends that are a few years older carry a lot of wisdom. They know how to get a job in today’s climate, which is something that my parents probably can’t help me with. While sitting around playing video games is fun, asking my older friends about how they got where they are, and what they might have done differently would have been a better use of my time.
- Learning about graduate school: I’m not sure whether I want to go to graduate school or not, or when I would go. But doing some research on programs, schools, and benefits would surely help me make that decision. And who doesn’t love a collection of college sweaters?
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