Members of the Class of 2011, I have some good news and some bad new for you. Which do you want first? The good? Okay. It appears that when you graduate this upcoming May, the job market will be significantly better than it was for your Class of 2010 friends. In fact, it’s said that employers will be hiring 13.5% more graduates this time around, especially in the Midwest and West.
Congratulations! This means there’s a good chance you won’t be surfing mom’s couch for the next year and a half looking for work and collecting a “temporary” paycheck from the Tastee Freez.
Don’t forget, though, I said there was bad news, too. Ready for it? While it may seem wonderful to graduate college and, within months, start off on a bona fide career path, the truth is you’re really going to miss out on a lot. Yes, as a member of the Class of 2010, I’ve been “real” jobless for over 6 months now and I can say from experience, I’m happy it all turned out this way:
The Post-Grad Internship(s)
While hopping right on the fast track to success is exciting, it really doesn’t offer you time to really consider what you want to do with your life. A sluggish job market, while limited in employment opportunities, is rife with internships! It’s like the all-you-can-eat salad bar of career choices. Don’t like something? Just say “no, thank you” and pick again! Even more so than college, internships are the best way to figure out what fields suit you…and which don’t.
Clean Laundry, Warm Meals
When you graduate sans-employment, there’s really only one place to go: Home. Sure, it’s not that downtown luxury bachelorette pad you had hoped for, but the pink carpet and teddy bear wallpaper are comforting…sorta. And after 4+ years away from mom and pops, they couldn’t be more thrilled than to have you back. And cook for you. When the Class of 2011 is rushing back to their lonely apartments after work, tripping over a mountain of dirty clothes, and throwing a little cereal in a dirty bowl, their unemployed brethren will be taking comfort in Tuesday meat loaf and clean bed sheets.
So you’ve got a little jobbie. I bet it’s cutthroat. I bet everyone is clamoring for that employee of the month spot. Don’t even try to tell me Patty from accounting wasn’t the one who stole your cinnamon bun out of the fridge yesterday. She’s a bitch and I hope she choked on it. Have fun keeping tabs and stressing over who the boss likes more. You should know, though- unemployed grads march to a different beat. We sit with our laptops in Starbucks, scanning the online job boards and making pleasant conversation with one another. There’s no competition, just the security of knowing we’re not alone.
One More Summer Vacation
Those statistics look pretty promising, Class of ’11. I’d guess you’re going to find work in no time. Your bad-economy predecessors, however, got to enjoy a full three months (or more!) to sit in denial while they drank frozen, blended beverages. Being the victim of a recession means you don’t have to don that wool skirt suit in the middle of July. 90 degrees, long sleeves, and high heels? No thanks, I’ll take my umbrella drink instead.
A Chance to Breathe
That bonus summer vacation isn’t just for sitting poolside with friends. Once you enter the workforce, the breaks are few and far between. Soon enough your world will turn into too-short weekends and looking forward to getting sick, just so you can sleep in for the first time in a year. After you’ve worked your butt off for a diploma, getting a job right off the bat will lose it’s luster when you’re burnt out two months in. Regardless of what type of economy you graduate into, it is important to set aside a little “you” time before taking on the real world.