If you’re like me, you are one of the many college graduates that have just been dumped into the real world with no job prospect. And after two months of this so called “unemployment,” all I have to show from my four-year college career is a very expensive piece of paper, and these ten harsh realities:
1. The loss of your student identity:
If you have been in the shoes of an unemployed recent college graduate, there is no greater anxiety than introducing yourself to someone with the loss of your “student” identifier. College grads with jobs can go from describing themselves as a “student at Iowa State,” to “an accountant at State Farm.” For me, it’s more along the lines of, “I’m Emily and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life yet so please don’t ask me.”
2. Your extended family members take it upon themselves to network for you:
Isn’t it enough that your mother spams your email inbox with links to job opportunities she found while googling “entry-level jobs?” Now your aunts, grandparents, second cousins and your parents’ neighbors are now informed that you are indeed unemployed and have made it their destiny to help you look as well. Sorry, I’m not going to reach out to my uncle’s coworker’s nephew who knows someone who may be hiring, but thank you for trying to facilitate that awkward meeting.
3. Some of your friends will have big kid jobs:
That means that between approximately 8:30am-5pm, they will have barricaded themselves away at their workplace with little to no communication. Because of which, friendships can be strained. They won’t have time to check the Snapchat you sent of an outfit you tried on in a dressing room and respond with a correlating facial expression to let you know that if should buy the outfit before I leave the store. Life is unfair.
4. With fellow jobless friends, hanging out is unlike previous summer vacations:
Coming back to home, I expected to see my fellow unemployed high school friends very frequently, like having plans to go out together on the weekends. Since I have been home, I have probably seen my close friends a grand total of four times. With the weight of four years of debt from a private institution weighing on my shoulders, my idea of a good time is a Redbox rental and a box of Franzia.
5. Now is the perfect time to travel… if you have money:
Yes, I know that there are many different resources out there created to make traveling inexpensive. Yet one round-trip plane ticket to Europe cost more than all my graduation money combined! How does one get the European experience as a jobless post-grad? Buy some Macarons at Whole Foods and eat them while Facebook stalking your friends who went abroad.
6. There will be whole days where you don’t leave the house:
What is sunlight? With no obligations, you do not need to wake up at a certain time… or change out of your pajamas… or shower… or do your hair and makeup. While many of your college peers are out of their houses making the big bucks, the jobless bunch binge-watches Netflix and spends an embarrassing amount of time playing Candy Crush. We follow a strict exercise regimen of power-walking from the bed to the kitchen to the couch. Intervention may be needed.
7. The cold sting of rejection emails from employers takes its toll:
While still a student, a rejection letter was cushioned by the reassurance that you still hadn’t graduated. Now as a graduate, it is easy to get discouraged and feel as though you may never find a job. It is hard to continually put your best foot forward during interviews, when it seems like there is always someone with more experience snatching it away from you! Yet ask anyone who’s been through it and they’ll let you know that perseverance is worth it.
8. You will consider accepting jobs that you swore you’d never take:
We all know that when it comes down to it, money is money. And some money is better than no money. And working at Burger King for minimum wage is better than no wage. I’ll just use my diploma to wipe the deep-fry grease off my hands!
9. You’ll contemplate grad school as your cop out of the job market:
People who are taking a gap year seem to have it easy without the pressure of finding a full-time job. Forget how torturous it was getting through your undergrad degree and prolong the real world for a little longer! Acquire more debt and be in the exact same place in two years with a fancier degree!
10. You’ll write the perfect cover letter, hit send, and find one small error that will ruin your chances for being hired:
Personalized cover letter or not, there is still a huge margin for error when trying to explain to a company you know little about why they should hire you. And sometimes, no matter how many times you proofread it, a small spelling or grammatical error sneaks in creating the kiss of death for your hiring potential. Why has no one invented an “edit” or “delete” button for emails after you’ve sent them!
As harsh as these realities are, it’s comforting to know many of us are in the same boat. But if the right job opportunity arises, back off it’s mine!