Feedback or Fiction?

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Hello Spartan squad. As we move into what I am considering the "Rebuilding Stage" of our career search, I thought it might be helpful to talk a little bit about feedback. Over the course of the last semester we have all been doing our own thing with respect to our careers and our classes. Every time someone asked "What are your plans for after graduation?", I would say "I'm not sure yet. I'm interviewing and looking around, but I haven't decided yet." And that answer was always highly respected. People would congratulate me on being so ahead and assured me that I had plenty of time to find a full-time opportunity, and they are all so right. There is plenty of time left to find an opportunity.


This is where the problem comes in. We are all graduating next semester now. While there is still plenty of time left to find jobs, people are going to start panicking for us. As we move deeper and deeper into the semester, more and more people are going to question how we are looking for jobs and offer us suggestions about where to look or how to look for postings. Since we all know that this is coming, let's just face this head on.


For starters, there is not a time to panic, ever. It doesn't matter if it is the beginning or the end of the next semester, panicking is not going to help anything in the application/interview process. It is going to be so important that you stay true to yourself and how you are as a person and a young engineer. The right opportunity is out there for everyone. You just have to work hard to look for opportunities and put yourself in the best situations to have success.


Most importantly, you are going to need to be able to sort through the differences between feedback and fiction. This is not as easy as it sounds. There were a lot of times that I had trouble with it myself so I thought that I would share my experiences to help you decipher between the two.


FICTION: Anything that someone tells you that you need to change without good reason OR anything that someone says that you should change because it is what "they think is best".


FEEDBACK: Something that someone else suggest that you change for future engagements and opportunities. Feedback is always centered around improving YOU or improving the way YOU showcase yourself.


The best part about being human in a world full of other humans is seeing the differences between one another. Everyone you meet will have had a different experience, and thus a different way of seeing something. Even though people may not have bad intentions, their "feedback" will actually be fiction. They will want you to change the way you present something on your resume or talk about experience because it is how they would do it. This is ONLY helpful if you are completely lost, which is why I classify it as fiction. When people try to change the way that you are doing something simply because they would do it differently, you need to respectfully listen to their thoughts, acknowledge them, and disregard them immediately. That may be what works for them, but to you that is complete fiction. Only in a fictional world are you going to be the same person as them, so you cannot pretend that doing it their way will work for you.


What you need to listen to is feedback. When someone shows you something that you could be doing differently because it is centered around improving you, that is the information that you need to remember. Let's be honest. Us Spartans are not the same as our friends to the south (*cough* *cough* *Wolverines*). We tend to be more soft spoken and humble about the great things that we have accomplished, by comparison. There are gonna be times that we don't express how great we are as people or how great our experiences have been. When people reach out and give you suggestions to improve yourself, you need to take it heart. Think about what they said and how you could take their advice and improve yourself. If you think it would help do it; if you don't then don't do it. Just remember that you need to stay true to who you are no matter what. As long as you do that, you are going to have success. Stay tuned and keep grinding Spartans!

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