When dining at a restaurant, what happens when your expectations don't meet reality? Presuming you were expecting to enjoy your meal, if your expectation is not fulfilled with what you experienced, you will likely not dine at that restaurant again. In contrast, what happens when expectation DOES meet reality? You enjoy your food, and will probably continue eating at that restaurant in the future.
What happens when employees' expectations of their careers don't meet reality? They leave.
For college students, possessing a realistic expectation of their career at a company is extremely difficult because they have never worked in the corporate world before. Sure, many college students have had internships and part time jobs before, but it is not the same as being in a full-time career.
There are many things that college students can do to gain a more realistic expectation of the factors affecting their careers. This blog will cover one of the most important factors affecting the expectations of their careers: MONEY.
When it comes to choosing a career from a list of job offers, many people resort to a mindset of "choose the job that pays the most!" This is not a bad instinct by any means. But is that job paying its employees enough to fulfill their expectations of the type of lifestyles they envisioned for themselves after college? If not, even the highest paying career is not enough to satisfy these employees' expectations.
What can college students do to have a more realistic expectation of their lifestyle and how much money they should make after college?
1. Evaluate Your Current Lifestyle
They can begin by looking at their current lifestyle. If college students have accustomed themselves to a spend-heavy lifestyle in college (or vice versa and not spend much at all), they will likely live a similar lifestyle when they enter their careers. This is because students have grown accustomed to their lifestyles. Even if their parents, student loans, or scholarships covered the tab on many of the expenses that they are going to have to pay for now, students (and all people for that matter) have a difficult time changing their habits. To prove this point, checkout the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Broke which details the amount of former professional athletes that could not change their lifestyles after retiring and are now bankrupt.
2. Project Your Increased Cost of Living
Fortunately for college students, there is an awesome cost of living calculator on Nerdwallet which details the cost of living change from one city to another. By using this website college students are able to calculate their annual living, food, entertainment, and transportation expenses currently. They then can get a really good idea of how much they will spend annually on their lifestyles after college by comparing it to the costs associated with other cities where they wish to live. College students then have to factor in taxes and the amount of money they want to save annually in order to derive the minimum starting salary they need to achieve to live the current lifestyle they are living.
3. Identify the Companies that Achieve Your Minimum Necessary Starting Salary
What if the minimum starting salary a student needs to have exceeds the amount of money they have been offered in their job offers?
There are 2 options at this juncture. Either the student needs to find job offers for more money, or he needs to realign his expectations of his lifestyle to meet a more realistic expectation.
By knowing what their minimum necessary starting salary should be, students can then concentrate on all other factors of the career when considering job offers. For example, if you discover that your minimum necessary starting salary is $50,000 (for a specific city) and you have offers for $52,000, $54,000, and $60,000, you can evaluate and compare every other facet of the career (nice employees, opportunities for growth, good location, a culture that seems to fit your personality, etc.) to choose the offer that fits you best among these other factors because you can know that your expected lifestyle will be fulfilled.
By performing this task while in college, students can save themselves a lot of heartache, stress, and time.
When expectation meets reality, satisfaction occurs.
Garrett Mintz is the founder of Ambition In Motion. Essentially, Garrett is a career coach for college students and young professionals. But what Garrett does goes beyond helping people get jobs. He helps young professionals understand what they want in their careers, learn pertinent information about what fulfills them, get their "foot in the door" via informational interviews, and evaluate which career fits them best. Ultimately, Garrett's goal is to help young professionals build a realistic and thorough perspective of their potential occupations BEFORE accepting a job as opposed to after. Garrett believes that it is paramount to successful employment that young professionals gain clarity of what they want and don't want in their careers. When young professionals' perceptions of their careers meet reality, higher engagement, productivity, retention, and job satisfaction follows.