Don’t Be A Donkey (Advice For Recent Graduates)

Oslo, Norway May 2016. Still a donkey at time of photo

Some of the best advice I received as a recent graduate came at a breakfast diner in Columbus, Ohio after attending a cross-fit class with a mentor.

I was coming up on the end of a one-year contract I had with my first employer which trained me in several general professional skills (public speaking, sales, writing, etc.). I was listening to my favorite podcast at the time, The Tim Ferriss Show, weekly, and getting a fire-hose of ideas blasted at me with what I could potentially do next. This paradox of choice produced a mild-level of anxiety for me as there were many potential routes I was considering.

As I explained my plight to the man I was sharing breakfast with he told me, “you shouldn’t pick what you do next blindly, but the important thing is that you get started and do a good job – that will give you more options as you go.”

This is similar to Derek Sivers’ story of the donkey (TLDR: the donkey is standing between a pile of hay and bucket of water and stands in the middle of the two thinking about which he wants more instead of picking one and then going for the other after). As a recent graduate you have a long time-scale to deal with. Don’t sweat your first move so much. Make a move and do it well – develop your skills with intention and make your next move on when the time is right.

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