This was originally published at www.libertyproject.com
While most of my fellow college grads were still scrambling to find a job, I had beat out hundreds of applicants and landed what I thought was my dream internship. It felt good, like I had a plan and a direction for my life.
It lasted about six weeks before I handed in my letter of resignation.
I have always been an advocate of doing what you love, and six weeks into my internship at a well-known publication, I didn’t love what I was doing. I was tired of the one-hour commute, frustrated by the compensation, and bored by the tasks assigned each day. Maybe this was my fault for not fully understanding what the internship would entail, or maybe it wasn’t clearly communicated. Either way, I wasn’t happy.
I handed in my two-weeks notice rather abruptly and without giving much thought to what I would do afterwards. While I knew I wanted to focus on writing, I also knew that making a living solely off of writing was not feasible at this point in my life. I freelance for four to five different publications, but I don’t make enough to get by, especially when my student loan grace period is up. So when I quit my internship, I knew I would have to find some part-time work in another field to make ends meet.
Finding a job you love? It’s not that easy
After obtaining a four-year, $200,000 private education, the last thing I thought I would be doing is browsing barista and summer-camp jobs. Actually, I am mortified to admit that is what I am doing. But it’s the truth. Rather than getting a big-kid job, I’m looking for part-time work to balance with my freelance writing jobs. My heart is not perfectly at rest about my job situation. There have been moments of regret and pure panic about resigning from my internship. I now realize how easy it is to say, “I want to do something that makes me happy,” whereas in reality, it is difficult to find a job that will make me happy and allow me to make a living.
During the moments of regret and confusion, I continually remind myself that following my instincts was the right thing to do. I would rather realize that I was pursuing the wrong thing now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, than years down the road when the hit would be much harder to bounce back from. At my age, it is still acceptable to not know what direction my life is headed. In fact, it’s almost expected.
I have realized that when I initially accepted the internship, it was because I felt somewhat pressured to follow the path I thought was right — to take a position I thought would be a good career move. By doing so, though, I missed out on the critical time of self-discovery and self-reflection that follows college. If the path I have walked in life so far has taught me anything, it is that it is good for the soul to be a bit lost sometimes — because sometimes those instances lead to the most clarity.
What I’m doing this very minute
I am spending a Monday afternoon in Dunn Bros, searching for part-time jobs and looking at cars I can’t afford. And guess what? I am content doing just that for the time being. Even though I am worried about money, I know I made the right choice in following my passion rather than sticking to a job I hated waking up for each day. While parts of me worry about what I am going to do now, I have faith it will work itself out and I will land in the right place — hopefully sooner rather than later. In the end, life is just too damn short to ignore your instincts.