The Job Market Sucks, But Look On The Bright Side!

When you left for college freshman year, did you ever try picturing your life after graduation?  Did you try to imagine how radically different things would be in just four short years?  You’d have the job of your dreams, for sure- the big desk, the sleek office, even the requisite evil boss a la Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada.  Sure, she’d hate you at first, but you’d prove yourself to her over time, earning a reputation as a cunning, hard-as-nails employee.  One day Meryl would offer you the keys to the kingdom, and unlike that saintly Anne Hathaway, you’d grab them and run.  Three words ring in your head as the mental image fades in a cloud of pink: World’s Youngest CEO.

Wake up, babe.  This isn’t dreamland.

The “real world,” as some of you may have found out, doesn’t really care if you want a career or a steady salary.  It doesn’t matter if you went to Harvard or Podunk Community College- record numbers of graduates are finding themselves jobless these days.  If you want to throw a statistic out at mom and dad (because of course you moved home after school) tell them this:  Not only are you competing against 1.6 million other degree-toting candidates, but the Huffington Post says the youth unemployment rate is at 19.6%, the lowest on record since 1948.

Take my friend Matt Grant.  Okay, he’s not really my friend but aren’t we all brought together by hard times?  Anyway, Matt went to Ohio State University, graduated in 2009.  He was a chemical engineering major and scored three internships as an undergrad.  Basically, Mr. Grant’s a smart guy.  Please, ask me what he’s doing now.  Go ahead, ask me.

He is a waiter at a Clarion Inn.  And that’s the best job he could find after a year of searching!

Well, friends, when life hand you lemons, isn’t it best to add tequila?  Here’s a little sunshine to cut through all the doom and gloom of being unemployed.

1.  I’m going to state the obvious and say that if uber-qualified Matt can’t find a job, don’t sweat it if you can’t either.  The numbers don’t lie; these are genuinely tough times for everyone, so cut yourself a little slack.

2.  Now you can squeeze out one last summer vacation. Wake up late, peruse the Internet for jobs poolside…there are worse ways to get by.  Plus you’ll have a great tan for when you eventually do get that amazing career.

3.  Think of this downtime as the perfect opportunity to prepare for the busy schedule of a working woman.  Fill your days with appointments!  1:00 Starbucks date with the BFF, 2:30 mani/pedi, 5:00 happy hour…

4.  Network!  Go to the mall often enough and eventually the sales people will start to recognize you.  Be kind to them and maybe they’ll give you their family discount.  You are, after all, still living on a college-size budget.

5. Those tennis lessons you always wanted to take?  Go for it!  Want to help out in your community?  Volunteer!  Have an itch to travel?  I see a mother-daughter road trip in your future!  When you’ve got extra time on your hands, you might as well do whatever you’ve always wanted to.  While snoozing a little longer in the morning is good some days, think of ways you can keep your head in the game, stay positive, and have a really amazing answer when those future employers ask you, “What have you been doing since graduation?”

The CC Weekly Weigh In: Our Biggest College Accomplishments
The CC Weekly Weigh In: Our Biggest College Accomplishments
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