Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I can honestly say that the day I graduated college was one of the happiest days of my life to date. I was the first person with the Semerciyan last name to graduate college. I graduated from a school that I dreamed about attending throughout my high school and community college years. And finally, I had done it.
Everything started to feel real, though, when it became apparent that I was graduating at probably the worst time. Now that I was no longer a college student I couldn't just be like "yeah I work this crappy part-time job because I'm a student, duh." I had to look for a real job. Hopefully a real job in my field. And I had to be good at it. Except I graduated when jobs were scarce (especially within the field of journalism) and people with two master's degrees were ringing up merchandise at Banana Republic (something my mother told me). As I've shared here before, I never did find a job in my field but I did find a job. Which is more than a lot of my super creative, smart and talented peers who graduated no stage with me can say. And that is what is so unfortunate. They say tough times like this is what allows the best and brightest to shine through. To really show how creative they are in a time where it is crucial to distinguish themselves. But I don't think any college can prepare even the most hirable person for what they will face once they have graduated into a bad economy.
I went to an alumni meet and greet here in Los Angeles where there would be a panel of former Emerson students who are now uber successful, I guess. I thought they would share their great tips on places to look for a job, or at least provide some hope for all the new grads staring at them for some.
All of the panelists had graduated in 2005 or earlier. Before things got bad in the economy. They all kept saying "When you go on your interview...", "So during your interview...", "When your interviewer asks...". Finally during the q & a portion, I raised my hand and asked, "I've heard everyone on this panel talk about what to do when you are on an interview for a position within your field, and that is all very useful for an interview. But what about us who aren't getting interviews? What are we supposed to be doing?" I didn't hear any useful responses to my question. They did say that once I do get an interview they think employers will be more forgiving that I have been working in something outside of my field for over a year (considering the economy), but it doesn't seem like anyone has answers for this generation of highly education twenty-something year olds who feel useless in this economy.
I've heard all this blah, blah blah on the news from these presidential hopefuls about jobs and job creation, but they haven't really said anything. They certainly haven't said anything that has me or anyone I know optimistic about what's to come. Sitting on thousands of dollars of debt with no leads on a job in the field that earned me that debt doesn't feel too good. I'm starting to wonder, was it right to follow my dreams of working in the field that gets dropped on your doorstep by the paperboy, or should I have gone the practical route?