If you're anything like me, I had very little idea what path to take after I graduated from San Diego State University. In fact, I was so confused about my 'next steps' that I moved home and took on a series of unsatisfying jobs, ambling from one to the other while I watched friends begin to climb the corporate ladder like heat-seeking missiles.
So, what finally helped me figure it all out? It was that time-worn, trusted book, "What Color is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles (Ten Speed Press, 1982). One of the best pieces of advice I took from that book was to set up informational interviews with people who had careers that sounded interesting to me. It sounded a bit scary at first, but then I quickly discovered that people LOVED to tell me all about how they got started in their careers. Some even invited me out for breakfast or lunch to tell me their entire life story. They were ecstatic that someone was interested enough in them and their chosen career to ask about it.
Following the advice in this book set me on a course that now in retrospect I can see made all the difference in my life after college graduation. Had I never arranged for those interviews, I never would have figured out how to start looking for jobs in environmental planning in the public sector, and I probably would have never become a land use planner. It helped to focus me in the right direction in a way that no guidance counselor (who had their hands quite full) had ever done.
It all began to make sense, and I started following the path of breadcrumbs that others had laid out for me on how to find my first City Planning job. It wasn't too long after that I discovered that I really needed to start thinking about applying for a graduate degree. It took a while, but eventually I could see the path clearly, and I landed the job of my dreams. I worked as an environmental planner for many satisfying, and at times, challenging years, but the rest is history.
If you have any questions about what to do after graduation or you just want to reach out, please feel free to email me. I may be able to offer some suggestions. Also, you can easily pick up a copy of What Color is Your Parachute at your local library or on Libby or Amazon. It's sage advice that is still very pertinent today.
Happy Graduation! I sincerely wish you all the very best on your journey to discover your Next Steps!