IRTS Fellow to Fellow: We're All Still Figuring It Out

By #Ask-GenZ Archives
Cover image for  article: IRTS Fellow to Fellow: We're All Still Figuring It Out

Layoffs. Never has that word flashed across my screen so much. The recession has put people on edge. The beauty of this industry is often the topic of discussion, but rarely are we introduced to the reality of the highs and lows this early in the game. Where before LinkedIn was overrun with promotions and new job announcements, we are now faced with posts of the recession or news of companies that just went through layoffs. These events have left question marks for many in my cohort. Are we entering an unstable field? What happened to the hiring pool being hot?

At the beginning of the summer, we were told we are in a lucky position because everyone is hiring and eagerly looking for new employees. Now we are wondering what these events mean for our futures. Though being laid off in large numbers is not a new concept, this is the first time it is in our faces.

You may find that uncertainty is a common ground between your cohort. It may not be because of layoffs or a recession but because there are two weeks left. Two weeks of the internship, scheduled presentations, panel discussions and informational interviews. This summer may have felt like a safety blanket -- and now it’s ending.

You may be overwhelmed at the thought of what's next. After the fellowship you may be entering another year of school or entering the professional world. If you are asking for advice on which route to take you may be met with opposing opinions. If you are at this stage and still don’t know what you want to do it’s okay. This program taught me that the people in a career that seem to have it all together are also still figuring things out.

In a way everyone is faking it till they make it and learning all they can along the way. It raises the question: Why is there so much emphasis placed on writing out a plan for our lives at an early age? We are asked what we want to be then asked where we want to go to school, and too often four-year institutions are spotlighted more than trade schools. We often hear "time is ticking you better decide" like we need to be 100% locked into a choice.

Unexpected events occur daily, and we get thrown from our paths. Sometimes we land on opportunities that we never considered and sometimes the opportunity is a time to reflect. Sometimes setbacks are set ups for greater possibilities. Recently I was told you don’t have to stay in one industry. This response came as I asked what advice they would give to people who are just entering the industry during the recession and the layoffs. One path doesn’t lead you to your goal. There are many ways to reach the destination you are looking for.

So, what is the silver lining to this series of events? Flexibility. We have been taught that being able to adapt is an essential quality in life. Now more than ever I see how true that is. Being able to pivot either to another company, role, or field in the industry will produce a wider range of opportunities for you. Along with flexibility comes perseverance. When you are thrown from your path or something unexpected happens you need to be able to get up and continue. If you get laid off, continue to apply for jobs no matter how discouraged you feel. It may be tiring but your perseverance will pay off.

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