I am one of those people whose life is dictated by a well-organized calendar, complete with color codes and a series of notifications – if only I was the one maintaining the calendar. I was the last class to graduate from the College of Criminal Justice August 2010. Shortly thereafter, I commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer, got engaged, and went off on a 4 year life changing adventure in the Marine Corps. My intention was to depart the military, utilizing my co-op connections and proud service and apply for a position in a federal agency. But my calendar notifications said otherwise. With a child on the way, I was done moving around, working weekends, being away all week, or far away for 8 months at a time. I decided to depart the Marine Corps, move back home (North Shore area) and began a soul searching endeavor for a job – no, a profession, in which I could obtain the same emotional gratification that comes with service to one’s country. As a lifelong people-person, I discovered I have a passion for sales, and have found a profession I love at a leading cybersecurity company. I also have decided to stay in the USMC Reserve to balance out the moral scale. If you have graduation in your sights, keep this in mind:
Have a plan and tenaciously pursue it – then change the plan when necessary. You can’t fake passion. You can get by having a work ethic, trying really hard, showing up early, staying late because it’s the right thing to do, but if you aren’t passionate about what you find yourself doing, move on. It’s like a bad relationship. If you’re at the suitor stage, and you’re not going to marry this person, why waste each other’s time?
Short-term, mid-term, and long term goals are no joke, write them down – a recent manager of mine would refer to these as dreams and not goals. Dream and keep dreaming because success stories are built upon people’s crazy ideas.
Be mindful of how you appear on social media and the interwebs – the old adage don’t put it online if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the Boston Globe holds true.
Spend money and live life like your grandparents (if they were thrifty) – if you pack a lunch and make your own coffee in the morning and then go out on the weekend and blow a hundred bucks on 8 dollar beers, well that just doesn’t make sense – stop doing that.
I will close with a valuable lesson that has continually been reinforced for me recently. You know better what’s for you than anyone else. The idea of needing an adult’s opinion; well that’s you now. No one really knows the magic formula and if they say they do, they are just pretending to know all the answers. Just google it and come up with your own way. If you don’t like what you are doing in life, just change it.
And remember, if you don’t like the job you’ll get soon, you can always go back to Northeastern for a Masters!
Charles Leach currently works at Bit9 + Carbon Black in Waltham, MA and lives with his family in the North Shore. He is open to and would welcome any networking conversation or casual chat. Feel free to reach out to him via Linkedin or firstname.lastname@example.org.