The Pressures of a Life Without Deadlines

In college, I often defined my work ethic with the cliché “I work better under pressure.” Now that I’ve graduated, I’d like to modify that statement. I work better under deadlines.

I now live a life with no deadlines, and I’m finding that despite the pressure I’m facing from society, my parents, and most prominently myself, I’m stuck in a bit of a lull. I have no professor asking me to write down the due date for getting a job in my planner. I am now the only one writing the requirements for my future and let me tell you, the pressure of the task isn’t helping.

I can imagine myself pursuing a variety of careers and cultivating my passions in multiple ways, and that’s where I’ve been getting stuck. I spend all my time imagining and all it leads to is the stress of figuring out how I would get to that final ideal career. At the first word of rejection, I’m back to the drawing board. I dwell on missed opportunities for responses during interviews. I read and review my portfolio for the trillionth time. I second guess the route I’ve decided to take.

However, it’s not my confidence that has been shot, it’s my motivation. It is hard to come out of school after being able to openly pursue your passion for four continuous years and suddenly face a brick wall blocking you from further pursuing that same passion once you’ve received your diploma.

Many of my friends from home and from college have found their first careers, and while I know that it will probably not be the first and last careers they each have, it has been hard not to be jealous of the fact that they’ve found somewhere to start. But as my mother has wisely told me, we are only at the start of our lives. Perhaps my dream career now will shift and alter throughout the next 40 years. Maybe I’ll end up exactly where I want to be. I’m beginning to find comfort in the fact that life changes.

For those of you who have just graduated as well and are finding yourself in a similar lull, don’t lose your motivation. I’ve been trying to discern the difference between the pressure of the expectations I have for myself and the pressure of my confidence, and here’s what I’ve come up with: no matter how many times an employer turns you down, never stop pursuing your passion. Take any job that allows you to spend time doing or thinking about what you love; even if it’s not the job you always imagined having.

I am confident in my abilities and my passion, it’s the expectations I’ve set for the job that I want that are holding me back. There are multiple paths within each career and perhaps pursuing an unfamiliar path will lead to the dream job I never even imagined.

By no means am I saying we should settle for the first job that comes our way. I’m saying we should EXPLORE! Who says that we’re only allowed the four years of college to pursue and develop our professional interests? As long as we don’t lose sight of what we love, something good is bound to happen. If it takes a little time, just remember we are only at the beginnings of our lives.

Lulu Mohs is a connoisseur of good books and great cheeseburgers. She collects old copies of “This Side of Paradise” and her sidekick is a little green journal. She’s a Midwest girl at heart and firmly believes that the city of Chicago is second to none.

(Image via Shutterstock)