I am 27 years old, smack in the middle of what people call the “Millennial Generation”. One of the characteristics of the Millennials is that we desire to make an impact, and make it quick. Because of this, some of us see graduation as a deadline for learning and a start line for a career. Some of us make career choices like we choose a restaurant to eat based on yelp: $$ signs and peer reviews. We are also pressured to take a job as soon as we can to pay for ever-increasing debts. We believe ‘full-time job is always better than a part-time one’, and that ‘non-paid internship is a thing of the past’. But, I want to give you something else to think about. Don’t take a job right away. Consider taking a part-time job or doing an internship. Here’s why you should at least consider this option:

1. Internship

If you have been working in the corporate world or in any professional field, you would agree with me that there are many skills that schools don’t teach us to be successful. Some of these include soft skills like “dealing with conflicts,” “taking a feedback,” and “appreciating people over work”. I learned the importance of asking these questions during an internship. It was a non-paid internship, and it was for about 15 months. It wasn’t easy to make my ends meet during this time, but the skills I acquired and attitudes I developed during the internship are far more valuable than any monetary compensation.

2. Exploration

One of the advantages of doing an internships or taking a part-time job is that it allows for more flexible time. I took on this opportunity and went on a 2-week Road Trip from Southern California to Texas. What was crazy about this trip was that I slept in my car during those 2 weeks. I did this because I knew I would gain new insights from being uncomfortable (stretched). And I instinctively knew that I wouldn’t be able to do something like this in the future.

There are things that you can do only while you are young. Learning from traveling is one of them.

RELEVANT: How God Changed My Life by Denting It (Just a Little)

3.  Accomplishment

If you are a millennial, there is another word that you like: significance. We like to do significant things. So, instead of writing a list of companies you would like to work for, write a list of things you would like to achieve before entering work. Your list can include things like: “running a half/full-marathon,” “reading X number of books,” “volunteering at an organization.” Allow yourself some time to take part in activities and experiences that will give you new insights. New and wild experiences like these will give you invaluable tools that you can bring to the table when you reach a formal employment.

I am not trying to pull you out of getting your dream job. But I do want to tell you “it’s okay” if you haven’t succeeded in finding a job right after school. You don’t have to hit the panic button just because you don’t have a company or a recruiter you are talking to. Use it for your advantage. Use this time to learn the invaluable lessons from life, experiences, and exploration that will take you further faster in the long run.

Kevin is an Online Pastor at Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA). He enjoys reading and writing and loves outdoor activities such as basketball, golf, and traveling. As a millennial, he loves learning about the generation and building it up with other millennials. He currently resides in Fullerton, CA.

  • Dan Cornell

    Speaking from someone who did so the “right” thing — graduated college in 4 years, got a masters, got job in my field, worked for 9 years in it — this advice is spot on. The one thing I didn’t do in the 16 years immersed in chemistry is explore. And not the ‘backpack across europe’ kind. I mean the whole is this what I really want? I never gave any thought to what I wanted to do in my life. I was good at chemistry so I went in. I shopped for a happy life. Happy people make money, so I went to the grocery store of life and put it in my cart. Happy people get married, so I put that in my cart too. Happy people buy a house, so in the cart it went. But I an’t shop for happiness. So I stopped and examined my life. What do I really want? And why am I so afraid to get it.

    I think the best thing anyone can do, millennial or no, is to live their lives as though the choices that they make matter, that they do in fact make a difference, instead of finding ways to make a difference.

    • Kevin JaeHwan Lee

      Thanks for the great feedback Dan, and thanks for sharing your story.
      It gives me confidence as I keep exploring and learning.