By Danielle Ryan, Trinity College
On Dec. 7, 2011, I will graduate from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in business and German. I finished my final exams on May 26. On June 17, I turned down an interview with Google.
Hold up. You what?
Yes, I turned down an interview with Google. No, I’m not crazy, I promise. I really did consider accepting an interview. Actually, I considered it for quite a few days after I was contacted through LinkedIn by a Google recruiter. See, LinkedIn is useful for something after all!
Then I started to really think about it. Not that I can afford to be picky with interviews and job offers, but something just wasn’t sitting right with me about this Google opportunity. I had never considered applying for jobs at any of those big multinational corporations, let alone imagined myself working at one of them (and you studied business, why?). I just couldn’t see myself working for a company like Google. And not only could I not imagine it, but when I tried to, I could really only see myself hating it.
And therein lies the dilemma. The age old question. Do you follow the money, or do you follow your gut? Or, if we’re going to get really cheesy, your heart. I mean, okay, it’s not like Google was actually offering me a job, but what if they had? What if I had gone through the whole interview process and actually landed an entry level job with Google? Assuming of course, that they failed to detect the apathy in my voice along the way. Would I have wasted a year or two of my life gaining experience in a field I had never once intended to enter? Would I have gotten sucked in by the steady flow of income and the ability to say “Oh, why yes, I was employed by Google and I get all of my food for free!” and forget about the plans I had before?
I won’t lie, I considered it. Then I read an article online that stopped just short of telling kids to study math or one of the sciences when they got to college because that’s where the money is, apparently.
How completely ridiculous is that? What kind of workforce is that attitude going to produce? Maybe that is where the money is, but ask yourself, do you want to wake up every morning for the rest of your life, barely able to drag yourself out of bed for a few extra euro/dollars/pounds (I’m Irish. Emigration, here I come!), or do you want to get out of bed, for a little less cash, to do something that you love?
I struggled through my undergraduate degree because the truth is, I wasn’t 100 percent sure of what I wanted back when I started out in college. I’m glad I did it. It’s not something that I regret, and I don’t think anyone would call a business and language degree useless, but my heart wasn’t in it. Luckily, my Masters degree will give me a second chance.
If you’re facing a similar money and stability vs. passion dilemma, choose passion. Choose something that you’d get out of bed to do for free. Choose something that makes your face light up when you talk about it. Choose something that makes your heart race, not your parents’. Choose the life you want. And choose it now.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have the luxury of choice. And it is a luxury. Probably the greatest luxury you’ll ever have. Don’t waste it. Yeah, maybe it’s not an easy choice, maybe you’ll have to work a little harder and work a little longer. Maybe you’ll have to change direction completely. So do it.
I don’t know for sure that this “follow your dreams” method of decision making works. I’m 23, how could I? What I do know though, is that any other method has to be worse.
You don’t want to arrive at a point in your life when “it’s never too late to *whatever*…” is a sentence that comes out of your mouth. It’s true, but do you really want to have to say it? Do it now. Sure, you can go back and get the right degree when you’re 50, but why not get the right one now?
In September, I will begin a Master’s program in International Journalism. I mean really, could I be taking a riskier route, given the recent journalistic climate? Probably not – and maybe the warnings of the pessimists’ will prove true and I’ll never get a job in the field – but then again, maybe I will.
So thanks, Google, I know you’re pretty great, and I hate to give up the possibility of all of that free food, but you’ll have to find someone else, because trust me, you don’t want me.