I’ve been slipping in and out of sleep all day so I can’t guarantee this post will have any sort of substance (not that my posts usually have substance, but today will probably just be one big mess). Anyway, since my internship is coming to an end in a few months, I’ve recently started thinking about what path my career is going to go down and thought I would share a bit about my experience in the post-grad world.
So anyone who has read my blog should know that working wasn’t what I thought my life after undergrad was going to entail. I was planning on attending 2 more years of undergrad at FIT, then going to Grad School to get my MBA and start working after that. However, I get waitlisted then rejected from FIT, and during this time realized that grad school wasn’t where I wanted to head to immediately after. I had been in school for basically my entire life and knew that I could do school really well, that I was comfortable with it. But being comfortable is not what I had learned in college, rather, we were taught to take risks.
The day after I got waitlisted at FIT, April 2nd, 2017 to be exact, I took my laptop and a notebook down to the chapter room of my sorority house and began scouring the internet for jobs. At first, I started looking exclusively at jobs within companies that I supported that were in New York because that’s where I had planned in living. When that search was done I looked for jobs in companies I liked anywhere in America. The more I searched for jobs, the more I realized I had to expand my horizons and just try to get my foot in some door of some cosmetics company, regardless of if they hold the same values as I do. While I don’t want to support the notion of setting aside your values in order to pursue a career, limiting myself to this small corner of a massive industry was just not possible. I wanted the experience of a corporate office; of learning how to create products, market products, whatever it is that cosmetics companies do. Then I could apply that learning to my own company where I could uphold my values and beliefs.
In the end, I expanded my horizons to applying to any job within any company I recognized that was located in New York. There were some jobs in California, some in New Jersey, one in Toronto, and even a few in London. By the end of this search, I had applied to 52 jobs and was feeling pretty confident. Whenever I had applied to jobs in the past, I never had a problem getting an interview, and have even been so lucky as to be shopping in a store and been offered a job on the spot. However, that’s retail. This industry is always looking for employees because there is such a high turnover rate. This expectation did nothing to prepare me for what the real world was actually like in terms of finding a career.
I was trying my best not to graduate without a job, like my brother. I had a plan, I was supposed to be my parent’s biggest success, but as we’ve already seen here, nothing was really going according to my plans at all. By late April I had heard back from three places; two were rejection letters, and one was an interview for the position I now currently hold. However, there’s a caveat to that interview.
Now I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this before, but I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” so often these days. I learned it in my major in regards to starting your own business and leveraging your connections, but I had never heard it in the workforce. I have never been one to ask my parents for favors because I’ve never liked the feeling of having to owe someone for my success, even if it is my parents. But, during a phone call to my mom, I mentioned I had applied to an internship within this company where they happen to know a boutique director. She told me to email her my resume because this director really wanted to help. I did so reluctantly, and in three days I received an email requesting to schedule a phone interview for the position.
Come May 14th I’ve graduated without a job, but having had three interviews for this company. By this time I had heard back from 6 more jobs with rejection letters. In 1 month, I had heard back from 9 of 52 jobs. That response rate is absolutely terrible. I felt like a failure at this point because I was joining the thousands of graduates leaving college without a plan for their future, even though everyone had big plans for me and my success. It’s hard to come into something having it all planned out, and then watching that plan unravel slowly in front of you. But May 17th I received a phone call from the company I had been interviewing with offering me the position. Without hesitation I accepted. Yes, it wasn’t in the industry I wanted, but you can’t always get what you want. This opportunity would get me into New York, and would give me a huge name as an employer to start building connections with.
You have to look at every opportunity presented to you as a chance to go and build. Everything is a stepping stone if you leverage it correctly. What I’m learning through this internship is incredibly relevant to wanting to start my own company, and the women I work with are doing such a great job to help me find a career path to travel down, whether that be inside the same company or elsewhere. Of course, I’m still trying to get into cosmetics and I’ve started to get more comfortable with the idea of reaching out to contacts to help me find my way to this industry.
At this point in time, nearly 5 months later, I still haven’t heard back from any more companies. That response rate is terrible, and that’s one of the biggest hurdles I have to overcome is the idea of silent rejection, but I’m happy where I am and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me. There’s plenty of opportunities here in New York to get involved and get my name out there within the cosmetics industry, but I would have to say my first step is probably leaving my apartment instead of sitting around watching YouTube and Friends all day.