Career counseling · Old blog

Career counseling #5: the illusion

I read this morning an article on the web about a private college professor with a Master`s degree from an Ivy League university. The professor, let`s say he`s Greg`s brother Hugh, finished his studies magna cum laude and was considered by his colleagues “most likely to succeed“.

Hugh got married to his college sweetheart, had a beautiful baby boy and was as happy as anyone can be.

And then things started going downhill. His wife died in a car accident, leaving him with a baby that was, soon after, diagnosed with a chronic illness. Because of the time spent in the hospital with his baby, he lost his tenure track professor job and was obliged to get a teaching job at a skills and trade college, with only a few courses to teach per year. The job was bringing him around 24,000 euros/year. The house which he bought together with his wife was taken back by the bank and he was left only with 3,000 euros in debt and 200 euros in his bank account.


This is not an extreme case. This is something we see more and more these days when we speak about graduates (except for the wife and baby, of course).

Graduates often think, during their studies, that “it`s going to be a lot better when we graduate”. They think they’ll immediately find a great job with a great pay, equal with the worth of their diploma. But reality is not always as good as fiction. That catch phrase, for most, is soon replaced by “it wasn`t supposed to be this way”. As more people attend higher education (and forget about those practical jobs that everyone needs -> plumber, electrician etc.), the illusion that we create in our minds will break even faster.

During your studies, the illusion of a perfect future encompasses you…and you forget that you should focus not on what your diploma and title can bring you, but on what you will bring to the world after you graduate. Personally, I don’t care anymore about my diplomas, but about what I’ve learned and whom I`ve met during those periods of time.