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Navigating the Uncertain Road of a Young Professional

Young Professional

By John Sutherland

3 Minute Read

“It’s the worst thing I have ever seen. They are about to enter the employment market at a time when absolutely nobody knows what to predict.” Jane Oates was quoted saying about the 2020 graduating class in a recent Los Angeles Times article called “Pour one out for 2020 grads. It’ll be hard to find a job in this market.”

As a graduating senior, these aren’t the words I want to hear. Graduating college is supposed to be a celebration and bring excitement about the future. Instead, articles like the one above, make it feel like I am walking off a cliff and falling into an abyss of uncertainty.

I don’t want to lose optimism about the future no matter how uncertain things get. I think that means taking things one step at a time. No one knows exactly how the business world will change after this pandemic is over but all we do know is that it will likely never be the same. This means that instead of being in a state of discouragement, I have to be as careful as possible. I need to seek advice from people who have already been working in the world for years instead of trying to make it on my own. Proverbs 15:22 says “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (ESV).

When I asked John Harrison, the National YP Coordinator for CBMC USA, what advice he would give his younger self, he said this:

“Get a mentor ASAP. Get in a peer group ASAP… Trust in God’s timing and not your timing.”

I tend to like to do things on my own. I rarely ask for help unless it is absolutely necessary but now is not the time for me to be independent. I need guidance from people much wiser than me in order to try and navigate unprecedented waters. I need to let others help guide me on the right path even if I would rather try to handle it on my own. I would encourage myself and others in my graduating class to help each other out and seek out older mentors in these chaotic and confusing times.

I want to remain stable and trust in God’s timing in the midst of this pandemic. I don’t know what my future looks like but I am still confident that He has a plan for me and everyone else in my graduating class. He may be testing us earlier than we wanted but He will not leave us out to dry. That reason is enough to keep hope.

This is not to say that students don’t have the right to be discouraged. I understand how disappointing and frustrating it can be to have a promising internship or job taken away because of something that is out of your control. I have several friends who worked hard to have jobs lined up for themselves once they graduated, only to have to go back to square one. Discouragement is not going to propel anyone forward and we have no choice but to keep moving forward.

As a Christian, I believe this is an opportunity to be an encouragement to my peers in a wave of discouragement. We can be a light amid all of the darkness. Harrison said: “The coronavirus gives us the opportunity to illustrate Matthew 7:24-27 [where it] talks about the parable of the two builders. The smart builder and the foolish builder. It talks about when the wind came, the waves rose and the house built against the sand was torn down but the house that was built on the rock survived… We have had the opportunity to maintain and people to say ‘wow, what is different about you?”

I will not ignore what is going on in the world around me but I also will not let it drag me down with it. This doesn’t me I plan on conquering the world despite entering the worst job market for a graduating senior possibly ever. I understand that most of this is out of my control. What it does mean is remaining steady in what I can control and trusting in God with what I can’t. It may just mean being positive. Or just remaining patient. Or humbling myself to accept an opportunity that doesn’t reflect what I’ve worked hard to earn over the past four years. Whatever it looks like, I need to put all my faith in God and trust He has a bigger plan for me than I could ever understand.

I plan on keeping my house on the rock and keeping it there no matter how strong the winds and waves get. As long as it remains there, I have no reason to be discouraged and will continue to march on as my professional journey begins.


John Sutherland graduated Covenant College in May 2020 as an English Major with a writing concentration. He will be joining Digital Creative Institute’s digital marketing apprenticeship program starting in June. John was CBMC’s marketing intern from February-May 2020.