I graduated in May of 2011, and maybe a month later a piece of paper representing my diploma was mailed to me. (I still have to frame it, but it’s safe in the folder it was shipped in.) I had a graduation party and well intentioned family members asked what I was going to do.
I didn’t know.
I’ve had this dream of being published for so long, I couldn’t quite set my eyes on the short term goal of finding work. I came out of school with great writing skills and a wonderful experience but no idea where to apply the things I learned.
And spending my college life primarily as an English major meant I was:
a)pretty sheltered from the real world since I was discussing books published well before I was born most of the time, and
b)slightly unprepared for said real world.
For three years, my department didn’t tell us about internships, or if they did the emails failed to grab my attention. (I am not laying all the blame at the foot of the department, but I did notice a change when I returned from Germany for my senior year. They did seem to be making an effort to get involved with the Career Center. Too bad it was too late for me.)
Some majors have an internship listed as a requirement, and they will help you get one. One of the things I took away from my four years at Hofstra is that the English department should consider that rule as well. I was lucky to work part time for RecordSetter during my last semester otherwise I would have walked across the stage at graduation with no relevant experience on my resume. Also the book project kept me busy and employed enough during the summer, as I was able to work from home as a freelancer.
I didn’t end up looking for a job in earnest until The RecordSetter Book of World Records was sent to the publishers. By then it was the fall and instead of figuring out what I wanted to do I shifted my goals to getting a job – any job before I had to start paying my student loans in December.
Before Thanksgiving I signed up with a popular temp agency in Boston because I still hadn’t found a job or exactly what I wanted to do. And that way when my family asked me over Thanksgiving dinner what I was doing, I had a concrete answer.
Two weeks before my first loan payment was set to go out, I landed temporary work as a file monkey. That isn’t the proper term for what I did, but it sums up what I did pretty well. I was brought in to prepare files for storage (put them in boxes) and organize files that were closed but couldn’t get shipped to storage yet. I was also tasked with filing papers into active files. It was fun learning, but not exactly in my field. I was there just shy of two months before I landed an editorial internship with a financial news site.
So now I’m taking the first steps in my (I still don’t know what to call it) career. And I’m also going to get back into blogging.
But before I go, here are some (very depressing) links that pretty much sum up the situation I was in for 6/7 months – and if I want to change jobs any time soon – will still be in:
US Jobs Gap Between Young and Old Is Widest Ever – US Business News – CNBC
Today’s Internships Are a Racket, Not an Opportunity – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com
Employment Rate For Young Adults Lowest In 60 Years, Study Says