Postgrad anxiety + your career

If you're like a lot of recent college grads, you're feeling some (maybe a lot) of anxiety about the future. You've left the comfort and familiarity of your college campus. Maybe you're feeling anxious about being able to find that perfect job. Maybe you've landed your first job, and you're feeling nervous and overwhelmed about performing well.

Career anxiety is real, and if left unprocessed, can start to impact other areas of your life. That's the thing about anxiety- it is very easily transferable. Anxiety in one area of your life can easily be transmitted to another area. If anxiety about your career and life after college is starting to impact the way you want to live your life, read on:

There's a lot of pressure to put that degree to work and get a great job in your field of choice. But hear this- the first job (or jobs) you have after college will not define the rest of your career. CNN suggests that millennials on average have 4 jobs before they turn 32. It's okay to take a job that isn't everything you'd been planning and hoping for. Maybe you'll take a job in an industry unrelated to your degree. Maybe you don't love the job, but you decide to take it because it pays well. That's totally okay! There's a cultural message right now that recent college grads should hold out for a job they love- which can be a hard message to absorb if your priorities are elsewhere. You know, if they include things like being able to pay rent. It might seem like everyone else is doing what they love. It's okay if they are, and it's okay if you aren't. 

It's helpful to have a general idea of what you'd like your career to look like long-term, but sometimes it can be less-than-helpful to think too far into the future. Does looking too far into the future seem to cause you anxiety? Focus on the present moment. Practice yoga, go for a run, get our your coloring book. It's okay to not have your life figured out. Having it all together isn't actually a thing.

Beware the dangers of job FOMO. Picture this: your college roommate posts on social media about her brand new high-paying job, working at some swanky firm downtown. What is your first reaction? Are you irritated? Happy? Proud? Frustrated? Jealous? All of the above? Notice your reaction to other people's success. Pay attention to those feelings, especially if they lead to negative self-talk. Ultimately, you are in charge of your reactions. If you're noticing feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, or envy, consider taking a few moments just for yourself. Take a step back and ask yourself where those feelings are coming from and how you would prefer to feel. Whatever your feelings are, that's okay. It's what you do with those feelings that counts.

Looking for career inspiration? Here are a few career resources for young professionals:

Career Contessa: I especially love this article on post-grad anxiety.

Levo: Check out this article on the stress of job-searching.

Gen Y Girl: Here's a blog post about the danger of comparing yourself to others.

Is anxiety sitting in the driver's seat of your career? It does NOT have to be this way. In counseling we can find ways to give anxiety a swift kick to side. If you're local to Minneapolis - St. Paul, schedule an appointment to get started today.