With graduation hurtling at me like a bad cliche from outer space, the question everyone is asking is, “What are you going to do next?”
Until recently, the answer has always been “retire.” But I don’t make that joke anymore because it’s becoming less funny the closer May gets.
The simple answer is that I don’t know. There are some possibilities, but nothing is set in stone.
The problem is, I’m a communications major, which means I’m highly educated in being qualified to do virtually nothing.
I know this because I’ve already started: As a junior I completed my capstone research project last year—I investigated the effects of Froot Loops media on local kids’ breakfast cereal preferences—so I’ve actually had very little communications work to do this school year.
In fact, 60 percent of my homework last semester involved cutting abstract shapes out of $40 colored paper and gluing the pieces onto expensive white paper.
The other 40 percent involved drawing straight lines for several hours a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I highly value my education and in no way regret these last four years. But I’ve been scouring newspaper classifieds, employment websites and Craigslist, and it seems nobody is looking for a communications major who can create a colorful collage of Froot Loops statistics.
That is, not without at least three years of prior professional experience.
The added responsibility of supporting a wife and a large Beanie Baby collection makes the job hunt even direr and the thin prospects more daunting.
(You can thank my equally unhelpful minor in English for the use of the word direr.)
I want to be successful. I want to be able to produce effective and worthwhile work. And I want to provide a strong future for my wife and Beanie Babies, with the hopes of having plenty to share with others.
Taking all of this into consideration, I started brainstorming ways to make myself more marketable to employers. Then I realized my problem: I’m not dressing right. And if you’re looking to get ahead, you might want to take note.
I’m a blue jeans, T-shirt, occasional polo type of guy. It’s quite possible you’re of similar taste.
This is the average costume of all of us who do—or aspire to do—average jobs with average incomes.
Now let’s consider those who are explosively successful. What do Elton John, Lady Gaga, Donald Trump, Steven Tyler and Captain Crunch all have in common? They dress funny.
(To be fair, Trump has managed to do quite well by wearing only funny hair, and I’m not convinced Tyler is fully capable of dressing himself.)
Does this mean that we need to start wearing outfits made entirely out of meat? Of course not. A tasteful vegan ensemble would also work quite well. (My apologies: That joke is circa 2010.)
Feel free to take that into consideration as I continue my quest for employment.
For now I’m content to finish up school, answering the regular barrage of “What’s next?” questions.
And if necessary, I’ll revert back to my standard answer from the childhood “What do you want to be when you grow up?” enquiries.
That is, a fire truck.