5.26.2012

10 things I've learned since graduation


Growing up is hard. When you're younger, it seems really easy; when you turn 18, you'll make your own rules and everything will be great. Then that happens and you realize that there are a whole lot of other rules that you have to follow which kind of cramp your style. And make life pretty stressful in general. The worst part of it is that if you make it through college, there are still all these rules and requirements... and given the state of the world these days, actually meeting them can seem impossible sometimes. My experience after graduation is shockingly typical, but I've learned a lot.

1. Nothing will go how you think it will... even if you get a job. A lot of people I knew who got jobs ended up quitting shortly afterward. That plan you've had for after graduation forever? Prepare for it to change. My plan was to get a job; go to grad school; or move to New York or Chicago to become a magazine editor, whichever was more reasonable at the time. Obviously, none of those things happened immediately after I graduated college.


2. The economy is actually really terrible and it will affect you. I had on my imaginary armor after I graduated; I really did think I was different. "I'm so talented," I told myself. "Clearly, I will get a job! I'm special!" I am not special. Getting a job these days really is legitimately about luck. Are you the most qualified person who applied? Most likely, no. And that kind of sucks. Getting a job doesn't necessarily mean you're the best candidate anymore, because there are literally 200-300 applications turned in for every single job opening. And there are tons of college students, just like you, who are super talented, hardworking, and awesome. And among you are older people with 20-30 years of experience who deserve a job just as much. It must really suck to be in HR, is what I'm saying.


3. You will feel like your soul has been crushed when you have to write another cover letter after getting a job rejection e-mail, letter, or phone call (or radio silence) after an interview. You know those days when your best friend is mad at you, your boyfriend breaks up with you, you fail a test, your favorite dress rips, you break your phone AND your camera, and your car breaks down!? Imagine having one of those days every day when no one will hire you. It sucks. All you'll want to do is lie in bed and watch movies forever. The last thing you'll want to do is make follow up application calls or write more cover letters. It's soul sucking, but ultimately necessary for your survival. (The worst one was when I got a rejection email a record breaking 15 minutes after my interview. I think I cried for about 12 hours... as I wrote more cover letters.)

4. All that free time can add up to something. When you're unemployed (funemployed?) you might end up renting a lot of movies, buying a lot of stuff online, and perfecting your party dance alone in your bedroom. (I know I did.) But you know what you should be doing? Building a portfolio. You might as well work when everyday is your weekend, right? When you do get a job, you'll wonder why you didn't blog more, or learn karate, or take up painting, or read all those books on graphic design.


5. No one stops liking you when you work a terrible job. Remember those five months I worked at a deli? Remember how it made me feel humiliated and stupid everyday? If you get a weird part-time job to make a bit of extra money (and fill some of that time), you might feel like some kind of weird, out-of-place alien, but I promise, no one who loves you is judging you. Unless they are a real jerk, in which case, why would you care?




6. Paying bills is hard and you will literally never make enough money at your first job(s). So establish your savings account now or you're going to have a bad time. Speaking of which, you have way more bills than you think you do. The minute I started assessing all the things I am required to pay, I realized that I vastly underestimated how much I cost as a human being. This doesn't even take into account fun, unnecessary things, like internet or a cell phone.

7. When it comes down to it, the trivial things don't matter. When my grandfather passed away, I realized how much time I had spent waffling away the time: watching Hulu mindlessly, lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. We only have so much time, so don't spend it making yourself miserable over the little things. The things that matter most in life aren't related to the economy. I'm not saying getting a job isn't important (it totally is), but spending time with your family and friends, doing something you love, is way more important than worrying about if you'll be able to afford a cell phone when your parents finally cut you off.


8. You'll want a job so bad, and when you get one, you'll want all that free time back. I wake up every morning at 6:30, head to work at 9, and work until 7, get home at 7:30, eat, maybe go for a run, and then pass out so I can wake up at 6:30 again. This does not a social life make. Go see your friends.




9. You will get a job... eventually. Sometimes, it seems really hopeless. You'll read these articles about how people under 25 have something like a 55% unemployment rate, and then over 50% of those employed are underemployed and barely making minimum wage. You'll start to wonder if it's hopeless. Maybe you should have gotten a degree in something else? Maybe you should, I don't know, apply for jobs in something else? But I promise you will get a job eventually. A real one. Okay, you might be a receptionist, or a data entry clerk. But it's better than slicing deli meat or making burgers, right?


10. It's not you. It really is the economy. For a long time, I started to wonder if something was seriously wrong with me. Maybe I was flawed in some way and had never known it. All those people telling me I was talented or would make a good editor, or writer, or social media marketing assistant... maybe they were lying or just trying to be nice. All the interviews where the HR manager praised my achievements and told me I had tons of skills they liked to see at the company -- they were lying, clearly, because they didn't hire me.

I gave up more than once. I resigned myself to working minimum wage jobs for the rest of my life -- on my feet until 11pm at night -- never being able to afford a brand new car, or a house, or even a child. More than anything that made me super depressed and not very fun to be around. It took a lot of time, but eventually, I realized it wasn't me. I still have moments where my confidence hits the floor and a lot of it has to do with, well, what I went through. It's exhausting to know you're good and to be rejected over and over (and over and over) again; it's a hard feeling to shake. But you'll get through it. I promise. I'm in such a better place now, that I would never trade those months of struggle and depression and full on sorrow for anything.


3 comments:

  1. this post of you is very good, and you have so much right, when you finish college you thing is time all my dream are going to make came true, i'm going to have so much money, im going to buy so many present to my parents and sister,myabe a house and a car, yay, but realitie is not like that, and you have right if you have luck maybe you can have a job, my first job was like that with luck, just because i have this friend who work there and she say to me they need a replacement, why dont you try? i was soo nervous, at the third day i want to give up, the people with who i have to work where mean, and i'm a very emotional person, soo... but at the end i finish the replacement and they call me back for more, it was good in that way, thaht happend in july so at the end of the year i go back to that place again and the only thing that i could want was vacation, and i star all over again with interviews and everything and that suck, i have a job, but the place and the time dont work for me, because i have a daughter and she needs me too, soo i don't take that job, January and February happend so faar, it was march and my mom say to me when are you going to work, i feel bad, hating my life my job everything, and one day a colleague say to me try this and i find a job doing class of inglish in a garden (with little kids) and then i found a job in school, and in other garden, I think I told you too much, sorry, but i really could feel your words, by the way, right now you have a job?

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  2. I just wanted to let you know that this post has really lifted my spirit today. I graduated college last year; I'm unemployed this year. Though a bit discouraged at times, I do realize that as long as I continue to diligently pursue a job things will eventually turn around for the better. This time of searching allowed me to stumble upon your blog and ultimately this post which, again, has been ever reassuring and just what I needed!! THANK YOU :)))

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    1. Crazy, but I got my job (as a receptionist...) by posting it on facebook! I just asked any of my friends if they knew ANYONE who was hiring... and a few weeks later, one of my best friends called me because she needed a receptionist at her job! So networking, asking around... it sounds stupid and I felt stupid sending out pleas on facebook, but... it worked! You'll get there, I promise!! Things are hard, but they will get better if we make them better. :]

      xo Michelle

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Thank you for reading my blog! :]
xo Michelle

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