In life, it is often that you’ll find yourself at a crossroad. Going one direction will lead to one set of results, and going another will lead to an entirely different outcome. Unfortunately, you can never clearly see both outcomes. You know that they will be different, but you have no idea how things will work out in the end.
Conundrums like this can come up when looking for an internship or a job at different companies. Before you make a choice, you can go in either direction. But ultimately, you have to make a decision, narrow your focus, pick a path, and run with it. We can’t offer any direct advice on the choice you should make in this article. But what we can do is give you a way of thinking that will make it easier for you to navigate this difficult juncture in your life. Here’s what to do:
Get Comfortable With Making Provisional Choices:
Let’s say that you have a choice between doing an internship at a big bank or a small startup. Which should you choose? Both are going to give you experience, but the kind of things you’ll learn will vary depending on the firm you pick. At the corporate enterprise, you’ll learn how large organizations work and the types of roles that people perform. And at small fledgling brands, you’ll find out about the raw realities of business and how challenging it can be for some entrepreneurs.
When you go into a decision like this, try to see it as provisional. By taking an internship at one place or another, you’re not locking yourself into anything. You don’t even have to remain with the company for the duration of the internship if a better offer comes along. It’s all in a state of flux. If things aren’t working out or you’re failing to make gains from the experience, then it is time to move on.
Choose A General Discipline:
Not sure what sector you should work in? Then study a generic discipline that applies across the business world. Perhaps the best example of a generic skill is marketing. It doesn’t take a long time to learn the basics. And once you’re up to speed with it, you can help practically any company with their content. Find a marketing MBA guide and learn what’s involved and what you have to do. The more you can learn before you begin your career, the more valuable you’ll become when you finally step up to the plate and take a full-time role.
Deal With Life’s Uncertainties:
Dealing with life’s uncertainties is one of the greatest challenges people face. We want to think that our existence will follow a well-defined path and that we will eventually “make it”. But when you look at the world around you, you rarely find that kind of thing happening in practice. That’s not how it works. Instead, people arrive at their destinations via circuitous routes.
We should, ideally, embrace the uncertainty in our lives. If we knew exactly how things were going to play out, there would be no future and no fun in being alive. Everything would be set in stone, never deviating from the course that we set ourselves. That might feel reassuring to begin with, but you’d eventually get bored. You’d want to play the game again: you’d miss it.
When choosing a company to work for, try taking this attitude. It would be dull if you knew how everything was going to work out in the end. Living in a world of chance and probability is much more interesting.
You can usually get a good sense of what it’s like to work for a company by shadowing somebody as they go about their work. Being an observer can reveal things you don’t get when you are doing an internship. Shadowing is usually easy, especially if you’re doing a related educational course. Most companies are keen on the idea because there is no expectation that they should provide you with a job at the end of it. It’s easy to float from one shadow role to another, gathering as much data as you can from the people who work in your organization.
Keep Your Options Open:
You don’t have to commit to any particular company. In fact, doing so is probably bad for your long-term career prospects. Instead, when choosing between various companies, try to keep your options open. The more choice you have, the less leverage any particular firm has over you.
Keeping your options open requires two things. First, it involves maintaining a network with people in positions of authority who understand that value that you offer. And second, it means having some sort of valuable skill that people find it hard to find elsewhere.
Keeping your options open is actually a lot easier than many people imagine. Often firms will keep your name on “file” if they believe that you have something valuable to offer them. Remember, you can use career choices and internships to build your skills and then include these on your CV to convince future employers that you’re the person they should hire for a role.
If you’re still not sure what company you should work for (or even what career path you should pursue), then start saving. It sounds like a strange thing to say, but savings are what provide you with options. You might not know what you want to do right now. But that doesn’t matter. Working in a regular job and saving money, gives you the option to take time off and retrain later on when you finally figure out what direction your life should take.
Remember, you don’t have to know which company you want to work for right from the jump. Use the tips above and make your decision wisely.
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