MFA Achieved. Now What?


Like nearly everyone else graduating in 2020, I have found myself a little bit wobbly on exactly what comes next. Do I go “get a real job,” or “follow my dreams,” or should I do some combination of those things? I feel like it has to be a combination of those things, and I’m mostly okay with that. Here’s where it gets tricky.

I live in a quasi-rural just outside of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Here, that fancy MFA degree doesn’t mean what it might in say, New York. But even if it did, it might not help me land a “good” job. What is surprising me, is that I’m mostly okay with that too. While I am looking, and would love to find something in writing, a library, or teaching at the college level, I am not so dead set on just what it is. For a while, this made me feel directionless, but it has also opened my eyes to the world of possibility that is out there. While taking time out for my education means there are some gaps in my work history, I still have a solid track record at those jobs. I’m dependable and dedicated, as my degree shows, and I have a solid work ethic. I’m driven to do the best job I can.

These things make me a great candidate.

I am not directionless. I have only to choose my star and set my course.

I would say the same thing to anyone who has just graduated this year, at whatever level. 

You are not without hope. While the competition for jobs is steep, you have something that so many others don’t. That certificate, diploma, or degree puts you in a better position than anyone who hasn’t bothered. You did it. You went for a goal and accomplished it. Put that on your CV or Resume. Put it on your mirror. Put it on a t-shirt and wear it proudly. Being goal oriented is not a bad thing, it is an assurance that you will make every effort to get the job done and done well.

And if you don’t land the perfect job right out of the box? Do the best at that job as possible anyway. If it’s a part-time gig, then use the extra time off to get that dream career in progress. Set those actionable goals and plot out the steps you need to get there. Even if there is just one tiny piece of a step you can do, do it.

Yes, things are crazier now than they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t mean we have to drown in self-doubt or feel stranded on an island of hopelessness.

We are not becalmed, or rudderless. We are awash in opportunity.

Okay, enough with the nautical metaphor.

Now go take a step. Just one. Then see if you can take another.

We can do this.


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