To the class of 2013

I just read a great article by Dave Kerpen of Likeable Local called Class of 2013: Master These 15 Simple Skills. It inspired me to write a little note to my fellow graduates. I was lucky to be able to graduate a few months ahead. I had some time to adjust; I got a job at a time when new grads weren’t flooding the market, while still keeping in touch with my friends on campus nearby. I had a nice little limbo and learned a few things…

The job market is looking better than it has in years. We have been told since we were freshmen that it would be nearly impossible to get a job right out of college. People had us pegged as a generation that was going to have to live in our parents’ basements for a few years–but I have seen so many of my friends get jobs even before they graduated that I find that hard to believe. Dozens of wineries have asked me if I knew any graduating seniors that I could recommend. That signals to me that not only is the Oregon wine industry expanding, but there are jobs for new graduates! Yay!

Keep in touch with your friends. In college, it is easy to go next door and see if your friend is home. It’s easy to run across someone on campus and make plans from there. You see your friends in and around classes, and that is how you get your social time. It’s different once you graduate; you don’t have that constant connection with all the friends you’ve made throughout college, and you will need to deliberately nurture those relationships to keep them strong. It’s worth it. No matter how many new and exciting things are happening in your life (new job or lack thereof, graduate school, post-grad traveling, etc.) you need people by your side.

On that note, treasure your family. Remember that they have been there for the long-run and will be there in the turbulent years to come. You will no doubt face a steep learning curve right out of college, but your family and friends will be there to hear you rant and rave. And keep in mind, just because great things seem to be happening to the rest of our fellow new-grads, the Internet can be deceptive. Being a new-grad is a struggle, no matter how easy someones online presence makes it look.

Your first job might be a little overwhelming at first. If you like what you do, stick to it and it will be worth it. If you don’t, now is a good time to look for what you want to do; you’re young, free and you are primed to explore the world and everything it has to offer. Be excited about where we’re going! It could be anywhere!! You will do a job you love infinitely better than a job you’re just doing for money. Do what you love, work hard, find your passion, money will follow.

“I predict that 78% of all commencement speeches this year will have advice about “pursuing your passion and doing stuff you love.” But they don’t tell you why. Well here’s the secret—if you’re going to spend your career in a company, doing stuff you enjoy will help you keep showing up.” – Steve Blank, Playing it safe will get you nowhere

You will never stop making mistakes, never stop learning. Be a good writer, be humble. Get enough sleep. Take risks. Stop and listen. Accept change and adapt. Embrace competition, build your network, and once again, take risks.

P.S. Thank you to LinkedIn for all these little love notes 🙂

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