Things You Wish You Knew Post-Grad

Every few weeks an e-mail will pop up saying, “I’m about to graduate! Do you have any post-grad advice for me? What did you wish you would have known?

Oh, boy!

There are so many things I WISH I would have known and there are many characteristics I am incredibly grateful my parents instilled. I’ve never written a blog post on this per se, because, “Who am I to give advice?” I know many of you have worked circles around me in terms of a corporate field. I worked for a PR firm and non-profit before that, then I worked for myself. I still work in an agency manner for my job, but honestly- would my thoughts even be helpful?! My work situation is so different, could anyone relate?

But, I do recognize that I have a really unique viewpoint since I get to interact with SO many young professional women each and every day through my job via e-mail. There are many similarities I see in these young women and many things that remind me of myself. So after the umpteenth e-mail, I decided to just go for it- but I asked for a little help from my friends. 😉

I asked for quotes from a few female entrepreneurs that I am close with and I truly admire their work ethic. I have seen each of these women in their work setting with customers, brands, and consumers. I know their careers are respected and I know they treat individuals with kindness. So here is what they have to say!

“Go above and beyond and take initiative. I was a teacher for 6 years before I started my blog full time and I remember during my student teaching I did anything and everything to show my teacher and the school staff that I was a team player and dedicated to my students. That meant volunteering at after-school events, staying late to help the teacher with lesson plans or cutting out laminate, etc. I always offered to help and took initiative when I saw a need. At the end of my semester, they offered me a job and gave me a glowing recommendation letter!” –Ashley Robertson. The Teacher Diva. {She also won teacher of the year!}

“Go the extra mile in every internship, job, and opportunity that comes your way. When you are beginning your career, be open to whatever is asked of you and be the employee that your boss can’t forget because of your positive attitude and go-getter spirit. Being a good employee not only sets you apart from others in your field but it also gets you in the mindset of being a hard worker for life. No one just stumbles into their dream job and sometimes your dream job looks a little different than you originally envisioned it to be. I pictured myself as Carrie Bradshaw living in New York City spitting out columns about life and love. In reality, I started my career in Lubbock and now live in Dallas writing about almost anything while getting to be at home with my son. It’s so different than how I wrote up my life plans in college, however, I think it’s definitely better!”  -Diana Oates. Multi-Platform Journalist.

“Passion should always come first. The money will come when someone sees your work and sees how committed you are in creating quality content. When you try too hard to please someone else vs yourself, you will never be satisfied with your work.” -Angie Garcia. Brand & Content Photographer.

“Follow your heart and don’t be scared to fail. You’re young enough to fail and you probably won’t! Nothing is a real failure anyway, it’s always about learning and finding ways to be better. Get your hands dirty, pay your dues and always be kind. Get to know people and build relationships. Support and love each other because there is enough room in this world for us all to be successful!”  -Bekah Pollock. Hale House Owner.

My Advice?

Be confident in the fact that most everything is a season. I so wish I would have had that ingrained into my mind when I first graduated. I think it would have allowed me to be far less sensitive and clear-headed. You know when you start that job at the office you think is your dream career? But maybe you find yourself doing tedious work for hours on end. It’s a season. You can’t start your training and have it all mastered. Or even when you hold that little baby and cluster feed all night and wonder, “Will I sleep again?It’s a season. When you recognize things are a season, I think you can buckle down and get through it far more gracefully.

We generally hear, “Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! Wish I was your age!” from our highly-respected elders. We almost forget seasons can be hard, as well. I have seasons with my job where for four weeks it can seem so non-stop that I think, “Should I stop?” I kid you not, I had that moment last night- which I’ll talk more on later on another post. But the past few days have been a little more difficult scheduling things on the work end. It felt like I had worked 16 hours on a schedule in order to go on vacation with my family and one brand changed one date here and one event changed there and it was a domino effect. I couldn’t get a babysitter for XYZ work related. I stared at a schedule thinking, “Yep, I’m just not good at this. Maybe my time is up.” It felt more dramatic in the moment. 😉 But it’s always a season. Coffee runs as an intern, balancing work and little children, having to change contracts because your child is sick, being reprimanded at work for something you had no control over, unnecessarily harsh feedback from a client, a customer taking their bad day out on you, etc.

And it’s not to say your season isn’t worthy of changing or that it isn’t difficult. The shortest seasons of change are often the most difficult, but in turn, they yield the most fruit. Maybe that fruit is a career change or maybe that fruit is just patience in character- but you wouldn’t have gotten it without the circumstance. I look back to jobs I had where I thought I’d be doing this and instead I was assisting on a different project. And while that could be frustrating, my goodness, I learned SO much. Without a harsh winter, we don’t appreciate spring.

As I sit here typing this post with a toddler asleep on my leg, I recognize that I may not be one that you think to take post-grad advice from. Some women would love to do my job and others may thrive in a corporate setting. But my intent in this post is you see from female entrepreneurs all over that there are a few themes in navigating this post-grad life. Sure, we didn’t talk keeping receipts and learning how to do your taxes and batting your eyes when you want a new necklace but really should put money away in savings.

But I know you know that. What I hope you take away from these incredible women I quoted is that the key to many jobs is: teamwork, humility, adaptability, kindness, passion, drive, and patience. 

And if you want to hear a few modern etiquette tips for the post-grad lady, check out this blog post by Do Say Give.

Not to pull the cheesy toddler-mom vocabulary, but think to the movie The Help.

Remember that you are smart, you are kind, and you are important. Take that truth and treat everyone you encounter with the mindset and you WILL succeed.

Go get ’em girl.

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11 Comments

  1. So inspiring! Sometimes I wish I could go back and in time and change some of the things I did when I first graduated. But hey, it’s never too late to make positive changes, right? 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 01 May 19Reply
  2. Heather Bise wrote:

    Hi Katey,

    I love your blog and I can relate on many levels to your experiences and the madness that can surround life with littles! I wanted to share a bracelet I recently purchased while vacationing in Savannah. I thought you might love the idea behind it. The website is: https://littlewordsproject.com/ and it has inspirational messaging that is tracked so that when you think you have gotten your use from the word(s), you pass it on to someone you know that could use a pick me up. Thank you for your inspiration, your fashion advice, and your beauty, inside and out. I hope your day goes well!

    Published 01 May 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Heather, I absolutely ADORE this concept!! Thank you so so much! xx, Katey

      Published 28 May 19Reply
  3. Sam wrote:

    Love this so much! Also keeping that “Do Say Give” article saved for future reference!

    Published 01 May 19Reply
  4. Bekah wrote:

    This gave me all the feels. Beautiful, Katey! Love all of you boss babes!

    Published 01 May 19Reply
  5. This is EXACTLY what I needed today of all days! I have been excited and ok up to this point about leaving, but I graduate college Friday and it all hit me this morning. As I sat down to study for my last college final (eight years in my eyes lol), I opened this and it was a breath of fresh air in my sadness of leaving college, my friends, and this lifestyle behind. THANK YOU for sharing this wonderful advice <3

    Published 01 May 19Reply
    • Allyson Lacoste wrote:

      *with tears

      Published 01 May 19Reply
  6. Lex wrote:

    I wasn’t sad about graduating until I read this, and now I’m bawling my eyes out! So sad to end this fun chapter, but your advice makes me excited for the future! xx

    Published 01 May 19Reply
  7. Sarah wrote:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! I really needed this today. I love how you mentioned that everything is a season. We might be going through something that seems unbearable, but morning will come.

    Published 02 May 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Absolutely, girl! Thank you so much for reading! xx, Katey

      Published 02 May 19Reply