Tag Archives: unemployment

The Ups and Downs of Finding a Job


In response to my last post, where I claimed I was finally feeling settled into my new home, the universe decided to take me down a notch.

Up until now, my job search has been pretty relaxed. I sift through the postings on all of the job boards I can find, trying to find something remotely related to what I want to do. When I see something, I apply. My boyfriend is very supportive, and our savings are healthy enough that we’re not financially desperate yet, so I feel like I have a little bit of time to put into finding the right job for me.

I spent six years working in the service industry, all through high school and college. I worked as a dishwasher for a nunnery, a caller for market research, a grocery store cashier, and more. I know better than to expect to land my dream job right away, but after all of the jobs I’ve had so far, I’d be happy now with a position that allows me to grow professionally and doesn’t make me dread going to work every day. I want a career, not just a job.

I’ve faced a few problems. First, there aren’t a lot of journalism jobs. The pool becomes even smaller with the fact that I’m not willing to move away from my partner for a job (insert cliché about love here). I’ve tried to get around this by looking for any position that wants someone with great communication skills or knowledge of public relations. But this leads to the second problem: nearly every job, even the “entry level” ones, wants someone with at least a year’s worth of experience.

After four weeks of looking and several rejections, I came across a job that was as close to perfect as I could hope. It was a reporting job with a weekly newspaper for a nearby community, and they encouraged everyone to apply. So I fixed up my resume, wrote one of my best cover letters to date, attached two writing samples and sent it all along.

Less than a week later, I got a call for an interview. It was for a reporting job at a different publication within the same media company. The office was further away than the original position I had applied for, but it didn’t matter. Reporting jobs are hard to come by, so I was elated that I had earned an interview at all, and I felt confident that by showing up well prepared I could sell myself as a great employee.

For 24 hours, I was a delightful wreck. I was nervous and excited and anxious and eager.

The night before the interview, I received a call saying that it had been cancelled. I tried not to let my disappointment show in my voice as the hiring manager explained that the company had decided not to fill the position at this time. He reassured me he would call me when the company changed its mind, and I thanked him sincerely.

After we hung up, my boyfriend asked me who had called. I felt stupid for starting to cry while answering him, but I couldn’t stop myself. It had been such a high getting that first call and it was heartbreaking to get the second.

Starting your career is hard. It means not only knowing what you want, but knowing where to look to find it. It means getting very comfortable writing cover letters. It means having a dozen different versions of your resume saved to your computer. It means being patient but not lazy. It means getting used to rejection. It means not getting your hopes too high while not losing hope all together.

Family Trip


When I was away at school, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, pretty much whenever I wanted. As it happened there were quite a few times where I did nothing at all, but I even enjoyed that option, because it was mine and mine alone. Weekends would come, mostly in the winter, and if I did not want to leave my bed the entire time, I did not. Easter would roll around, and I wouldn’t return home if I did not want to. I would find somewhere else to spend the holiday (Dinner with my then-boyfriend’s family the first two years, and driving back from my first time in the Big Apple the third).

Living at home after having that freedom, I came to realize something.

I’m never going to have the same kind of freedom again. At least, not while I’m living here.

Not to say my parents control my every move, that would just be ridiculous. For the most part I have that same freedom. But there are a couple events that, as when I was still a teenager and child before that, I don’t get a say.

Family ‘reunions’ are one of them.

I’m not against seeing cousins and aunts/uncles again; especially the ones that I have not seen since before I graduated high school five years ago. But I like to feel like I have a choice on the matter. As if I am saying, “Oh, that sounds like fun. I’ll tag along.” Instead of being told, “There’s a family get-together at your cousin’s place next month. All of you will be there.”

“What If I have something else to -.”

“ALL of you will BE THERE.”

And, like it or not, this past weekend all of us jammed into my dad’s jeep and made the three and a half hour (four and a half, this time, on account of traffic following several fender-benders on the highway) trip to my grandmother’s house. (No, we didn’t go through any woods, although there were quite a few rivers). The reunion wasn’t until Sunday afternoon – late Sunday afternoon – so the boys and I were trapped in the hood listening to my grandfather go on and on about his hip surgery, while we buried our heads more and more into our books, praying he’d realize that we really were reading, not just trying to ignore him (I suppose it was a bit of both on Michael’s part, but I was justified – I had Stephen King in my hands).

Even though I was drafted to go to the picnic, I was resolved to make the absolute best of it – unlike the boys (particularly Michael), I probably would have wanted to go without being told that I had to.

For the most part, I think we all had a good time. The only trouble I had was answering the inevitable, “What are you doing now? Do you have a job?” But, this time I was actually prepared. Sort of. I decided a week and a half ago that I was NOT going to get anywhere (professionally) in farm country NY, and maybe it is finally time to consider fulfilling my dream of moving to Seattle, WA.

Not that I’m going to do it right away. But I’m working on getting a few jobs in order to save up enough money to move out there by this time next year. It was a little exciting, because I was finally able to share with plan with someone (I had been holding off on mentioning it to my parents, because I wasn’t sure how they would react to me moving so far away by myself).

And the two things I am looking forward to most besides obtaining some sort of job?

Privacy and Freedom.

Updates


It may only be Day Three in our little excursion, but Sauce Off has gotten an impressive start. Here are just a few things you can expect in the coming weeks:

1. A week from today we will introduce our new bloggers
2. We will feature an article from bowski477 of Aesthetically-Pleezin.com, chronicling her online success following graduation
3. College senior KB will update us on her hopes and fears as she prepares to enter her final year
4. We will visit several colleges to see what questions they have for Post Grads
5. Twice a week we will feature a new Post Grad with an internet presence (if you are interested in being featured, please email the link to your blog/website/web show/etc. to sauceoffjournal@gmail.com)

And there will be plenty more. Remember, we’re still looking for guest bloggers, and new articles. (other forms of media will also be considered). Some thing’s we are interested in – recent grads (within the past two years) who are also parents/about to become parents, grads who have successfully navigated the job market, grads attenting grad school, grads engaged, grads who realized they want to do something different than what they obtained their degrees in, unsuccessful journey’s through the job market, students who started college and for one reason or another dropped out, traveling grads, advice from professors and employers, etc.

All submissions must be directed to sauceoffjournal@gmail.com. They may be no longer than 650 words and must be accompanied by a brief (2-3 sentences) summary of the author. People who are not recent Post Grads can still submit articles, so long as material involves Post Grad life in one form or another. And please, don’t be intimidated.

-Chris Bahrens

Sauce Off aims to educate current and future students on life after graduation. If you are worried, excited, or even confused, Sauce Off is here to answer your questions – and remind you that you are not alone.

Can A Parent Be Too Supportive?


By sendmeonmyway101

My dad graduated from University when I was eight. I can still remember being crowded into stadium seating for what felt like four hours, watching parades of people I’d never seen before crossing the stage, all dressed in bulky black robes and looking like penguins from our nose-bleed seats.

He was hired in October of that same year. By Michael’s birthday in November, our family had packed up and moved halfway across state. Kyle and I were already in elementary school. Kyle prospered in our new school, but it took me much longer to adjust. This new school expected more of students than our previous school, and I had a difficult time keeping up during my first few years. Since then I have only reflected on how that move affected me, and I never thought to ask what was going through my dad’s head at the time.

Following my first failed interview, my dad and I sat down and talked about his own experience post-college.

He was a chemistry major in a time before chemistry was a cool thing (i.e., before forensic-fueled shows like CSI came onto the scene). He had also been out of his mother’s home for close to nine years. He was independent, in a rather non-competitive market, and he had a wife and children to support. Bills were piling up, and the job that he had wouldn’t do much good once student loans hit. He had a reason to find a job.

I told my dad about the questions the interviewers asked, and the answers I gave (and then I told him about the better answers I had come up with on my drive back home). He told me about the four interviews he had prior to being hired, and how he had bombed his first with poor answers; how he had been promised a job on his second, only to have the company declare bankruptcy before he could get started; and how he had been unable to impress a key member during his third interview. But he learned from each interview, and by the time he landed his fourth, he was ready for them.

After telling me all this, my dad said, “You watch any newborn first learning to walk, and they fall down, and they fall down, and they fall down. But they have the natural instinct to keep trying until they’re successful. Every person has that natural instinct, but somewhere along the way life beats it out of them. The thing that you have to do is find that drive that you had as an infant.”

It’s great advice, and it does make me feel less harried about the whole job thing (which I suppose was his intention). But at the same time I’m afraid he’s too supportive. He had a family to maintain post-graduation. I live at home, and living at home isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. I suppose I’m afraid that knowing I have such a soft cushion to fall back on will hinder my interest in job hunting. I don’t have the same motivation that he had. His advice, which would be brilliant if I was in the same spot he’d been in at my age, only reminds me that failure is OK.

It is, but failure is really only OK if you learn from your mistakes and keep trying. Any infant keeps trying to walk because they’re motivated to get somewhere on their own. I have a roof over my head, my bills are paid, I get paid for doing housework (something that I quickly realized I love to do), and I have freelance activities to keep my mind occupied. The only goal I’ve held my whole life that has motivated me is graduating from college. Without that, how do I figure out what to do next?

The Obvious Downside


By sendmeonmyway101

I had hoped to get a few more postings about the positives of being a Stay at Home Daughter – Constantly clean house, free time, energy, and there are more, sure – but I have once again come face to face with the obvious downside.

I don’t get paid. Well, aside from the allowance my parents give me (which I earn from keeping up on the housework). This hasn’t been too much of a problem lately, because I had money left over from graduation and tax returns. But I realized my car is up for inspection, and it is NOT going to pass. Why? Funny story.

When I was at school there was a big winter storm, and the stress of snow on my car windshield one night left a very vibrant scar. Long, and in the absolutely wrong place, my car will not pass inspection until it’s repaired; repairs that will cost who knows how much (I’ll get an estimate tomorrow); repairs that this chick-y cannot afford, which shamefully means borrowing more money from the ‘rents.

Suddenly, being a Stay at Home Daughter blows. But before PGP (Post-Graduation Panic) could kick in, I met up with an old high school friend today, and she’s given me hope. OK, so she hasn’t led me in the right direction for a job, but her tale of carrying on five jobs at once with no days off for over two months has motivated me.

It’s not that I haven’t been trying to find a job. Since graduation in May (and even before), I’ve probably sent out resumes, cover letters and applications to fifty places (honestly, I stopped keeping track after twenty-five). I’ve only had two job interviews, and both have been at least three hours from home, and unsuccessful. Following my last interview, I was so certain that the call-back would be positive, that I didn’t bother applying anywhere else. I did get a call, but it was nowhere near positive and I was back to Square One. This was last Friday, and I would have started looking again, but a visit from a friend this past week has taken up most of my time and energy, and when I did think about job hunting, my mind said – he’ll be gone in a week. Then it will be OK.

I returned from my coffee break today determined. I essentially have four months to find a job, before my student loans kick in. Worst comes to worst, I can do some tutoring at the local colleges, as well as continue mooching off my parents while keeping up on housework. But let’s be realistic – it wouldn’t hurt to have a steady pay check. My current internships are nice, but they don’t pay the bills – or car repairs.

So, now I’m off to once again search for a job! Hopefully with some success this time.

On the plus side, USA Today promises a better year in job hunting for college grads, so I guess I have that to look forward to when I go to sleep at night.

It Ain’t No Green Thumb


By sendmeonmyway101
ORIGINALLY POSTED Saturday, July 23rd

The inside of our house looks GREAT. I keep the sink relatively empty (my whole life the sink has constantly been over flowing with dishes), I sweep twice a week, the cat box is always clean, the dogs are let out, junk mail no longer piles up on the end tables. I keep on top of my brothers about keeping their rooms clean. Laundry is done, dust and dog hair is wiped away. All in all, I’d say my lack of a career has been a positive influence on our usually hectic house.

So I have decided to take on our backyard.

I haven’t been much of an outdoors girl since the summer following eighth grade, when we got a computer and the internet suddenly seemed more interesting than exploring reality (Fear not, I now run on a healthy balance of virtual living and sunshine), but the ‘rents were out of town, and I figured an organized backyard would be a pleasant surprise for them.

Despite the latest heat wave (which puts a new spin on the term ‘swamp ass’), I stepped into the sun around 10 am, armed with a cowgirl hat, so many coatings of sunscreen that I was sparkling like a Stephanie Meyer vamp, and my computer for a little music. My pathetic plan consisted of eventually mowing; disemboweling the weeds growing between the stone slabs of our walkway, and clearing out what was once the garden (the leftover, bare branches of what had once been a rose bush is barely visible beneath weeds and the rubble from roof repairs).

My Dad used to be on top of this stuff. But all the passion he put into gardening has been replaced with his latest hobby: remodeling the house. The backyard doesn’t look horrible, but I’ve once again been fantasizing about my future home, and I decided that it couldn’t hurt to learn a little more about upkeep.

After half an hour of yanking on weeds, I came to the conclusion that protecting my face and skin from sunburns was nice, but I needed to put more thought into this gardening business. I needed garbage bags, and I needed to figure out what to do with all the rocks piling up on the stone walkway. Most importantly, though, I had to come to the realization that the likelihood of this rose bush coming back to life any time soon could only rival the likelihood of Disney TV gaining substance. The flower bed was cleared out, but it was far from pretty.

Here Are a Few Gardening Tips:

  1. Weeds and overcrowding in flower beds should probably be taken care of in early spring
  2.  Pruning should also be done every year, and followed-up on at least three or four times throughout the summer
  3.  When you put on a new roof, make sure all debris is picked up immediately following the project
  4.  If you happen to be working for several hours before your younger brother points out that there’s a HUGE hornet’s nest right over your head, don’t freak out. It’s not like taking notice of it changes the fact that it’s been there the whole time, and so far nothing’s happened (And knocking down a bee/wasp/hornet nest without a professional should be delayed until the fall, when the nest is deserted)

By the end of the night, the dead rose bush was cleared of weeds and garbage, the tiles on the walkway were finally visible, the lawn was mowed, weeds were pulled out from around the fence, and Michael and I pulled out the hammock and Tiki Torch (We were also going to bring out the swing, but it’s too worn from the weather – a project for another time). The perfect end to an exhausting day was sitting out under the stars and sipping on pink lemonade.

For more tips on gardening, check out: myezgardeningtips.wordpress.com

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