I recently published a post on LinkedIn about entering the marketing world--and all the things I've learned since then. The more I think about where my life is right now (from my professional career to motherhood), I find myself in awe of how far I've come and how different my life is from what I planned.
When I graduated from college in 2011, I never expected to go into marketing. I wanted to be a writer and that was my focus. But, looking back, I had no idea, really, what I wanted to write; I just wanted some general job where I was a writer. Obviously, that's not a great strategy when it comes to the job market and it's probably what contributed to my difficulty getting a job post-grad. I couldn't define my skill set if I couldn't define my ideal job--so I flailed, applied to anything and everything and waited and waited and waited.
As a result, I worked a lot of crappy jobs. A lot. They were far from glamorous and ultimately served as lessons for me on how I wanted my future career to go--so I guess it isn't all bad!
On LinkedIn, my friend Sarah mentioned that she wished she'd taken a marketing class in college--at least one! That got me thinking, if I could go back in time and tell my past self anything to help my transition to my current life easier, what would I say? Here's what I came up with.
1. "Take more diverse classes."
"But future self," my past self would say, rolling my eyes (undoubtedly), "I already takes LOTS of diverse classes! Sociology, history, journalism, art! You name it!"
I would roll my eyes in return and say, "Not course catalog, liberal arts-subject diversity--I mean, actually diverse."
I took a ton of diverse classes my senior year, it's true. But they were diverse in the sense that they got my enough credits outside of the English department. I wish, as my friend Sarah said, that I'd taken a marketing class and potentially a business class as well. I feel like having a more well-rounded, realistic idea of working and business management, as well as marketing, would have made a huge difference for me as a new graduate.
2. "Relax & have more fun."
Anxiety is a way of life for me; it's just how I happen to live! That's not necessarily the greatest thing in the world, but hey, it is what it is! Looking back, especially to high school me and college me, I wish I'd just had more fun. My anxiety makes me incredibly driven and self-motivated (because I don't want to fail), but it also meant that I sometimes didn't enjoy life the way I should. I spent more time being high strung and anxious than I actually spent living my life in some ways. I wouldn't necessarily change the trajectory of my life (for example, I'm glad Danny loves and accepts the high strung, anxious me), but I wish I'd let myself relax a little bit more.
Just a little bit though. I'm still super proud of my magna cum laude distinction on my degree!
3. "Travel more."
I don't say this very often (because I hate traveling), but: I wish I'd traveled more when I was younger. Who knows? Maybe I'd enjoy it more now. I wish I'd seen more of the world before I buckled down for college and for work. I wish I'd seen the places I wanted to (London, Germany, Disney World) before facing the prospect of taking a child!
As the old cliche goes, hindsight is 20/20. I wish I could tell my past self lots of things (like "Don't take that job, even though it seems like a great idea" or "don't let Danny drive to work today--he'll total the car"). Fortunately, I can't--and I really think that's for the best. If I didn't make all the mistakes I've made, or perhaps the decisions that I've made, who knows where I would be now?