The other day I was Blog Surfing and I read an entry from the Student Affairs blog. There was reference to someone that is suing their alma mater because they have yet to find a job. I think it is kind of ludicrous! I understand that many college graduates are suffering right now. Even with that pessimistic outlook of the economy right now, I believe there is still hope. I believe that the glass is half full, not empty, because I survived it! Here is my story:
I graduated from college in 2008 with a dream in mind: going to Syracuse University for their counseling program. I had dreams about it every night! I wanted it so bad, I could taste it! However, after I walked the stage, real life was waiting for me with a brick. It truly knocked my dream out of my grasp. With that in mind, I knew that I had to come up with another idea. Another way to get to my overall lifetime goal of receiving my doctorate – my short term goal (less than 5 years) is to obtain my master’s degree in Counseling. There were other ways to get it and being the resourceful person that I am, I realized I just had to figure out another way to get to that goal.
Instead of surfing the net or Facebook, I got a job as a camp counselor (I surfed on my phone LOL). I had the job before at a different place, I enjoyed it. I had money in my pocket and it was the first summer in a long time where I could relax and get my bearings together. While I was at home that summer, I also realized that family and my overall support network was extremely important to me. Being in my family, like most families can be crazy, but it works. My nephew even came with me a couple of times and enjoyed it! Not to mention, my best friends are in the area and I need them to succeed in my overall long time goal! I realized I have been away from them for too long. So that counselor job truly gave me some clarity!
I decided that I was going back to school in the Winter Semester, giving me another couple of months to ensure that my plans were going to work. However, I have never been the type of person to just sit around and wait for things to come to me. So I actually looked at working at Wayne State. The job was temporary and it was just enough time to give me some options while I applied to some grad programs in the area. (Working at a university is a great option because you can tap into their resources and connections; you can learn things without being in lecture hall – you just learn them in a cubicle.) I signed up to work for Residence Life at Wayne considering that I was a RA for almost my entire undergrad career. I applied to Wayne State Graduate School and got in!
Now almost a full year later after accepting my temporary job, I am (pretty) close to receiving a full time job. Even if that falls through, I still have back up plans B and C to take me into next couple of years.
I know that I am the exception, not the rule. I understand these are some tough times. But if my mini-bio has said anything, is that sometimes you have to make things work for you. College did not prepare the 2007 – 2009 class very well because they were going off of previous teachings when the economy needed fresh and young minds. Now, there are too many, so employers are going to want to see how you make use of your time. If you weren’t active in high school and college, well now you are going to have to be.
So for those who are in career slumps, here is some tips I have for you:
- Join a Professional Organization: I am a member of both state and national organization for my desired field. Join the e-board; this will show employers that you are truly passionate about this career path.
- Volunteer: sometimes, it is important to just put your face out there. You don’t want a lot of dead time on your resume. This is a great way to fill it up!
- Temporary Jobs: These jobs don’t have benefits, but this is how I got my foot in the door. It’s just enough to give you something to do during the day. If you kick ass, the company may hire you on full time; if you know your time is coming to an end, this will give you time to find another job – hopefully one that sticks.
- “Can I Take Your Order?”: You may think you are too good for this, but if you are thinking about going back to school, this is a great job to have as a benchmark to where you want to go. This is not going to be your career, it’s just going to be a job. Not to mention free food!
- Part-Time Student: I am always an advocate of going back to school. With a college town, like my alma mater, you can go to school and there are many odd jobs around. Go back for your post-bachelors, take up sign language … anything that is going to overall help you be marketable.
Not every job you have is meant to fit into your career path; sometimes the path is not as linear as we all would like. Good luck everyone!