There’s a phrase that con men use in reference to a job that will pay a lot of money for a long period of time. They often refer to this job as a “long con” or a “long game.” This is a useful tactic in fiction (as seen in the TV show Leverage), since it allows for continual drama and distrust between characters. However, there are also aspects of the way a long game is planned that can be useful in our real lives, especially as college students move from life in college to life in the corporate world.
First, I’ll lay out the aspects of a long game:
Over the last few years the age at which people are expected to have their life planned out has slowly become younger and younger. Middle schoolers are expected to be thinking about college. All of high school is supposed to be aimed toward preparing you for your field of study. By eighteen you should have picked a major, and if you haven't taken AP or CCP classes in order to spend less time in college, you're behind the crowd. Average has stopped being a passing grade but now is 90-100. If you're not perfect, you're a failure. This is the message children and teens are receiving today. Pair that with the rising financial costs of doing it the "old way" where you decide your major in college and study for the full four years, and you have young adults emerging into the "real world" with thousands of dollars in debt and incredible anxiety that places their worth in the world on their ability to perform.
This is not how children should be raised. As a college student one year away from graduation, I already find thoughts of career searching plaguing my nights. I have the benefit of knowing what I want to do. I've known for the last few years that I want to do something in publishing. But what happens when those dreams shift? They don't go away, but maybe there's always been a desire to do something else, as well? Such as open a bookstore or a coffee shop? The problem with this is that I've done all of my training toward some other end.
But then I remind myself I'm only twenty. If I live to be an average age of 80, I have another 60 years of life. There's not a very strong likelihood that I'll stick to one job my entire life. So I've decided to play the long game.
During my times of job searching for something related to my major, I will need another job. I can learn the skills I'd need to follow these other passions while I wait for the career opportunity to surface. In short, to all the college students out there looking at graduation and feeling stress about not having your life figured out, it's okay. You have time. We all have time. There is life after college, and we're all likely to be more prepared for it than we think we are. Things will work out.
As a recap:
My target: A job in my career field, or other jobs that prepare me for other dreams.
My plan: Work in my other areas of interest.
My team: All those people around me who will support me as I struggle through this stuff of “real life” after college.
Patience: This is self explanatory, mostly. I just have to remember that I have time. I’m young. Having fun in life is not only a benefit, but in many ways a goal.
To quote Peter Pan, "to live will be an awfully big adventure." Go enjoy your adventure.