I had a great discussion yesterday with a gentleman who will be graduating from college in 8 months. He’ll have a degree in accounting, but hasn’t thought deeply about what his first job will be.
I prodded him to get moving. Graduation isn’t that far away!
I understand his problem: He’s getting a general degree, and there’s so many directions he could take it. He might work with a small company or large. His job might be primarily accounting, or perhaps something which just leverages the skills. The job might be in any industry. Or he could even go out and start his own thing.
Where do you get started?
As it turns out, he has a particular interest in publishing. It’s kind of vague – but even so, this is very useful. Imagine that he’d get a job in a book publishing company in their accounting department.
All of a sudden, it’s much easier to imagine. And it’s much easier to investigate! Here’s some great questions to start with:
- What kinds of publishing companies are in the local area?
- What needs do they have in the accounting area?
- What other kinds of jobs in these companies might be able to use his skills?
I suggested a very straightforward way to get started: Make a commitment to himself that he’ll have a significant discussion (an hour) with someone who can help him gather information, make connections, and decide what he wants to do.
For instance, I’ve heard of a local writer’s group. He could schedule a meeting with someone who’s self-published.
There’s bookstores in the area. He could meet with someone there who has worked with publishers.
The university has connections with publishers, for professors who publish. Perhaps he could make a connection that way.
If he meets with just one person a week, he’s going to start making rapid progress. Even if he ends up deciding that the publishing industry was the wrong direction, he’s started moving!
For those of us who aren’t at the beginning of our career, what do we learn from this?
It’s really not that much different. If you’re looking forward to a career change – now, next year, or at some fuzzy point in the future – the challenge is to start investigating.
If you’re thinking about starting your own company, go talk to people who have done it. If you’ve thought about changing industries, find people who are already there. If you’re looking for an advancement in your position, make connections with people who made the transition.
If you talk with just one person a week, you’ll learn HUGE amounts. Then you’ll be able to make informed decisions.
By the way, the end of every conversation should be this:
“Thank you SO MUCH for your time today, it’s helped me a great deal. I appreciate your generosity. Do you have any suggestions for others I might talk to that might give me some good advice?”