Dear 100 Hour Board alumni,
How has your career path (or life if you’re feeling frisky) evolved since graduating compared to how you anticipated post graduation?
Dear I choose you,
I graduated in business and wanted to (and still want to!) pursue a career in corporate events or employee engagement. Right now I just started my second year working for a tech company, which is not at all how I thought I would start my career. I've been grateful for it, though. I was talking to an old roommate a few weeks ago and she mentioned how she wants to see me in a job that allows me to use more of my creativity and imagination. While I agree, and while those are definitely some of my stronger skills, I realized that this unexpected job has given me an opportunity to build some skills that are also very valuable like critical thinking, leadership, and assertiveness. So while this isn't exactly my dream job, I think it's been really good for me.
-the Goose Girl
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety that started in July of 2016, and man, that has significantly impacted my post-graduation plans.
I had to quit working because my job was making me incredibly stressed (for a lot of different reasons), then I got pregnant unexpectedly, and I've been mostly just taking care of Lil' M. because I don't have the energy to do much else. We moved out of Utah much sooner than I ever expected as well, mostly because of health issues I've been having.
I have lots of things that I want to be doing, but my health just isn't making that easy for me right now.
I graduated from undergrad in 2014 and planned on doing grad school. I'm almost done with grad school now, so I guess that's gone as planned. That's pretty lame, huh?
I'm still working the same job I started fresh out of college 2.5 years ago, but by the time I had worked there a year I already knew I wanted something different. The only thing keeping me there is that I don't want to look for a new job that I would also hate, because the only thing that will be truly fulfilling for me at this point is starting my own bakery. All I want to do is make bread all day and never have to deal with another salesperson again.
College-me would have considered my marketing job the ultimate disappointment. But I actually find SEO research really fascinating, as it turns out. So that's neat. I don't want to do it forever, but it's not nearly as much of a soulless job as I thought it would be.
Also college-me constantly felt like "wow, I can't believe I'm an adult—I'm 20 but I still feel like a teenager and have no idea what I'm doing." Whereas in the past year, I feel like I have aged a decade and am finally as tired and jaded as I expected I would be.
I decided that before pursuing a PhD I should work for a year or two and then see if it was something I still wanted to do.
Between the application period closing and my graduation, the world plunged into a pandemic and unemployment rose to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
In 2009, I graduated from BYU with a degree in Asian Studies/Japanese and then moved to Japan to teach English for two years. My original plan was to stay home with my kids for a few years (which I did accomplish) and then return to school for one year to get my state teacher certificate (I did not do this). I would then convince a high school in my general area to start up a Japanese language/East Asian history program.
Nope. Instead, I am now an artisan cheesemaker. I've worked with cow and goat milk, but my speciality is sheep milk cheeses and blended milk cheeses. I never would've thought I'd be doing anything like this, or that I would love it so much. I didn't aspire to or seek out this job, it was literally handed to me and I've learned from lots of reading, trial and error, classes, copious note-taking and mentoring under a few master cheesemakers.
I'm greatly looking forward to improving my cheesemaking skills and I'm hoping to start entering my cheeses into competitions in the next year or two. Wish me luck!
P.S. As requested, here are some bonus pictures:
A few of my cheeses. Both of the larger wheels are the same exact cheese. The darker one in the back was made several weeks ago and has started developing its natural rind. The lighter one in the front is only a few days old and hasn't started developing its rind yet. The two smaller white wheels on the right are bloomy rind cheeses, kind of like brie, and their rind is developed by encouraging a specific white (and very edible and delicious) mold to grow on them. I have two vats I work out of, one of them holds 30 gallons and I use it for yogurt, ice cream and fresh-style cheeses and the larger vat holds 120 gallons and I mostly use it for larger, hard cheeses that I age.
First picture is some of our sheep with their lambs out in the pastures. Second picture is a bunch of our lambs- we had over 100 born on the farm this year. Lambing season for us ended about 3-4 weeks ago. Since the milking is done seasonally, I get to help out on the farm a lot off-season, including assisting in the births and helping care for all of the babies. I love animals so this is a huge bonus for me.
And finally (sideways? oh well), my daughter hanging out with a few of the baby goats born this year. My kids love coming to the farm and letting the goats climb all over them.
It's really tough at times, I'm very busy during milking season (right now!) and I've made plenty of mistakes, ruined entire batches of milk even, but it's the best job. I love it. I can see myself doing this for a long while.
I decided to study computer engineering/computer science because I knew there were a lot of well-paying jobs. And 5 months before I graduated, I got a well-paying job. So... I did it? Except a good portion of the time, I don't like my job. The actual work is okay, but not very interesting or exciting to me. More importantly, it's stressful much more than I'd like. I'd easily cut up to 15% or more of my pay in order to never work more than 40 hours. But I really like the location (now that we've lived here 4 years and bought a house). So, still a work in progress.
I graduated from BYU thinking I might enjoy working as an editor, but my first few editing jobs were mind-numbingly boring. So I set my sights on librarianship. I worked in the Salt Lake City library for a year and a half. I LOVED it; however, I had to work two jobs to pay the bills, and had to pay for my own health insurance. Plus working directly with the public in an urban library setting while being under treated for depression and anxiety really took a toll on my health. I took a step back and got an office job as an HR admin, which is what I'm doing now. I don't... hate it... but as I've gotten better treatment for my mental illnesses and some perspective, I've realized that I belong in a library. So I'm going to start applying to grad schools so I can get back into the career that I love and want to dedicate my life to.
This is an interesting question, because by the semester previous to graduation I knew full well that I would not be pursuing any profession in my chosen major (and yet I have never regretted my major) and my projected career was as much of a mystery to me as my future eternal companion!
I ended up using my student job to get a full time job at Family Search (and then discovered Yellow would be my true love, awwwww) which lasted 2 years until I had babies. I guess I kind of knew that I would be a stay-at-home mom, though in retrospect that was 100% because I am heavily influenced by external expectation, real or perceived, and I definitely perceived being a SAHM as an external expectation. I really don't know why, though, as my own mother worked full time. Turns out, I am very heavily influenced by perceived societal pressure. I don't regret being a SAHM at all, but several years ago I fell into a completely unanticipated deep depression that lasted several months. Yellow told me I needed to get out and do something for that was just for me (this was a revolutionary idea to me) whether that be a job, a class, volunteering, a hobby, whatever. (Spoiler: it worked!) So I called up a former co-worker, asked if she could get me anything suuuuuuper part time, and completely surprisingly, they created a job, just for me. I have worked off and on for them for about 4 years. I'm about to end my current contract and will be off until at least January. So in a way, I'm almost exactly where I was after graduation, while at the same time being a completely different person.
~ Dragon Lady
I am now an embittered educator instead of an enthusiastic, happy educator and am seeking to be employed overseas within the next few years. Other than that, nothing has changed.
I graduated in Family Life Studies and thought I'd go on to get a masters in Social Work, but realized that wouldn't work with my full-time job I wanted to keep. I knew I didn't want to keep working in HR, which is what I've been doing for roughly forever. In the end, I got married, had to move and change jobs, and the job opening in my new location is that of an administrative assistant -- which definitely isn't where I saw my career path going, but I'm really liking it. My coworkers are amazing, I'm grateful to have a job, and I was able to cut my hours a little so I could be home more. I definitely plan to go back to school eventually, though I think for Communication Disorders instead since I have an interest in speech therapy. I guess we'll see what happens since things rarely turn out as we expect.
-Marguerite St. Just
When I graduated I was heading straight to medical school, and I'm now a doctor, so that part played out as expected. As far as my specialty, I'm a rheumatologist now, and I think all I knew about rheumatology in college was "It's not lupus!" from House. It's funny that now lupus is a pretty significant part of my day!
Dear not as good as Charmander, be honest,
I also did the doctor thing, now I'm entering the last year of residency and have the respect of all my colleagues for working in a difficult environment where I have to know lots of stuff about every specialty at any given time. Hahaha, just kidding, I work in the emergency department. But seriously, at least I don't have to consult those dang rheumatologists, because we all know they are just the worst.
- Commander Keen
Dear 2016 throwback:
(Simpler times, simpler times.)
I finally graduated when I was 25, which was seven years ago. (!) And you know I'm always feeling frisky.
I had been scarred by the Recession, and really just wanted a job, so I took a job as a tech writer. My vocation in life, however, was to be a creative writer. Last year, an Uber driver asked me what I had trained to become, and I was delighted to answer, well, a novelist. I still maintain that viewing a university education as being primarily about job training is putting the cart before the horse, perhaps especially in economic downturns.
I was really attached to the outcome. If I didn't get into this or that fellowship, I felt like a failure. I never fixated on moving to NYC or anything ... it was really about getting published. I applied to graduate school more times than anyone else I know, and got in more than not. I only have one semester of b school under my belt, but that experience did change my outlook.
By that point, I was 30, and I think I started to become more self-actualized, which sounds like a fake thing from a 1990s corporate seminar, but I use here in a concrete, psychological definition: that I started to realize what gave my life meaning.
This clickbait-y title (one of my professional skills and I think I learned far more about punching up copy on the Board than any of the classes I took, so there that is) aside, Viktor Frankl lays out here what I was grasping at but didn't have the language for, perhaps. When I graduated, I was more or less an atheist but had been reactivated if you please because it seemed like a good idea at the time when my mom was dying and because this musical theater kid who was super into me also hard-core fellowshipped me and to be honest, that felt great, and so I sort of ended up active again. This pleases no one but I don't care.
When I graduated and moved out of state, I still was going to the YSA ward, but it was a time of extreme ideological turmoil within the community and rapid social change outside it. It was the year of Lean In and Ordain Women and Uchtdorf's talk about coming back to the fold.
I was making a lot of friends who were somewhere in the gray zone between belief and disbelief. I had a boyfriend back in Zion, but for the first time in my life, really, I was on my own. I started going to different functions with a guy in my ward who was also a BYU graduate, and he would come in jeans to our Relief Society meetings. It was a liberal college town, this seemed like maybe it could work for me. I even had a calling for the first time in like, 7 years? I tried teaching a class on the Perpetual Emigration/Education Fund and my classroom management skills were trash so I gave up on that. I rode my bike to our little building and went to the Priesthood Session, and some random older dude tried to prevent me, but I went anyway.
I don't think I've ever talked on this forum about what that time in my life was actually like. My brother was on a mission overseas, and he was also an atheist and having a huge mental breakdown, and this caused me a lot of stress. I felt guilty for encouraging him to go when it seemed like it was a massive mistake. I was intensely homesick; I made friends easily and explored the town and read constantly, but the weather felt wrong and the job felt wrong and I missed my boyfriend as flawed as we were and I missed BYU as flawed as it was.
But there were some talks in that year's General Conference that really were the last straw for me. I was a feminist, unmarried career woman and I finally accepted that I didn't believe in God or Joseph Smith's claims. I walked out of the chapel and in a sort of daze told the bartender at a posh new hotel all about it. I said I would never go back.
Except for an early homecoming talk (that was the craziest talk I've ever heard, shout-out to my bro) and a funeral, I never did.
But I was dead-set on being a creative writer. There's a great MFA program in that town, so that was one path I considered. For the next four-ish years I was pretty obsessive about getting published. I joined writing groups, and I got serious about my craft. I viewed my jobs as just that, jobs, and often would feel relieved when I flamed out and quit or was let go (like, a surprising number of times!). I missed tutoring and my relatively carefree pre-graduation life. I was kind of the picture of the mid-twenties Sundance protagonist hipster who can't seem to get it together.
When I was 29, I had an epiphany that I should aim higher, and at the Getty Villa in Malibu (remember ... PLACES?) I decided that if I weren't stuck in life I'd study economics.
So I applied to the MBA program and got in, and you might think that would make my life path more straightforward, but uh, no.
All my jobs ended up combining my creativity and my business side. They've been a lot more stressful! I didn't even have the bandwidth for serious dating for three years, at a time when people like me tend to find their life partners, so that was stressful, too. I was basically burned out and stressed all the time. But I made a lot more money when I was working (and the lifestyle creep that came along with it). The hipster was growing up!
But like the protagonist of a 2000s workplace rom-com, I had an underlying thrum of deep dissatisfaction. My boss asked me maybe six months ago when I was last happy, and I was like, oh, that's easy, my last semester at BYU.
That was a depressing revelation. I knew I didn't want to go back to Church; my opinion hadn't changed since I stumbled into that hotel bar, and my relationships with my family and others had normalized. Even my professors from BYU who were all super-liberal, yay humanities, seemed accepting of my life choice.
But what was it that made me happier, and could I get it back?
One thing that I feel like will, again, please no one, was that I had quit drinking for both budget and Provo Gestapo reasons. At the time, it wasn't a huge sacrifice, but seven years later, it seemed like much more of a Thing. I talked it out with my therapist, and the pandemic has coincided with my teetotal lifestyle. I still drink stupid amounts of coffee, but overall, I feel much healthier, I sleep better, and I don't ramble on about my pathetic mess of family life and compare myself to Jazz Age authors as often, which makes me feel boring but that is probably just part of maturity if you don't get stuck in one narrative about yourself over and over and over.
I also was writing, A LOT, because I was in two writing courses. So I joined writing groups and decided that screenwriting really seems like the genre that my verve and attention span seem suited best too.
I also kind of hate tech and love academia, so as of today, I am faculty at the state school (part-part-part-time) and am doing consulting for an ed-tech thang that could blow up or take off, I literally have no idea.
And I had a steady boyfriend. I still feel like I have no desire to have kids, didn't then, don't now, but my mom's best friend left Catholicism, met a nice scientist dude at Cal Poly, and married him and put him through another degree. They don't have kids and they got married at about my age in a gorgeous ceremony in California.
I've been dating someone, and we haven't DTRed much less talked about our feelings on kids or marriage, but he also left the Church but lives a pretty square, responsible, vanilla lifestyle, and honestly?
I've rarely been happier.
I have no idea what's next. Best case, I sell a movie and/or book and never have to have a real job again. Worst case, I get some copywriting job with bennies in Draper. Either way, I'll be fine, and I'm sure I will have more adventures, but I realized that it was okay to move on, in more ways than one.
---Portia, old, boring, but writing more
I'm about where I expected to be career-wise (i.e., in the middle of a PhD program), but intellectually I've changed a lot. If you'd told 2015 me that 2020 me would have a strong anticapitalist streak and developing Marxist sympathies, I'd have told you to get lost. Generations of my conservative ancestors who were very good at keeping their heads down and maintaining the status quo are currently rolling in their graves.
Well when I graduated BYU with a degree in journalism, I didn't think that 7 years later I'd be in marketing at a sex toy company, but alas :)