-a note by Val Haller, founder Valslist.com
You graduated. Now what?
Some paths are already paved for you. If you're a grade school, middle school, or junior high grad, you know what's next. You're young, it's decided for you. You will be moving (hopefully) up a grade. It might be a scary unknown if you're moving to the next school, or maybe a new school - in a new town. But all in all, it will be more of the same; class from 8am - 3pm, proceeded by after school activities, then dinner, then homework, then bed. Wake up, repeat. Routine interrupted by weekend play. Pretty predictable, yes? K-8 Grad :: Valslist salutes you.
Some paths are mostly paved, with an opportunity for a detour if you need it. High school grad, this means you. Heading to college is probably the hoped-for path according to parents and society. But you may not agree. So there's that detour, a bit to the left, down a less paved path. A deviation. An unmarked road. Enter at your own risk. It can be in many forms - and good ones at that - a job, mission work, volunteering, entrepreneurial endeavor, travel, finding yourself, maybe a bigger obligation. 9-12 Grad :: Valslist salutes you.
Some paths are paved with gold. They're bright and they shine, with well-marked signs and easy to read maps. Smooth pavement without any potholes. You may not know you're on one. Or you may very well know you're on one because you worked harder than everyone else (or someone else who worked hard secured it for you - but that's your secret). On this lucky path everything just feels right. The right doors open, the right eyes see your resume, the right names know yours, the right background highlights you well... You have the right grades, the right major, the right strategy, the right mentor, the right personality, the right looks... Alright, you get the picture. We're happy for you. If you're lucky enough to get this type of opportunity, or nod, or entrance to the club - please be humble - and do something good with it - and change our world for the better. We're counting on you. College grad with a new job :: Valslist salutes you.
Some paths have a hidden drop off. You may not know you're on one til the very end. Til the road abruptly stops. College grad without a job offer, this might be you.You might be in shock for awhile, in denial, it wasn't supposed to happen to you. You worked so hard. You followed the rules. You are a good person. Where is your opportunity? Where is the job offer? What do you mean there aren't any? It's not fair, it wasn't the plan. You weren't warned. You aren't prepared for this unexpected road block on your journey. You second guess yourself, your major, your guides, their advice... You ask, "now what?" College grad without a job yet :: Valslist salutes you.
Just hold on...
Some paths want you to pave them yourself - and they lead to something better. You just don't know it yet. These paths are easy to miss, they aren't the norm, no instruction manual - and you wouldn't notice, even if there were. You're still angry that the system didn't work for you. You're skeptical, confused, frustrated. The waiting game feels bad when you're in it. It killed your ego. It's real time. It doesn't have a future (yet.) And it's really hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and try again when you got burned once already. The daily news is against you too - with real economic statistics that prove just.how.hard.it.is.to.find.a.job.right.now. You worked hard and dreamed of the future and the real world bit you.
So when you're ready, bite back. If you need to, wallow for a bit longer. It's therapeutic. Punch the wall, kick the bushes, yell into your pillow. Hate the world. Don't hold it in. Talk to someone - make them listen. You'll start figuring things out a bit - on your own. Your whining will start to bore you. I mean, how many ways can you say it? You'll start to secretly want out of your rut. So let your frustration take on a new energy - in the form of doing something. Baby steps. Take a walk to feel good. Do some volunteer work to get busy. Help someone else to care again. Send out another resume to stay in the loop. Take care of yourself - eat good food and meet up with friends to stay in touch. Follow up on a lead to stay connected. Crack a joke to escape. Pray. Think. And most of all, think outside the box. Outside the box thinkers :: Valslist salutes you.
One of the benefits of being bored or stuck or obstructed or detoured is: free time, down time, alone time. Know what happens then? You're alone with your thoughts. A one-on-one with the real you. You might have an idea, a thought, a memory, a hobby, a passion, an interest... and now you have time to dabble in that thing again. What if that thing could be turned into work of some kind? An internship. Just temporarily - while you continue to job search. What if someone out there - a start up maybe - needed your help with that thing? No, not a high salaried career - but rather - an important gap plan that makes you happy - and busy - and motivated - until that "other" thing comes along.
The music industry is a prime example. Valslist is a prime example. We need your help. I have 5 interns working for me. They love music, I love their help. It's a great match. I was lucky enough to have a full time intern for the month of May - a program at our local high school New Trier, called "Senior Project". Instead of going to class the student goes to work for a month. Lyndsey worked for me. We were the luckiest pair, for Lyndsey wants to work in the music industry, and I desperately need help with the business. Lyndsey learned more (about the real world) in 4 weeks than she'll probably ever learn in college. She worked side by side with me on every facet of the business from data input onto the site, pitch letters, communicating with artists, marketing to a niche market, reading press releases, social networking, and more. She will take this hands-on experience with her - and will be smarter in the next phase of her work/study life. INTERNS (probably working for no pay) :: Valslist salutes you.
And in the end, sometimes a sweet irony exists. Those who did not get the stock job,
the ones who were forced to examine what really motivated them, whose dabbling let them follow their passion because there was nothing else to do, end up the happiest and most successful people on earth. For you, that other thing became the thing. Grads who are forced to pave their own way :: Valslist salutes you. You are bravest of all.
Graduation. Commencement. New Beginning. Now Go.
It don't come easy,
You know it don't come easy.
Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don't come easy.
You don't have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.
Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won't last,
It will soon be over tomorrow.
I don't ask for much, I only want your trust,
And you know it don't come easy.
Open up your heart, let's come together,
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better.
Peace, remember peace is how we make it,
Here within your reach
If you're big enough to take it.
LISTEN - this week's playlist: DEAR GRAD :: We Salute You
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