Almost any time you go through a major life event, people want to share advice.
Did you just get engaged? Congratulations, single and married people alike are about to trip over themselves to offer their sage nuptial wisdom! Oh, you’re pregnant? Hope you like free, unasked for parenting advice! When I graduated high-school, I had practical strangers sharing their own thoughts and suggestions regarding college.
And yet, these wizards of sagacity were nowhere to be found around the time of my college graduation. In fact, when I graduated from my humble university, I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other side.
I vividly remember the weird sort of just-got-sucker-punched, breath-knocked-out-of-you feeling I experienced as I waited for my ceremony to begin and overheard fellow graduates discussing what they were going to do next.
Next. As if the whole goal for the past four years hadn’t been simply to get here – to the day of my college graduation. The ceremony was a nice, forgettable celebration of my achievement. And then the real work began.
It’s funny how no one really tells you what it’s like after college. When you aren’t working at your place of underemployment, the days are empty. You start to feel judged by your calendar, once filled with assignment due dates and various deadlines and now waiting with bated breath to have a job interview penciled in.
There is no post-grad survival kit. But hey, Indeed.com is so tough to navigate, at least you can know you’re putting your college-educated brain to work!
I imagine that if I’d had the foresight to prepare for the rest of my life (or, less dramatically, for my ‘next steps’ after college), I wouldn’t have had to experience the strange limbo wasteland that is known as searching for a job and entering adulthood for very long at all.
And even though it seemed like I spent seven years in seven different levels of hell, my time aimlessly hunting for a purpose and a tangible means to justify my liberal arts education ended up being much shorter than that. I spent a little over a year and six months in the wasteland – and I’m lucky.
I’m straight up hashtag blessed. Sure, I have some knowledge and skills that make me a decent hiring candidate, and that piece of paper I earned for my efforts doesn’t hurt. But that doesn’t mean I’m not lucky. After months of adding different application correspondences to my “APPLY/REJECTION/REPEAT” folder in gmail, I gave up. The only stepping stone I had from that point of zero motivation to an interview that landed me where I am now? The people I knew.
The same people I cursed for not giving me more warning or wise words when I was gearing up to graduate from college would later ask if I wanted to the number of so-and-so’s third cousin who had once worked as a grant writer or simply offer to forward my resume to a connection they’d made.
So, knowing that there’s no guide to surviving the nightmarish limbo called “job hunting after college,” I’d like to make a few recommendations:
- Stop using Indeed. Just… don’t do it.
- Don’t discount your connections! You never know when that co-worker, cousin, or Communications professor might stumble upon the perfect opportunity for you.
- Read The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay (or watch this, instead).