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How I got my first full-time job at 20

“Don't think that your time is coming, think that your time has come”.

It's true what they say… “some of the best things happen when you least expect it”. You’re probably thinking “great, another 20-something preaching about life” and you’re probably inclined not to believe me but that’s because you don't know me so let's change that. I am Snigdha, I am 21, I am obsessed with music and novels and I constantly think about pizza and puppies. Now that we’re friends, believe me when I say it's hard for us 20-somethings out there. The pressure is soul-crushing, the competition is insane and it can be brutal when you’re still trying to figure out where you fit into all this. Trust me, been there, done that. But what’s important is, you can always come out the other side. That’s the best thing about being young, the world really is our oyster. Everything I’m going to tell you here, you’ve probably all heard it before so let this be a reminder of sorts. This is my story and if it helps even a single person, my work here is done.

Let's start with how I found what I liked and wanted to pursue. Every adult will always tell you 'find your passion and then give your 100%'. It's not bad advice, in fact, it's the perfect advice but what we often don't take into account is that it's not a walk in the park to ‘find-what-you-like’. It's hard to take that leap of faith into a career path you’ve never experienced in-depth before. When you’re lucky enough to be presented with a plethora of options of what you could do with your life, it's not as easy as it sounds to just pick one. So, I’ll tell you what I did to pick my field. I’ve followed this method for as long as I can remember. People made fun of me for it but it has worked wonders for me so I’d like to share it with you. If you’re anything like me, with multiple interests and a spirit to prove that you’re good at every single one of them, it can be anxiety-inducing to pick one road and let the others just be your hobbies. This is how I pick, I make a list of all my options, instead of singling out the one I should do, I single out the one I do not wish to pursue. I take out all the 'bad eggs', the ones that make me queasy, from my basket, and once I’ve narrowed down my search, I make a pros-and-cons list for the remaining options. I know it seems kiddish to make big life decisions using a pros-and-cons list but trust me when I tell you that once you put the things that’ll make you happy on paper, a lot of your decisions become clearer. And remember, your mental peace and happiness should always be a ‘pro’ on your list. If your decision feels like it is suffocating, you’re probably not meant to end up here and there are better plans for you.

You’ll come across a lot of people that’ll tell you to 'trust the process'. But how can you keep a positive outlook when only rejections are coming your way? We’re only human and it doesn't feel good to be rejected. It doesn't feel great to “settle” for an internship where you’re exploited (this includes unpaid internships, exploitative work briefs, unfair and inhuman goals, and standards) because if you don't say yes, someone else will. All of these thoughts and feelings are justified because the level of competition out there is insane. But one thing you do need to realise is that it’s all part of a plan and it's happening for a good reason. Before I was offered this amazing opportunity at Marketing Hues, I was rejected by 2 companies, had 4 other offers on the table but all of them felt like they weren't a good fit for me. Some were unpaid, some were paid but with brutal working hours and expectations, and it was a terrifying decision that I had to make. But it all happened for a reason and it brought me a step closer to where I currently am, where I am happy because I am treated like an asset and I’m valued as a team member. This is where I tell you to trust your intuition. What’s good knowing your worth if you’re not willing to speak up for it. If you think a certain position will be exploitative for you, do not settle for it. Think of me as a friend telling another friend that having boundaries is not a bad thing. You're an asset, believe in that and show that confidence because at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

My next advice would be to never think that your plans are set in stone. Learn through experimentation because it's one of the best ways to actually figure out where you and your skills shine. Taking up an opportunity that you didn't envision yourself taking is not a waste of time. In fact, if an internship experience makes you realise that this particular field is not for you, it's time well spent because now you can focus on finding what you do like without that nagging feeling of regret. Sometimes you have to go through the wrong keys to find the right one and it is okay. You’re not running out of time.

A tip that worked wonders for me when I was trying to find my first internship (little did I know it would bring me a step closer to my first full-time job) is to apply on multiple platforms. LinkedIn and Internshala are major platforms that help you find internships/jobs but this isn't where the search ends. If you’ve always wanted to work with a company but they don’t have openings right now, send them an email, if there is a small business or a start-up you think would be a cool place to work and learn, DM or email them (in a professional capacity, of course). We always talk about how we shouldn’t be afraid to 'shoot our shot'. Well, it's great advice here as well. Take that chance, send that email, build your network. Don’t wait for one platform to present an opportunity to you. Instead, create multiple opportunities for yourself. Always have backup options ready, dream big, go for the riskier positions but always have a plan-B to fall back on.

Marketing Hues has been a dream come true. It has provided me with a million opportunities to learn and grow so quickly that sometimes it doesn't feel real and I often ask myself “Why me? Why was I selected from a big pool of candidates while others weren't?”. We all have these moments of self-doubt but one thing that keeps me grounded is that there is always a reason why you are where you are. A 'thing' that sets you apart. In my case, it was the power of being proactive. What landed me my first job wasn’t that I’m pursuing a ‘fancy’ degree or that I had heaps of past experience. It wasn’t like that, in fact, it was my zeal to learn, grow and take charge that eventually worked in my favour. It was the power of follow-up.

It's no secret that the world turned upside down last year or that everybody suffered in their own way. For me, being in a different city, away from my family for over a year, scared beyond measure for everyone, and anxious with the additional pressure of college and house chores wasn't a pretty time. In fact, '2020 was brutal' is an understatement. Everyone struggled in 2020 but that doesn’t mean your struggle is any more or less than someone else’s. It took me a whole year to come to terms with this fact and prioritise my mental health. This year I realised, investing in yourself is truly the best investment. Because when I was feeling better about myself, I was able to see more opportunities that came my way, I was able to visualise and attract what I wanted. And that's not to say I am perfect now, we all have our own battles to fight and we keep fighting every day but what I have been learning this year is to compartmentalise and not let the bad overshadow the good. There is one thing that my mother often tells me. It fills me with energy to hustle, make the best of my opportunities and give my all. She says, “Don't think that your time is coming, think that your time has come”. So let this be a warm hug and a pat on your back to go out in the world (not literally, please be safe!) and make things happen for yourself.

Spoiler Alert- Your time has come, go shine!

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