How did you like my over-romanticizing title? Did you get the gist? Basically, it’s how I finally got a job after seven months of unemployed post-grad life.
First things first – I understand many people have struggled much harder than I did, so don’t take this as a “My life is so hard, poor me” kind of story. It’s just a recollection of my experience and how I faired with the struggle placed in front of me at the time.
My Post-Grad Story
Anyways, back to unemployed post-grad life. I graduated in May 2016, already behind the curve. My goal all throughout college was to graduate with a job lined up, and that was an immediate fail. There was no immediate rush though, I just figured, well before June comes around, I’ll have something. I applied to job after job, and actually became paranoid that my phone wasn’t working because I hadn’t received any calls (could I be any more egotistical)?
In June, I began to schedule interviews. There was a week where I had an interview lined up for every single day. I actually ended up getting a job offer in a secretary position for a local bank, but I had an interview lined up for a Marketing Assistant position, and I wanted to see how that faired. I asked for a few days to think about it, but before I knew it, they had moved on with another candidate, and sadly, I didn’t get the other position.
I immediately began to feel the pressure after that. I couldn’t help regretting not jumping on the secretary position, at least to make ends meet, but I didn’t like the idea of leaving a job if something better came along within the first few weeks. Plus, I was living at home, and my mom kept telling me there was no rush.
In July, I was attending more interviews, many for positions relating to my field of study, Marketing and Advertising, which I took as a good sign. However, I repeatedly kept getting the same follow-up emails: “You were a really strong candidate, and it came down to you and one other person. Unfortunately, in the end, the other candidate had more experience…” You know the drill.
I kept telling myself, it’s okay, by the time the next month comes around, I’ll have something. And then that month would arrive, and I’d have to calm myself down again. Many of my other friends had already began their new lives, and I felt completely stuck in limbo.
August was a change of events…for a while. I had decided to start aiming unbelievably low, just to get paid while I continued to search for entry-level professional jobs in my field. I was getting tired of my mom having to pay my bills, and extended family constantly asking about my career, and me giving the PR version of how much my life sucked – “I’ve got some really great leads that I’m waiting to hear from, I’m sure I’ll be hearing something any day now, blah, blah, blah.”
I ended up being hired on a temporary basis as a “Customer Service Representative” which turned out to actually be a phone agent at a collection agency. I don’t want to say I was too good for the job, because when you’re looking for work, you can’t be picky. I’m not an entitled millennial, I promise. However, I faced every day getting to know my new co-workers, and all of them gave me the same bewildered look when they found out I was a college graduate. Several times many of them straight up said “What are you even doing here if you have a degree?”
I was at this point starting to feel completely deflated. I was working strange nights hours, never getting to see my family, being yelled at and cussed out on the phone by angry customers, and the final strike hit me like a ton of bricks one day.
I had a glimmer of hope with a scheduled interview for a part-time office assistant position for a local ad agency. It was the only thing I was holding onto to keep me from losing my mind, when I received an email during my dinner break saying the owner had already filled the position without HR knowing, so they had to cancel the appointment. I went to my car for the rest of my break and bawled my eyes out. Then that night at home, I confided in my mom and broke down.
I felt unbelievably awful. It felt like everything I had ever worked for was for nothing. My entire life, everyone had always encouraged me, certain I was destined for success. I’d faced failure and defeat many times, but for the first time, I truly felt lost. I felt like a complete and utter failure.
My family and friends encouraged me to leave the collections job, and to continue to focus on the job search, even if it meant finding alternative fields. September and October dragged on and I threw myself into reading, blogging, cleaning, and the job search. November came around and I was beginning to really regret not taking advantage of the secretary and collections jobs. In Mid-November, I attended an interview in Dallas for an entry-level position in content marketing, where for the first time, I felt I might have a real shot. Why? Because they knew I didn’t have as much experience as other candidates, but what they liked was that I had other transferrable skills that could not be taught.
I was at my sister’s apartment with my mom having dinner when I checked my email. We were sitting on the couch and I saw the email from my interviewer. There wasn’t much information in the preview text, so I opened it, almost expecting another “I’m sorry” email, when I caught sight of the words “I’d like to offer you the position.”
The phone flew out of my hand as I jumped up and exclaimed “Oh my God!” so loud that my mom and sister flinched. My sister continued to read the email out loud to me as I stood, shocked and overjoyed to hear the words.
“I have a job!” I remember exclaiming. My mom wrapped me in her arms and actually started tearing up.
“I’m so proud of you,” she had said. The words I fully remember, however, was when she told me. “You didn’t give up. When I was your age and things got too hard, I gave up. But you didn’t. You stuck with it, and you got it!”
My moral of the story? It doesn’t matter if you’re one month out of school, or several years out of school. Life will never stop throwing you curve balls, and we all swing our bat in different ways. Sometimes, we hit a home run, and sometimes we strike out. The important thing is to keep on swinging.
I’m very happy to say now that I love the work that I do, love the company where I’m at, and love the city I’m in.
-Keep on swinging,
Wine on the Balcony ❤