This is a Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Cindy at Twenty-Something Condition. YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.
When I was a kid, I think I was under the impression that there were only three possible career paths: Doctor, Lawyer, and Teacher. I chose Teacher. Since that moment, I’ve been one of those people with a plan. You know, the usual: graduate high school, go to college, get a degree in my subject area, and pursue a Master’s in Teaching. But one thing I’ve learned in my twenties so far is that even those annoying people who have their whole life planned out sometimes get thrown for a loop.
I was sticking to plan fairly well until I decided to uproot everything after college, get married (to a wonderful guy, I might add) and move with him to Saudi Arabia so he could take a job there. All of a sudden my graduate school applications were useless, and my plan seemed somewhat derailed. How would I become a teacher now, when I had no teaching credentials and no experience? I resigned myself to being patient and enjoying the adventures that would come with living abroad. My career could wait.
Well, fast-forward a year and I have just finished my first year of teaching, in the international school where I was lucky enough to get hired despite my lack of experience. This school hired me because they were desperate, but in the process they made my dream come true and offered me the learning experience of a lifetime. Essentially, the life change that I thought would hold me back from starting my career actually jump-started it. I had to endure some challenges of course, including lack of technology, a long morning commute, and ridiculously low pay. But these days I think that’s what twenty-somethings need to be willing to do in order to really shake things up and get their careers moving.
When I decided to become a teacher many, many years ago, I made a plan. But life got in the way of that plan a bit, requiring me to take a step of faith and work at a less-than-ideal school for practically nothing. In your field, that might look like taking an unpaid internship, moving to a new city, or taking that job you know you won’t like forever, but that will be a step towards getting you where you want to be.
Things don’t always go according to plan, so change the plan. Be willing to make sacrifices. But just make sure you keep moving forward. The results might surprise you!
Cindy is a twenty-something English teacher currently living in Saudi Arabia, where she enjoys drinking coffee, questioning the theocratic government, and coping with whatever crazy adventures life throws at her. She keeps in touch with her three best friends, the Naughty Princesses, via their blog The Twenty-Something Condition.