Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nobody likes you when you're 23

Who would have thought a popular 90's song would bring so much meaning to my life twelve years later? Not I, that's for sure.

Growing up I heard the same thing over and over- get good grades, get accepted to college, graduate, get a good job wherever you please. (Of course, my parents also taught me to be a good person). Here's what they don't tell you- it's not that simple. They don't tell you that months before college graduation you will have daily panic attacks or want to stab someone with a pencil whenever they ask you "what's next?" because really, you have no idea. They don't tell you that it could take years to land a job. They don't tell you that you might have to start out driving kids around in minivans before you can establish your career. They don't tell you that everyone wants to hire someone young, but only with experience. Which, by the way, is impossible. How the $%^& am I supposed to get experience unless you HIRE ME?

Maybe if I had known this, things would be different. Maybe I would have saved up a bunch of $ and traveled. Or gone through with that study abroad trip. Maybe I wouldn't have believed you, and things would be exactly the same. Who knows. All I know is I was so sure that I would graduate college and be happy and working. I avoided this mess for a while by doing a year of service. I was so happy to be giving back to the Mercy community AND working in my field at the same time. I grew spiritually, emotionally, mentally. I thought "NOW people will hire me. I've been working for a YEAR with at risk youth! I can do things now!"


That one year + 6 months working at a child abuse neglect council + 6 months working with juvenile delinquents + 2 years working for underprivelaged youth with the Girl Scouts+ 4 years of a college education= what? Nothing, apparently. At least that's the vibe I'm getting. I've applied for hundreds of jobs in the past two years. What else do I need to do? "keep looking, don't give up" aren't going to cut it much longer.

23 is not fun. Maybe it is for the lucky ones, but how many of us actually get that chance? Oh, and by "23" I really mean anyone who graduate in the last 3-4 years and still hasn't gotten their chance, because no one is giving them one.

Kids, this is what we should be telling you: work hard. Be a good person. Love hard. Get good grades. Go to college, graduate. Do a year of service, heck do two years of service. Don't get your hopes up. If you want something, go for it, but know it will take a while. Enjoy your teenage years and don't let the drama/stress get to you, just have fun and be free.

a great Saturday, friends. I'm back to searching/applying for jobs.
y the way, today is my 1/2 birthday. Only 6 more months. I'm not saying things will be different when I'm 24, but I'm hoping they are better than right now. They have to be. And if someone wants to buy me Taylor Swift tickets for her show on my birthday I won't complain. Just saying.


Samantha said... Add Reply

I'm graduating in May of next year. I'm kinda scared =\

Shari said... Add Reply

I wish you lived closer so I could give you a big hug. You have no idea how many times I found myself nodding along as I read through this. Dreaming big is important. Working hard is important. All of it is important. In the end, though, so much of it is out of our control. The whole thing is a catch-22 that seems almost taunting. I definitely found that when I was looking/applying for jobs in journalism. I grabbed any and every opportunity I could find and got some amazing experience, including at the place I'd always dreamed of working. It was a temporary position (working on a project that only lasted for a certain amount of time), and even having a news anchor and producer (who I'd worked with daily after my "real" job) go to one of the exec. producers didn't end up helping, because there just weren't any positions to be had. I felt so defeated, but I tried to remind myself how lucky I was to have gotten the opportunities I'd already had.

Now I'm finding it all over again with publishing. Literary agents are already so busy with their current clients that it's difficult to add new ones to the list. It's tough ... really tough. I keep reminding myself that anything worth having is worth waiting - and fighting - for, and I do genuinely believe that. I also sincerely believe that you are going to find an incredible job. You have a gift for what you do, a very special gift that has already made a difference in the lives of so many people. Just ask your students from Cristo Rey ... they'd agree in a heartbeat.

Hang in there, keep smiling, and try to believe that everything happens for a reason and when it's supposed to. What's meant to be always finds its way, and that will happen for you <3

Lauren said... Add Reply

What did you get a degree in? It's sound like you have experience with the work you have done, but I cant tell if it is relevant to what you want to do. I have a friend who graduate with a degree in Social Work and she's having a hard time too. I know you get tired of the "don't give up and don't get discouraged," but you cant keep thinking negative and expect things to get better. Have you tried volunteering while you continue to work? This can help you meet people plus build your skills in your field. You also have to think outside the box as far as your job search. Everybody apply for jobs online, but does it get you noticed? I wish you the best of luck in your search and hope you stay encouraged. If you need more advice, check out my site at