Were those six years in vain?

Our elder has some confidence-boosting advice for a letter writer who is doubting himself after facing rejections from prospective employers.


Dear EWC

I’ve been wondering for a while: how do I know I’m following the right direction for a career? I’ve been studying the same subject for six years, but I’ve never really put it to serious use in the workplace. I recently finished university and I’ve been looking for a job anywhere I could, but nowadays it’s very hard because of Covid… or is it me? I have the feeling that all these rejections I’m getting are not because the work providers found someone closer or just more experienced than me, but because I have a false sense of confidence about what I do. Again, I studied graphic design for six years, but what if these six years are in vain and I should just stick to doing something else? 

Shorty replies

Thanks for trusting the Elders with your career concerns. I hope that by sharing my life’s career experiences that you will find some direction or at least experience an outside perspective.

Are you passionate about graphic design? Do you find it fulfilling and enjoyable, or is it just something you feel you can do to create a career? My experience is that almost all successful people are passionate about whatever it is they do daily, unless they are just one of those multi-talented phenomena who are good at everything they do.  I believe that this should be your first evaluation of whether to continue on your graphic design path or find something else with more appeal. Just questioning your choice of career is not necessarily a symptom of a lack of passion – it can be the result of real environmental pressures and the fact that you are newly admitted to this career. Yes, you must be practical and able to generate an income, but if you have passion, it is only a matter of time before the right job comes along. 

If you find that you have lost the passion that perhaps guided you into this line of business, then you should certainly look at alternatives which are more appealing. Sometimes an education in one discipline can leverage into something similar but with a better fit to an individual. I’m certain that there are a number of career choices which would find a background in graphic design beneficial or advantageous. Think beyond a specific type of design job and consider all of the ancillary careers involving design as well as designing itself, like advertising and marketing or perhaps teaching design or making graphic art. Don’t have tunnel vision of what you think a graphic design job should be – expand your horizons and you might be able to reignite your passion.

If you intend to pursue your original career choice, I suggest that perhaps it would be valuable to ask your professors or an experienced graphic designer to evaluate your portfolio and give you some feedback about the quality of your work. If the feedback is positive, then you should consider contacting a job placement firm who can help you with finding appropriate job listings and ensure that your applications and interviews are the most effective. Having confidence in yourself and in your work when you do score an interview will take you much farther than if you are doubtful about the possibility of being the person they want. It does seem to be true that, without practical experience, it is going to be more challenging to get that first job, but keep in mind that companies are often looking for good entry level workers who are willing to learn and grow in the position. Try that attitude with your next applications and see if it gets you further into the process. Also, my recent reading regarding the job market suggests that the hiring process is taking longer these days, so be patient and persistent with those second or third contacts. Again, a good job placement firm will have more information and tips for you, no matter where your career path takes you.

I want to emphasize that most of us have doubts when we first venture out into the real job world from our university world. It really can make a difference when you do get your first career job in clarifying your direction and ambition. I would encourage you to at least keep trying until you have that practical experience needed for a more informed decision. However, my mantra is that it is never too late to change our life’s work if we find something more meaningful and satisfying to do, and any education in any discipline is never a waste because of the personal growth that it creates. You have years ahead of you to find that perfect fit of passion and practicality. Best of luck to you!

Article #: 470763

Category: Self-Improvement

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