The holidays are one of the most loved times of the year.
Family and friends join together to enjoy mouth-watering food, watch football, open presents, and see those eager to catch up on everything that’s happening in your life.
However, these can be bittersweet for any post-college graduate. Most of us don’t have the most glamorous job straight out of college, not making six figures, in an unpaid internship, or maybe not even in our field yet. Christmas dinner is a hotbed for this kind of grilling.
Even if you’ve got some kind of direction, its perfectly normal to feel stressed when blindsided by questions and comments that you don’t have the answers to yourself. Here are some perfectly acceptable proven answers for the daunting after-college career questions and strategies for handling difficult conversational moments with ease.
The biggest tips to answering any question as I’ve learned from those before me are as follows:
- Redirect the focus
- Be general
- Say it with confidence
- Own your boundaries
- Laugh it off with a joke
- Exaggerate your position
- Use the “exploring my options” response
Now, I’ll show you how these play out in real-time.
So say, your family is finally all gathered around the table eating dinner and having conversation when that just-a-little-too-pushy uncle asks, “So what are you doing now that you’ve graduated college?
You can use one of the tips from the options above or make up your own to answer this question respectfully, and prevent those nosey further questions that will only stress you out, since you don’t have a clue of the answers either.
For instance, if you chose to laugh it off with a joke try:
- I’ve been brushing up on my jeopardy trivia
- Im going to finish this drink thats what I’m going to do
- My old room in my parents house is calling my name
Or, if you’re less gutsy, try the general answer approach then change the topic:
- I’m going to get some real world experience
- Im currently applying to a multitude of jobs
Or, for an easy way out, go with the exploring my options approach:
- I’m still waiting to hear back from some places, weighing out my options
- I’ve been doing some freelance work around to gain experience
Be careful with this approach if you’ve got an “ask a lot of questions” family and if you know that they’ll push for more details like mine.
My biggest advice is to remember that you’re an adult, just successfully finished college. Be proud of your accomplishments and take comfort in the fact that most people coming out of college don’t have a clue what they are doing either, hence why I’m writing this article.
Just remember to know your boundaries and speak with confidence.
Putting these tips to practice may be a little tough or uncomfortable at first, but it’ll be worth it to feel empowered in the face of nosy family questions going forward. Not to mention, it will ease your own insecurities in this area, and make it look like you’ve got it all together.
Go forth in the holidays with the comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. And try to remember, these days are for enjoying your time with your family and your time off from school, work, and everything else. Don’t stress yourself out even more, take these tips and tricks with you into the holidays.