So you have your degree in General Studies (concentrations in literature, French, and philosophy). Now what? How do you become a real person in the real world, walking around acting like a human being in society? Well, it’s a lot harder than watching every episode of The Sopranos on Netflix or getting a high rank in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, not to downplay such time consuming accomplishments. In fact, you may come to realize that the challenges of the job market will require movement through physical space as well as composing formal employee-type documents. Here’s a step-by-step guide based on a sampling of friends, acquaintances, roommates, and people I made up.
First, search through jobs on Monster.com for approximately ten minutes. Realize neither your Starbucks job nor your Albertsons cashier job provided you with the sufficient previous experience necessary for a real-world career, despite your degree. Disillusioned, begin watching YouTube videos of cats jumping on watermelons, then videos of cats attacking small children, then Facebook stalk your ex-girlfriend, then read the Wikipedia page for X-Men for a couple hours, then forget what you were doing in the first place. Eat a pepperoni pizza Hot Pocket while experiencing mysterious psychological tremors like your brain is trying to self-destruct. Once asleep, dream of climbing an endless staircase for days, months, years, only to have the staircase transform suddenly into a waterslide that washes you back to the bottom.
Count up all the graduation money your family members sent you in the hope that it might ease your transition into adulthood. Then slowly spend the majority on fancy coffee drinks from Starbucks and organic vegan granola bars from Whole Foods. Spend the rest on a stylish Chinese lantern with an orange flower design around the edge you ordered off the internet. Hang it up in your bedroom. Take it down because you’re moving to your old bedroom at your parents’ house.
When your mom asks you how the job search is going, tell her about how you looked on Monster.com. When your mom says to check Craigslist, say you checked it already. Then check Craigslist. Send your resume to help-wanted ads for dog walkers and babysitters, even though no one would hire a male babysitter, and the dog walking job is twenty dollars once a week. Send your resume to mysterious companies with descriptions like, “FuN jOb! WoRk FrOm HoMe! $$$!” or “WE’RE LOOKING FOR COOL PEOPLE FOR A COOL PLACE TO DO AWESOME THINGS!” Discover these are all low-paying data-entry jobs.
Instead of searching for a job, learn interesting tasks like how to give a back massage or how to solve a Rubik’s cube by watching instructional videos on Youtube. Feel at last that you are being productive, that you are filling your head with knowledge, and what is life but a step-by-step journey toward enlightenment? From a philosophical standpoint, you’re not “wasting your life” but “living a rich inner life.” Download college courses on CD off the internet and listen to them in your car. Listen to the lectures for the course called “No Excuses: Existentialism.” Begin mentioning Sartre in casual conversation.
Subconsciously begin engaging in activities that lead to drug addiction. Whenever alcohol, pot, or mushrooms are presented, gobble everything in sight as if you have AIDS and the only cure is substance abuse. Think thoughts like, ‘I am in a bad place in life. This is what people do when they’re in a bad place in life.’ Start espousing inane malformed theories about the world like “You can lose weight by just sweating” and “I think outer space is a hoax by astronomers” to anyone in earshot. As the night progresses, stare intensely at people without blinking. Make enigmatic hand gestures. Quietly cry in the backyard next to a couple making out.
In your free time (just kidding—all time is free time), play bass guitar for an awful emo screamo band that only plays at a pizza place a block from the lead singer’s house. Consider the possibility that your terrible band will become famous. When drunk, tell people you want to spend your life making music. If nothing else, appreciate the free pizza you receive as payment for driving away customers with your terrible music.
Go to house parties by yourself and hit on drunk freshman girls. Feel suddenly conscious of the fact that you’re doing the same thing you’ve done for the past five years. Feel caught in a time warp. Feel like a stagnant pool of water, festering, choked with mosquito larva and cigarette butts. Wonder where to begin making the changes in behavior necessary to become an adult, or if you’re even someone capable of making those changes. Picture the vast array of alternate dimensions where you made better, wiser decisions and are now a record label executive or a software engineer, someone successful and content. Feel inadequate. Look at cat videos on YouTube for an hour to avoid crippling depression.
When asked by your mom what your plans are after a year of idleness, say you’re thinking about going back to school to be an architect. When confronted with her bewilderment and questions about ‘Why architect?’ and ‘What do you know about being an architect?’ and ‘I’ve never seen you show any interest in architecture,’ mention an article you read on the internet about how it was a high paying job. The next day, further defile your credibility by suggesting that you might become a nurse. Or a police officer. A police officer or a nurse or an architect.