The lesson here is that it's okay to be bold and brave and turn your goals in an entirely new direction, but you can't simply hang out your shingle and announce that you're available and want to be hired. That kind of strategy especially doesn't cut it in a contracting job market. You have to be willing to adapt, learn, grow—and you have to demonstrate that willingness at every turn. Be bold, but be flexible. Be brave, but not in a reckless or cavalier way. And reimagine your career goals if you must, or even if you wish, but do so proactively, not reactively. Acknowledge that it might be a risk to hire you, if you have no relevant experience, but suggest how your background can be retrofitted in such a way as to accommodate a change of scenery. And promise that you'll work harder than anybody else if given the chance.
I find it so refreshing when I meet potential new hires and hear them talk about where and how they see themselves fitting in at the Trump organization. It might not be how I see them fitting in, but I like that they've taken the time to recognize a path and that they've seen something about our organization that inspires them.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about pursuing my professional opportunities was just to relax. Chill. Don't go rushing after your career, because you might look up one day and realize you've been going through the motions on a misplaced passion. Your postcollege years should be an exploratory time in your professional life. From your early twenties and on into your early thirties, you should feel free to explore your professional prospects. Keep an open mind, and don't expect to get everything right straight out of the gate. Be prepared to start over once or twice. Learn to find excitement in the new opportunities that present themselves instead of bemoaning the things that didn't quite work out for you on your previous course.
Ask yourself if you're in the right job and in the right field. And don't just ask once and set off on a blindly focused journey. Revisit the question even if things are going great. When you're starting out, the right job is the one that's going to teach you the most over the next few years, the one that will expose you to the best, most creative visionaries in your field. If it happens to pay well and offer great opportunities for advancement, so much the better.
But you might find yourself considering a low-paying gig with a glass ceiling if it meets some of your other requirements for personal growth and development. For most young professionals, the focus should be on positioning. You want your first job to set up your next one.
Keep in mind, there are no black-and-white answers here. A lot of these issues and concerns will present themselves in shades of gray. It'll be obvious to you when a job or career path isn't working out, just as it will be obvious when you find yourself in exactly the right place. It's that great gray middle zone that will give you the most trouble, in terms of both identifying your dilemma and figuring a way out of it. You don't want to be punching the clock on a career you don't love, at least not while you're young enough to do something about it. The idea is to put yourself into a position to learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and to be nimble enough to regroup.
There's an oft-quoted line that's seeped into the culture over the past few generations: "Focus on the journey, not the destination." It comes from an author named Greg Anderson, the founder of the American Wellness Project, and I hear versions of this sentiment all the time. I even found it in a fortune cookie—but I'm afraid there are some pieces missing in this message for aspiring young entrepreneurs. In business, I believe that if you focus only on the journey, you'll miss the whole point of the enterprise. There has to be a goal, an end game of some kind; otherwise you're just spinning your wheels. Yes, the journey is important, but the destination is important, too. For my money, it's where you're going and how you plan to get there that count. And if you're able to fit yourself in along the way, you'll have things covered on both ends.