Congratulations to all of the recent graduates who worked their butts off and made it through four grueling years of sleepless nights, exams, and bad decisions all the while sustaining themselves with Ramen and an over-consumption of alcohol.
A few months ago we joined our peers (the ones who actually made it through) and received that expensive piece of paper that announces to an employer “Hey! I kinda sorta know what I’m doing… maybe.” And with a handshake, you were sent off into the world to make a difference. I was among those grads, and now, almost three months later, I feel like I am doing absolutely nothing that I want to be doing and as though I’m hearing the same things over and over again:
“What have you been doing since graduation?”
I hear this on a regular basis. It happens most when I run into a) Someone I went to college with, b) Someone I knew from high school who also just graduated or c) Someone who has known me since I was yay (holds up hand to hip to indicate height measurement) high.
Your answer, like mine, most likely will vary depending on what you find yourself doing these days. My standard answer sounds roughly like this: “I’m working [insert job title] doing [insert job description] in [insert location], but I’m not really sure where it is going.” But, hey, If you find your post-grad self doing a job you love kudos to you! You’re one of the lucky ones.
“You just need to focus your attention on the job search.”
Yes, searching for a job is a job in itself. To anyone who says this to me, my response will be the same: “Can you add eight more hours to the day?”
“You’re more likely to find a job if you live in a city.”
Logically, I agree with this. Cities are more densely populated, the chances of finding a job in your field are greater. But the truth is, I’ve never been a city girl. I currently live in a city and I am still not a fan of them. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I never really enjoyed trips into Philly, or to New York City, or to Baltimore. The idea of city living has never enticed me like the idea of suburbia. Throughout my four years of school, all I heard from friends, parents, professors, and total strangers was that to find a job, I must live in a city.
Well guess what? I’m here. Please give me directions to the magical job factory.
“Hey, the rent is due in like two days.” — Your roommate
That can’t be right. I paid it like a week ago!
At the end of every month you inevitably face that one panic-stricken-deer-in-headlights moment when you need to fork over your hard earned dollar bills to pay the rent. Remember #3? That you’re more likely to find a job living in the city? Well you’re also more likely to find yourself in a small space with a large amount of roommates paying a lot of money to be living off of Ramen. Still.
My advice: check the couch cushions for spare change.
“We’re all meeting up for happy hour!”
Oh, I’d love to come, really I would. I would love nothing more than to spend my last twenty dollars on a beverage that will end up exiting my body within the next hour or so. Factor in the cost of getting to said happy hour (gas/parking/metro fare/cover charge) and you’ve got almost $50 on your hands right there. That’s a week worth of groceries. So, no thanks, my social life will just need to suffer.
Hearing “We love your work, we just wish you had more experience,” at a job interview.
I mean, I’m glad you like it, but does that mean you’re going to hire me? Because you’ve colored quite a bit of a gray area. If you are planning on hiring me – Yay! I will be your new best friend and work my butt off for you. If you aren’t – Riddle me this: how does one gain experience without a job, for a job that requires them to have experience.
It’s all highly suspect if you ask me.
Unpaid Internships as a phrase, a concept, a lifestyle, a sentence to Hell.
You did it! Hours of endless job hunting have finally paid off. Sure, your eyes hurt a bit every time you look at the computer, and you’ve been on every job search engine known to mankind, but it’ll all be worth it in the end right? Wait! Hang on, what’s this? A job in your field, in the location you want to be in, and at an amazing company! You scroll down to read more about your dream job and WHAM! There they are. Two words every grad flinches at: Unpaid Internship. A blemish on the face of awesomeness that makes you want to hurl your laptop across the Starbucks you’ve been mooching free WiFi off of.
I’m sure I’m not the sole hater of unpaid internships in the masses of those who just graduated. And I definitely know I am not the only one who has a few qualms with the whole idea.
- Does anyone else see the unfair cycle that is unfolding before your very eyes? I just spent ‘X’ amount of money obtaining a degree that is supposed to help me land a job. This job is supposed to help me make money to pay the bank back the amount and, then some, that I borrowed to earn the degree that is supposed to be helping me get the job. So how does this unpaid internship work?
- Okay, I’ve got to start somewhere. I get that. I’m a reasonable human being. Let me take a look at the hours. Maybe I can supplement my income with a part time job. Oh HELL NO! 5 days a week, 8 hours a day without pay? Add in on top of that paying to commute there. I’m too broke to make negative dollars a day just for experience
- Is this even legal?
When all is said and done, being a recent grad is tough. And it is a hard lesson that I am still learning, but even in the age of the Internet, jobs are not handed out on a silver platter. It takes time and perseverance. Good luck, my fellow 2014 grads.