By Sidney O’Rielly
With 95 per cent of Ryerson grads finding employment within two years of graduation, it seems there’s no reason to fret. But for many students, the idea of landing a job is just as stress inducing as not. This is what’s known as a career identity crisis.
“The truth is, I don’t really like to think about trying to find a job,” recent grad Geoffrey Hirst says. “Because that means school’s over and that freaks me out. I like school, I’m good at school and who knows what will happen after school.”
Beyond the responsibilities of “real life,” the traditional nine-to-five work schedule ups the fear factor for Ryerson students.
Sonny Wong, a counsellor at Ryerson’s Centre for Career Development, said he’s seen a surge in career anxiety in the last five years. “Some students find the idea of a job monotonous. When they label it nine-to-five, it’s an articulation of that.”
According to Forbes Online, 72 per cent of millennials want to be their own boss and have the ability to set their own hours. With millennials representing nearly half of the workforce by the year 2020, employers are struggling to retain millennial employees.
According to Wong, students often forget that career paths are made up of many different jobs – exacerbating nine-to-five stress.
“Industries move and change,” Wong says. “That’s part of a healthy career identity. The anxiety comes in when people put barriers in front of themselves. They step back and come up with all these reasons why they shouldn’t pursue their goals or dreams.”
Madeline Haneyas, a fine arts student, says as long as she can follow her passion, she doesn’t mind a nine-to-five lifestyle. “Working at the same job for 35 years everyday is terrifying, or sitting in the same cubicle sounds horrible. I don’t think it would be so bad, though, if I were working in an industry where things changed every day, and I got to be creative.”
With their final semesters coming to a close, fourth year students are getting ready to face their career anxieties head-on. But according to Wong, achieving your dream job is flexible. “Small steps aren’t threatening. You have to build resilience and take it one step at a time.”