There are some among us graduating/a year away from graduating from college. Many students have never had this talk, so you get it from me, your old buddy, PatBateman. Read my words and live by them. Here are my tips to surviving your first few years out of school.
Finding a job
It's tough out there. It's always tough, but it's currently a little more tough. Employers want the perfect candidate but don't want to train a straight-out-of-the-box graduate. That's alright, though. Why? Because it's better to accept this fact than to dwell on it and let it get you down. Just polish your résumé with the help of a professional, send it out as many times as possible, follow up over the phone, and repeat until you're employed. Which leads me to my next point...
Don't aim too high
The one thing you must realize is that you will not be hired for your dream job right out of college. Even Harvard MBAs aren't given their dream job on their first go-round. You WILL, however, be hired into a position that will lead to your dream job, even if you can't see the path. When I was straight out of college, I yearned to be a wealth manager. No one wanted to hire a college kid for that (no one still does). My first job? A bank teller. A LOWLY bank teller. My current job? Wealth manager (still working on becoming a big time wealth manager though). How did I get there? Next slide, please...
Always do your best at your job
So your first job isn't what it's cracked up to be. So you wonder why you went to college in the first place. Your education has given you an edge in career advancement, not in career start up. Put your head down, work your ass off, and do whatever you can do ethically, legally, and morally to get to the next level. Someone will notice, and good things will happen.
Don't be afraid to change locations
You've been working at Acme Engineering firm for a year. Things are looking up! And then, suddenly, your boss tells you that they're moving you to the Plano office to help with the Toyota contract. But you hate Texas (for illogical reasons, but I digress)!! What should you do? YOU TAKE THE TRANSFER. Never ever ever be afraid of change, as it is the only constant in life. I know a lot of people in the energy biz, and some of them move for the company to Norway, Dubai, Thailand, Uzbekistan, etc. Why do they do it? Because they know that if they keep their head down and work hard, good things will happen. This is called being "adventurous". Never be boring.
This post is already too long, so I'll end with this: if you thought that this post was too long and skipped to the bottom for the TL;DR Cliff's Notes, learn to take your time and read the entire post.
TL;DR There are no shortcuts in life.