I’m a little over a month away from graduation day at my university. As the date quickly approaches I’m faced with the age-old question: love or money?
No, this isn’t about my love life. Who has time for any of that, anyways? This is about my career.
This past week I turned down an offer to work for a newspaper simply because I did not want relocate to that area of Ohio. I would’ve had a decent salary, a job in my field, affordable housing prices, even health benefits! What more could a person want straight out of college? Well, the answer to that is happiness.
To me, this particular position felt like a dead end. I’m not the kind of person that settles for something – I’ve always been very ambitious and, honestly, I don’t like to settle for second best. This doesn’t mean there haven’t been consequences, of course. I’m not in a lot of debt but I do have some. I invested a lot of money in studying abroad and later working abroad because I knew I wanted that experience to help me stand out in the competitive job market (and I love travelling, of course).
I’ve done a lot my past four years in school to secure the kind of job I want. Why waste my time somewhere I won’t thrive?
I realise turning down a reasonable offer seems crazy. Even I’m still wondering if it was the right choice. At heart, though, I’m a city girl – and that location wasn’t going to cut it. There are too many stories out there about people who didn’t follow their dreams and ambitions, got stuck in a rut and never recovered.
I know in this economy having any job – especially one in your field – is a blessing. I would never look down on someone for choosing convenience over passion. Sometimes we have to take what we can get – especially if you have a family.
One of my best friends told me something wonderful when I was agonising over this decision. She asked me:
“Why did you even apply if you don’t want to work there?”
That was a good question. I responded that a job was a job and I might as well try. I had been led to believe that I may as well apply for everything relevant to what I want to do – just in case.
She sort of rolled her eyes at me and said, “You can get any job you want. Don’t not apply because you’re worried you won’t stand a chance.”
She was right (well, maybe not about the part where I can get any job I want – I’m not aiming for The New York Times just yet). But she was right about just applying everywhere I was interested , no matter what.
I’ve narrowed down the hunt to two major cities in Ohio – Cleveland and Columbus. Both have great opportunities in the media, and I’ve already decided I’m moving to one of those areas regardless of whether I get my dream job or not (it’s always easier to apply within the city you want to work, anyways). And that decision truly makes me happy.
I’m not encouraging anyone to quit their job or make any other unwise decisions. But I suppose my advice would be to do whatever feels right for you. At this point in my life, as a young and single soon-to-be college graduate, what feels right is going for what I want like I always have. I know what will change as I get older, but it feels good to have that freedom now.