Chart: Managing Disappointment
I have a very dear and wise friend who once told me that “disappointment” is just another word for “unmet expectations.” In other words, we can chalk up most of our disappointing experiences to our actual results not meeting our forecasted results. Therefore, managing our expectations is critical to managing our disappointments. It might sound cynical on the surface, but one secret to the happiness is to have low expectations, thus setting ourselves up for a life lacking in discouragement and full of joyous surprises.
Keep this in mind as you look at this week’s chart, brought to us by Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing group well known for its marketplace surveys. In a recent infographic, based on information provided by recent graduates in March of 2014, we get to see the relationship between soon-to-graduate student expectations of their upcoming workplace experiences and the actual reported results of recent graduates.
Unfortunately by our definition recent graduates have unwittingly set themselves up for disappointment. Expectations by and large do not match actual results, and I’m guessing this has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth of late. In several key areas students anticipate too much in terms of employment, employers, wages, and financial independence from mom and dad. At times today’s students seem wildly off base in their predictions, particularly in regards to attaining formal on-the-job training and a certain level of income.
Of course it matters in very real ways to properly align yourself with realities, however harsh, and not just for the sake of emotional health. If we get miffed when it rains on our parade, that’s hardly the sky’s fault. On the other hand, if we predict less than lollipops and sunshine for the day we just might pack an umbrella.
No, as harsh as these realities are (let’s face it, that $25K that 42% of recent graduates fail to make doesn’t go very far these days) we need to prepare for them. Let’s look the data in the face and prepare for a rough start. We’ll spare ourselves lots of disappointment and likely make more prudent decisions than had we not done so.