A lot of postgrad life (and, consequently, a lot of what I write) is about failing to live up to expectations. Our younger selves thought we were going to have accomplished a lot by this point. And as we got older, those expectations downgraded from “billionaire” to “have a salary.” Speaking for my friends and myself, even as recently as college, a lot of us thought we would have certain jobs within a couple years of graduating.
The Job You Thought You’d Have: Marketing Strategist
Sure, you didn’t think you’d be running the advertising division, but you figured with your grades and internship experience, you’d be able to land a job at a decent ad agency or in a large company’s marketing department. You would pitch campaigns and get to work with artists and directors. You could have even shared an elevator with Blake Griffin by now.
The Job You Have: Social Media Manager
You’re employed by a small to medium sized business for the purpose of posting cringe-worthy content on Facebook and Twitter, because they won’t even let you write copy. The main reason your job even exists is because the people in the office who are 40 or older (which is everyone) still can’t quite figure out this whole social media thing. You spend half your time regretting your life choices and the other half creating analytics reports that make your job appear more complex so you can make sure you don’t lose it.
The Job You Thought You’d Have: Associate Attorney
You didn’t bust your ass in law school to not be a lawyer, right? As recently as 2007, 91 percent of law school graduates were in salaried positions which required them to have passed the bar. Sure, you knew that the first five years or so were going to be a nightmare, especially if you went to a huge firm, but you were going to make six figures. There was also supposed to be a light at the end of the tunnel called “partner track.”
The Job You Have: Contract Lawyer
No, not a lawyer who specializes in contracts–a lawyer who works on a contract basis. Did you know this was even a thing back in your younger years? I’m so fucking glad I changed my mind about law school, because I can easily see myself having moved to New York, trying to get my foot in the door of a corporate firm by doing document review for them on an hourly or temp basis. You could probably get a job with a medium-level salary back in your hometown, but you’ve got $200,000 in student loans, so deferring your payment and praying one of these huge firms takes notice of you is basically your only option here.
The Job You Thought You’d Have: Investment Banker
You’re an associate at a major finance house in your middle to late twenties, so this is about the time you figured you’d get the bump to Portfolio Manager. You’ve proven yourself to your managers, and they actually let you take point on some small accounts already. Hell, they even asked you a direct question in the teleconference meeting with the London office last week.
The Job You Have: Financial Advisor
Nothing against the folks who work at local branches of Chuck Schwab or Edward Jones, but it’s not exactly the majors. If your goal is to help middle class people plan their middle class retirements and drive home every day to your middle class house in your middle class car, that’s awesome. You’ll probably have a wonderful marriage and raise three boys who are all pretty good at baseball in high school. But if your goal is to work in the trenches of Wall Street, getting a job at a financial planning firm whose office is located in a strip mall in the suburbs of Bakersfield is not exactly “chasing the dream.”