No Plan, On Purpose

For the past 8 months (as I started my senior year of college), everyone I interact with leads the conversation by asking me what I am going to be doing after I graduate. I find this to be a frustrating question as people always focus on this deadline of graduation as an arbitrary right of passage for being able to do interesting things with your life.

Why not ask me what I am working on right now?! In fact, there are lots of things I could tell you about…company, books, conversations.

So no. The answer is I have no plan for what I am doing when I graduate. I did not have a plan when I entered college. I did not have a plan when you asked me my freshman year. I did not have a plan when you asked me at the beginning of my senior year. And now…with just weeks remaining before I receive my diploma…I have no clue what I will be doing the next day.


What are you doing Jordan?!!

I do have a plan for the next week. I have a plan for today! I want today to be awesome so I am doing tons of things to make today incredible. And tomorrow…tomorrow should be great too.

I have no plan, on purpose, because I believe that “pre-arranging” my life leads does not give me any additional value.

I think, for many people, pre-planning is very helpful. It is great, for many, to get a junior internship, resign their offers, and effectively have a “path lined up for all of senior year.”

This does not resonate well with me. I enjoy risk and movement and testing assumptions. I do not enjoy long ladders and slow mobility. People have different preferences, though, and I do acknowledge there are many many valid reasons to take a more “conventional path.” I would know – I explored it!

I entered senior year with a broad goal of trying my best. I wanted to spend the most time possible on the things I truly care about.

I knew that I would be baited into doing things that I did not care about. I warned myself that all my friends would be getting jobs, signing bonuses, cool jackets, traveling to various destinations.

I have no plan after graduation…but that does not mean I have nothing to do. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There are too many things I could do with my time. So why choose today? Why not choose when I actually benefit from choosing? Why not choose in a month? Or two? Or tomorrow?

Say I chose in September? Then what…

I think this is just one lens you could use to think about your college experience. Take it with disclaimers and hindsight bias and luck and the whole deal. I wish more people presented their processes and gave insights into how they think about making decisions.

I will tell you that most people, in college or even parents, are pseudo- offended when I give them this answer: “I do not have a plan for when I graduate.” Offended! Why? Because this answer does not match most people’s world view. Narrative violations strike deep into the ego of others.

Am I wrong?

Is my decision bad? Maybe! It is definitely not the right lens everyone should be using. But it is one that I think has a possibility of surviving…and that is the lens I am going to take!