The first experience most people have after graduating college is the seemingly eternal search for their first real job. For some people finding their first real job is an opportunity to finally do what they’ve always dreamed, to follow their passion and do what they were put on this earth to do. For others it was a walk in the park because they were hired by their internship. But for most of us who don’t know what we want to do for the rest of our lives it’s both daunting and discouraging. If you are one of these people you know what it’s like to sit day after day trolling the internet for something that we are relatively qualified for, only to be ignored and left to assume we are unqualified, or worse receive an email telling us that we are in fact unqualified for another job. If you are or have been stuck in this jobless labyrinth of lying on, I mean writing, resumes and cover letters; you have most likely experienced one if not all of these stages of searching for your first real job.
1. Denial & Isolation
At first you will deny your situation. You will deny being a grown up, and isolate yourself. Your new status as a college graduate and quasi-adult will leave you stuck in limbo. You will be lost without your college friends, uneasy about making new friends, and thus spend your weeknights drinking beer and sitting on tumblr. You will watch Saturday cartoons and old episodes of Rugrats, reminding yourself of the good ol’ days before you were past your prime.
Pretty soon you will become angry at everything around you. You’ll be mad at yourself for picking a stupid major, for not taking as many classes as you should have, for not interning every summer and semester in college, for meeting people at bars instead of networking events. You’ll be mad at the President Obama and the economy for sucking, or doing whatever they’re doing these days.
Once you stop being angry and sarcastically thanking Obama for your newfound socioeconomic problems you will enter the bargaining stage and your mind will fill with “if-onlys”. If only I had majored in biology and gone to medical school, even though you failed freshman bio. If only I had been a NARP instead of an athlete, even though your sport paid for most of your education. If only I had never gone to college and instead travelled the world, even though that would eventually lead to the same situation you’re in now.
You will begin to feel hopeless. You will think that you’re never going to find a real job and are going to work at the local deli for the rest of your life. You’ll see your future self, forty years from now still behind the counter, scowling at customers with a messy bun underneath a hair net and a voice that sounds you smoke three packs a day. You currently don’t smoke.
During this stage you eventually accept your first real job offer. Or, you accept that this is going to be a long process. Or, you do what most of us do and get accepted to Grad school because let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you want to go back to college?