The good, the bad and the jobless
Musings from our very own, real life millennial – A PSA for post-graduate angst and first job jitters
As the great expanse of life stretches before you, here are some harsh truths about life after college.
Unemployment, you fickle b*&Sh, you. You can burn and suffer in all nine of Dante's inferno circles. Oh, how I wish the post-graduate depression on no one (minus my exes).
Like a baby to an umbilical cord – you are so abruptly ripped from your cushy, cozy college life and told you need to enter the real world and find a "job." So much for freedom. Broke, frantic and riddled with unaccountable anxiety you move out of your college town and into the place you originally left four years ago…
Say it with me now: Family dinner. Curfew.
Moving home is like one giant slap in the face to really jump-start your post-college ambition… or slump. You pledged you'd never return to that ratty childhood security blanket you call home, but your personal promises soon fade when you can't afford rent and realize just how expensive the real world is.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
You imagined gracefully exiting your graduation ceremony to your brand new car, apartment, job, dog, Costco membership, sipping coffee on your plush sofa, simply loving life – all of which you achieved following an interview at some hip office, and your cool, new boss praised your very existence.
I feel like writing a letter to my alma mater, commending them on such a good, sick prank they pulled. Well done, my friends and teachers. Jokes on me.
And then one day the joke is over and you are fully moved in with mom and dad. Reality hits like a ton of bricks as you sit on your parents' couch, helping your mother fold laundry while watching "Dancing with the Stars."
Yep, that's right – you guessed it. THIS is rock bottom.
An empty bank account – How is this $22 and pocket lint going to fund that expensive taste in IPAs for formed during my four year education? Hold up – tires need to be changed? And they cost WHAT?
But everyone made adulting look so easy, so fashion-forward… she said, pouting.
Pure aimlessness is what you end up with instead. Oh, and hangovers that get exponentially worse post-grad. Perfect, right at the life point when "happy hours" got oh, so necessarily popular.
The things I wish I learned in my college capstone:
- Use your alumni network.
- Solidify references. Believe it or not, past professors who agree to be references go a long way.
- Save. Though it may not be much, it sure is better than nothing.
- Use the career center. The counselors may not hold your hand on the way to your first post-grad interview, but they will have provided with you some valuable tools.
- Go to events. Meet people. Don't miss these events, even if you have to wear a blazer.
- Weed out jobs you can't picture yourself spending at least 40 hours as week at.
- Just applying isn't really applying yourself.
- Dedicate an hour or two everyday to browse job listings.
- Apply to jobs you are actually qualified for. A four-year degree doesn't warrant senior VP status.
- Relish your downtime.
Listen here, people. *breathe*
You are going to figure it out. Believe me when I say, if I did, you can.
News flash: The modern American work place needs millennials to gain experience and replace previous generations in leadership positions as time marches on.
It's going to be trying sometimes. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, many employers believe recent college grads are "underdeveloped" in key professional skills, such as: interpersonal communication, critical thinking and organization. In other words: you need hustle, grit, patience and sometimes, the ability to schmooze, frankly.
It's not uncommon to hear bogus claims that 30 percent to 40 percent of college graduates are working in jobs that have zippidy-doo-dah to do with their degrees.
As of this January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment rates for college graduates was 2.5 percent. That means that just one out of 40 folks with a good 'ole B.A. is unemployed. That very same bachelors that you were told you needed in order to find a job … oh, the irony.
Are the unemployment numbers a lie?
With that in mind, from my cubicle to wherever your dream job exists, I seek to proved solace and hope.
Enjoy this period of your life. Embrace the uncertainty and flexibility. Give yourself credit, and look how far you've come.