Throughout college and surviving the business school, Maddie was kind of like my little rock. The girl never ceases to amaze me and she’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. Here at Yow Yow! we’ve always supported her in her musical endeavors and will continue to do so of course. Her follow-up piece is something that I know will resonate with many of you and definitely falls in line with the post-grad 20-something talk we’ve been going off of lately. To give yourself a refresher, see her original guest post here.
The Sweet Spot
Hello Yow Yow! readers! The last time I took some time to sit down, and you know, casually reflect on my ever -looming future, I wrote about questioning my path to pursue a career in business (whatever that really means) and to instead jump head-first into a life as a singer/musician. Well, it’s been over a year since I wrote down all of those thoughts, and I KNOW you all have been on pins and needles wondering how I feel now (does sarcasm come across in blogs? I’m still so new to this…).
Since graduating from Seattle University in June 2012, I’ve been working at a search-engine marketing agency in Queen Anne. Before you ask, no, I don’t work for Google. I’ve been working at this company since the summer before my senior year, and over my two years there, I’ve gone from a part-time intern all the way to a recent promotion to Client Manager. I’m proud of these milestones, but I’m sure you’re starting to realize it isn’t quite that career in music I was always daydreaming about.
I feel lucky to say I really enjoy my job. I work with amazing and hilarious coworkers who I’ve grown closer to during my time at the company. The kind of close where you finally start to open up about your complete obsession with Beyoncé. Since starting full-time, I feel like I’ve learned more about myself, my strengths, and what I need out of a career than I expected to.
This is what I’ve observed: no one is really 100% happy at their current position. Whether you’re fresh out of college or have been in the industry for 40+ years, your job is never perfect every single day. No one knows exactly what they want to do for forever, and if they say they do they’re likely lying to you, or they are a professional dessert taster and their life is pure bliss. In my opinion, there are two things that people need to keep as core principles in their job search or career path:
1) What are you good at and/or want to get better at?
2) What are you passionate about? What do you truly love?
The first principle covers many skill sets and jobs across various industries. Speaking from my point of view, I know that I am a strong communicator and organizer, and I really enjoy improving team efficiency. I also know I want to get better at analyzing problems through data, as well as improve on my project management skills. Oh don’t worry, I know how business-y I sound. But those things I just described could be applied through any position – management, marketing, non-profit, music business, a lemonade stand. Working on those skills and using them in my daily job is what makes me happy. If a job doesn’t provide that, I know I won’t be satisfied.
The second principle is the one that really eats at people, the one that is so difficult to actualize. For myself, I know I’m passionate about working and collaborating with people, and I’m passionate about musical performance. Right now, my job covers the former. For recent graduates, we want this principle to be met immediately (us selfish Millennials!). I mean, we spent 4 years studying, test-taking, reflecting heavily on what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be. And we have to settle for a job that doesn’t match the one we’ve imagined having for all that time? It seems unfair and feels unnerving. We find ourselves questioning if this is all there is for the rest of our lives. But we have to shake off that cloud above us. We have to test out different roles in companies to figure out the best fit, to find what gets us fired up every day. That first job, that first turn towards a certain direction – it’s not the end all, be all.
So this is what I would say to anyone wondering whether to chase the (often scarier) dream job. Or to the person who isn’t sure which job is right for them — Does your current job fulfill the two principles? If not, then leave it as soon as you (financially and reasonably) can. Keep searching. Focus on how you can improve on those skills you care about in the job you’re at and then, when you can, take that bigger and better you to the next job. Never settle for bad managers, perceived company reputations, what your parents think is best, what you think you’re “supposed” to do. Keep those two ideals in your back pocket and don’t give up.
Now, this sounds fine and dandy in theory, but practice is always more challenging. I’m not going to finish this post pretending that I have all the answers. I’m still trying to dip my toes in various work pools to figure out how I can get to a position I love nearly every second of. As for my music, though it’s not my day job, it’s my after-hours ambition. I’m currently recording weekly covers on my PureVolume to strengthen my young and baby-deer-learning-how-to-walk music writing abilities to hopefully get back into song-writing again. Then I can spend my out of office time doing what I’m truly passionate about – performing.
Therefore, keep a look at for this daydreamer. Like everyone else, I’m still looking to get those two principles covered – I’m still looking for my sweet spot.
*Please check out Maddie’s music on Purevolume here.