Over this past month I have come to a realization about myself and my career. I’ve learned that I will most likely be working in the advertising/marketing industry for the rest of my life. When it comes to practical, applicable knowledge, I know more about marketing than I do about anything else (even economics, which I major in). I’ve gained this knowledge of marketing through my internship experiences. Essentially, I inadvertently chose my career path without even realizing it. Luckily, I love what I do, and am very passionate about marketing solutions.
Had I obtained an internship with an investment bank or web development shop, I would be on a much different path than I am on now. I was very, very lucky to find an internship in an industry that I love before even realizing that I loved it. Now, as I move forward with my career, I can connect the dots that I’ve created over the past 3 years. As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20”; it is very clear to me now that had I chosen an internship in a different industry I would be no where close to where I am now.
Strong and relevant internship experience is crucial to success in your job after graduation. It gives you real world experience that cannot be learned formally, and greatly reduces the learning curve of starting a new position. However, if you choose to work in a different industry than the one you interned in, you are basically starting over at step 1. You will have to learn the ins-and-outs of this new industry, and that could take years.
Obviously we all do not have the luxury of picking whatever internship we want. However, we all have the ability to begin thinking about what we want to do for the rest of our life. If you already have internship experience and did not exactly like what you did, it is time to move on. Even if the internship paid particularly well, in the grand scheme of things, a few grand will mean nothing. What will be meaningful is that you have a job you love and are excited to wake up to every single day.
Never settle- keep working to find something you love. You’ll know it when you find it… your heart and intuition has a way of alarming you. It won’t be easy, but then again nothing in life worth having is. This winter break I followed my heart, and it led me to amazing places. I chose to not intern or work anywhere this break and spend the whole time networking, working on my career, and building my personal brand. From getting free lobster courtesy of the owner of a night club, meeting numerous executive at companies I admire, re-connecting with old friends, working on personal projects (more on this in my next post), visiting plenty of offices, and drinking a lot of coffee, I have had an absolute blast this winter break. I was able to accomplish everything I sought out to achieve this break, not because I am gifted, but because I am passionate.
In conclusion, follow your heart. It will take you on an incredible ride.