Throughout my intern experience I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with people from various departments about what they do. In fact, if I even had the slightest interest in an area of business, my supervisor would help me to set up a chat with someone who she knew within a related department. These chats were insightful as they helped me with the process of figuring out what I want to do with my career in the future. After a while, I began to think that anyone unsure about their future career would benefit from this process.
One of the most valuable things that I learned from these chats was how important it was to do research on the area of work you’re interested in before the meeting. Having at least a general overview prior to going into these conversations is beneficial because it allows you to have a better conversation with the person that you’re talking to. By saying ‘better’ I really mean that you won’t have to ask them about the industry because you’ll already know the basics. This allows you to ask more specific questions about things that stood out out to you in the research process that you have questions about.
When having a chat with someone, it’s important to get the following information from them:
- What their daily schedule is like.
- The average tasks that they complete day to day.
- How flexible/inflexible their job is.
- The outlook for upward mobility from their position.
- The skills necessary to excel in their job position.
- The highs and lows of what they do.
- Their advice to someone in your current position.
Getting responses to the inquiries above will begin to give you answers to questions that you didn’t even know you had! It also allows you to get a broad overview of their work life in addition to a few specifics depending on the conversation.
During the conversation, you’ll mentally begin to think one of three things:
1. “Eh..”, “This is okay… I guess..” “Everyday? Really?”
(This position really isn’t for you)
2. “Wow okay!” “Uhmm… you work how many hours a week? Do you sleep?” “That sounds..alright.”
(You’re getting warmer, but this probably isn’t the dream job either)
3. “YES!” “A dream, this job is a dream.” “I feel the same way, it’s like we’re twins!”
(This is IT. You’ve found your dream job. ASK THEM HOW THEY GOT THERE & STAY IN CONTACT)
Don’t be mistaken, all three of the mental conversations are great to have. It’s just as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you do like. The real goal with these conversations is help you get closer to knowing what you want to do which includes the positives and the negatives.
You may be asking the question, “Yeah this sounds cool and all, but I don’t have an internship.”
Good news! You don’t need one. You can start by asking the people around you. If you’re in school ask professors, or ask if they know anyone that you can speak to. If you’re just living your life, then ask people that you know. They might not be doing anything that interests you, but odds are they know at least one person that is. Honestly, if you really want this information, there’s no boundary to getting it. For example, if you’re truly interesting in running a small business, go into a thriving small business and ask for the owners contact information. People generally aren’t stingy with giving out their career information and if they are, ask the next person.
So please, if you’re lost about what to do in life, ask people who are already working their careers. Don’t wait until you get in the job to discover that it’t not for you. Be proactive. Do your research, then reach out!
peace + love