Here’s the truth about taking a job after graduation that no one tells you: Making $350 dollars a week and living at home is roughly the same as making 34k as an assistant in New York City. At the end of your first post grad year, you will all have the same amount in savings. And while one might have “valuable work experience,” the other is not set back.
The day after my graduation, I went back to working at the Mediterranean restaurant I’d served at all through college. Serving semi-cold falafel to bitchy moms was my 21-year-old calling.
I spent the year after graduation in my college town working three jobs – at a restaurant, a local cancer resource center and a winery. I drank a lot of wine for free, helped people plan their weddings, fitted others for wigs after chemo treatment, gave rides to the hospital and experimented by pairing a bandana with various amounts of cleavage for extra tips.
And it wasn’t bad. It paid my rent, allowed me to save money, and spared me chasing down a job I didn’t want.
It’s okay to take some time to find a job that you might actually want.
The solution isn’t to bum around all day, smoke, go to work, make enough to order Chinese for dinner, and do it all over again. But it’s not to take a job so that you can say you did something other than smoke, go to work and order Chinese.
The solution is to find a job you might actually want to apply for. The reason you still have those tabs open, but haven’t actually clicked through to the application, is probably that you don’t want any of those jobs.
Because if you really want a specific job, you won’t leave the posting open on your computer for two weeks, in a tab squashed between an equally shitty job and the Seamless tab. If you actually wanted a job, you’d push yourself out of your comfort zone. You’d send a lot of emails that make you uncomfortable. You’d be antsy enough to count the days until you could follow up. You’d say yes if your parents offered to get you a meeting with the son’s cousin’s brother of the boss you’re trying to work for.
But if that’s not what you’re chasing at this exact moment, there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you are looking for a job as an excuse to move to a city, then save up, move and find a job. Any job. Waiting tables, taking an internship, or temping as a receptionist isn’t less legitimate than what everyone else is doing.
Move, go to brunch with your friends – who will talk endlessly about their jobs as assistants, coordinators, managers, etc., and realize you will be just as unable to afford your $12 Bloody Mary as everyone else. If you get a job as a receptionist at the most random office you can find in the city, you will be making close to the same wage as the person with their ~~dream job~~. If they make you feel like your job isn’t as “real” as theirs, remember they do the same exact things that you do all day. They just call it “projects” instead of “filing.” Some people will have different titles, will take on more responsibility or will make the coveted time-and-a-half after 6 o’clock. It doesn’t mean they have more of a purpose than you. It doesn’t make their choices better than yours.
You will never feel more irrelevant than when you graduate college and don’t have an answer to the “What’s next?” question. You’re not fucking everything up. You’re not a step behind everyone else.
So spend less time feeling bad for yourself. Be as self-sufficient as you can. Learn to cook. Look for an application you might want to fill out. Don’t let people tell you that what you’re doing isn’t “real” enough.