Send out resumes and cover letters to what seems like a million different companies. Do it all day every day. Learn that looking for a job is a full-time job. Embrace the fact that you’ll probably hear back from no one.
Sign up on every single job-hunting site you can think of. Monster. Glassdoor. CareerBuilder. Immediately regret it because you start receiving 20 newsletters a day from all of them with no leads, but instead with depressing subject lines like “Don’t give up yet!”
Send out application after application like there’s a fire under your ass. Acknowledge that you feel dead inside once you’ve written the phrase “self-motivated team player” just one too many times.
Reward yourself after each application you send in by drinking a glass of wine. Become frustrated after you’ve had a glass and a half and you realize that it is now impossible for you to concentrate.
Soften the blow by turning on Netflix and telling yourself that you’ll get back to work after one episode. Sit down on the couch and then suddenly realize you’ve accidentally plowed through three episodes of Gossip Girl, which wasn’t even worth it because all you remember from what you watched is how weird Blake Lively’s mouth looks when she smiles.
Go back online in your semi-tipsy haze and continue searching for jobs. LOL – in a sad way – when you read descriptions of entry-level jobs that require 5-7 years experience. What the French, toast?!
Get momentarily distracted (read: for an hour) on LinkedIn when you intend to search in the Jobs section but instead end up stalking classmates who are more successful than you. Remember that everybody on LinkedIn can see when you’ve stalked them, and fail to care.
Prepare yourself for the amount of people you will run into when you’re living at home with your parents who will ask “So, how are you?!” but really mean, “What the eff are you doing with your life, peasant?” Develop a boring spiel about how you’re just looking for the right option. Be ready to answer questions about what you studied in school. Prepare yourself for the fact that if you majored in anything other than business, people will give you an unintentional Oh, that’s cute face when you tell them what you went to school for.
Resist the urge to scream “ART IS REAL.”
Comfort yourself during this awkward time by appreciating all the things in your parents’ house that now seem suddenly fancy to you: a refrigerator that dispenses water, an ICE MACHINE, wine that comes in bottles instead of bags, frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets your mom bought for you even though you’re 22, your dog.
And all jokes aside, go easy on yourself. Don’t be unmotivated, but also don’t feel like you need to be an all-powerful executive by the age of 25. You’re carving out your own path, and it’s up to you which way you want to take your life. You’re the one that’s going to live it, not anybody else – so stop worrying and basing your decisions around what other people think.
No, this is not a follow your dreams, anything is possible! speech. Because this is reality and this is not how the world works. You have bills, you have student loans, you can’t count on your parents to buy your groceries forever. They’ve supported you for 22 years and now it’s time to support yourself so that one day, you can treat them to a nice dinner.
But do remember: you’re only 22. You have your whole life ahead of you. Life after college doesn’t end, it only gets better. You’ll have more responsibilities and more challenges, and at certain points, you’re going to feel really out of place and incompetent and inadequate, and sometimes even stupid. But that’s part of becoming an adult.
You just have to keep going, and continue getting out of bed every day, and continue ferociously applying for jobs, no matter how futile it may seem. You will find something, you will get there. Maybe it won’t be amazing. Maybe it won’t be your dream job. But it’s a start. All you need is a start.
Because you have an entire human lifespan to figure out what you’re here for.