The one question that haunts most young adults who are just starting out in the workforce is:
How is that going to look on my resume?
I cringe at the sound of this question. Mainly, because at one point in my life, I was making major decisions around it. Here are the (ridiculous) thoughts that drove my action:
“I have to go to college. Without a college education on my resume, I’ll never get a good job.”
“I can’t take a year off. No one will hire me if there’s a gap in my resume.”
“I can’t quit my corporate job. I’ve only been here for 6 months. How will that look on my resume?”
I was obsessed with what I was doing and the choices I was making for the sake of how it was going to look on a piece of paper.
This was the start of my self-made prison. I ended up in one cubicle to the next, burying my dreams and desires and feeling completely unfulfilled.
I loathed the entire concept of writing my resume in college, so why was I letting it steer my life now? Because I convinced myself that the dreaded 9-5 grind was how it was supposed to be. I convinced myself that I had to this, that and the other in order to get to where I wanted to go (which, at that time, I had NO idea where I was headed)!
Let’s pretend for a second that I took a year off to travel so that I could learn a new language, get trained in scuba diving and try out the top ten best restaurants in Italy.
Then, my crazy self applies for a job.
The interviewer inquires about the missing year. Excitedly, I recount the adventures I undertook and the goals I accomplished. Do you really think the interviewer is going to deny me an opportunity for my “unproductive” year off? Get real! My guess is that he or she will lean over the table and ask me how I did it! My guess is that he or she has most likely buried some of their own desires for the 9-5 and is blown away by my courage, enthusiasm and determination to go after what I want.
I can think of a hundred reasons why I’d be an ideal candidate versus a stick-in-the-mud. And I would bet an interviewer could too.
Are you making choices from a place of fear? Are you making commitments based on the question, “How will that look on my resume?” Or are you making choices from a place of desire, excitement and curiosity?
If your applying for a job or sticking around at the wrong one just because you think it’ll look great on your resume, it’s time to reevaluate. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s a good indication to check in with yourself. It’s critical to understand WHY you’re making the choices that you’re making.
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