There aren’t many silver linings in the world of postgrad-dom. Your social life is a hollow shell of its former self, your bank account is in shambles, the dating scene is a nightmare, and you barely get any respect at work. The only thing that gets you through the day is the knowledge that you won’t always be the low man (sorry Jezebel, LOW PERSON) on the totem pole. Come the end of May, a whole new crop of college schmucks will hit the job market to join in on the suffering. Bless their ignorant hearts. I’m a man of the people, so I thought it best to let one of these poor, naïve souls in on some of my insider secrets when it comes to surviving the transition.
After a rigorous selection process, Adam “About-to-Graduate” was lucky enough to be chosen and have my wealth of knowledge and experience available to him during this tough time.
TN Bluegrass: Welcome Adam! Graduation is just around the corner, and I’m sure you have a lot of questions for me. Let’s get right to it.
Adam: Absolutely, glad I could help!
TN: Actually, I’m here to help you, specifically with any questions or concerns you may have about life after graduation. Some people would say I’m an expert in that field.
Adam: I’m only here because your Twitter said you were giving away prizes to your followers who would answer some questions about their plans after graduation.
TN: I said there was a CHANCE for a prize. I never specified how much of a chance. Either way, this is snowballing off topic. Let’s get to some questions.
Adam: Sure, sorry to get sidetracked.
TN: Alright, so you’re set to graduate in a few weeks. You’ve got to be a little nervous, maybe even scared about the postgrad life. But I’m here you for you, buddy. We’ll get you through this.
Adam: Actually, I’m really excited!
TN: HA! I remember when I still had optimism. That’s your first mistake, sport. This is some cutthroat shit. Have you seen the unemployment numbers? The economic forecast for this year? THE “THANKS OBAMA” MEMES? These are dire times for kids coming out of school.
Adam: You know, I love the PostGradProblems site, but I never understood all the pessimism. I actually enjoy the interviews and job searching. I spent the last four years really preparing myself for this next step, so I welcome the challenge.
TN: You say that now, but just wait. It starts harmlessly enough–you’ll send out a dozen or so résumés and applications every day, just knowing that you’re about to land that dream job. But then days go by with no response: no return emails, no return phone calls, not even a new LinkedIn connection! The days turn to weeks, the weeks to months. That empty inbox starts to wear on you. You’ll lower your standards so much that by this fall, you’ll be browsing job listings on Craigslist. From there, it’s a short fall until you’re pulling phone numbers off flyers stapled to the bulletin board at the coffee shop. This isn’t a game, tiger. This is life.
Adam: Oh, I’m well aware. I actually already have a few options lined up.
TN: Well, getting the interview is only the first step. You still have to be impressive enough to get a second interview. I’m sure kids like you are a dime a dozen right now.
Adam: No, I meant I already have several job offers. I just haven’t decided which one I plan on accepting yet.
TN: Several? Yeah, but–but they’re probably pretty undesirable positions. What are they, nighttime drive thru operator at McDonald’s? Assistant sign holder in front of the mattress store? I remember I had plenty of offers to work at some call centers, asking people to review dog food or some other bullshit.
Adam: Actually I’ve got one offer to be a financial analyst for an investment company out of Cincinnati, another position as an external auditor for a securities firm in Birmingham, and an accounting job with a nonprofit in Chicago. I’ve got a big decision to make.
TN: School’s not even out! How did you manage that?
Adam: I was lucky enough to have some really great mentors during my internships. They gave me some really great advice about managing my free time and school work, as well as some great work experience!
TN: Yeah, but a job straight out of college? You won’t know what to do with yourself! You’re jumping straight from one prison to another. At least the time searching for employment is a great time for soul searching and really discovering who you are. Plus, if you have to move back in with your folks, at least you get to save up a little money.
Adam: I hear you on that. Thankfully I had a lot of “me” time when I traveled abroad last summer. All that time backpacking through Europe really gave me some clarity.
TN: So–you not only had some great internships, but you also got to backpack through Europe AND you already have three prestigious job offers when you graduate? Must be nice.
Adam: What must be nice?
TN: Having a daddy who sets you up with all these cushy opportunities when you clearly don’t deserve them. Some of us can’t fall back on our old money. You’re a real piece of work, fella. You’re part of the reason our generation gets a bad rap.
Adam: I wish it would have been that easy! But my parents are actually just good, salt of the Earth folks who worked hard to make sure their family had the best education possible to give them a chance at success. My dad worked the late shift at the plant in my hometown for 20 years before he was promoted to plant manager and my mom is a school nurse. Funny enough, the first time either of them ever left our home state was when they dropped me off at college, which I had to work two jobs to pay my tuition for.
TN: Well that–that actually sounds like you had to work really hard to make it where you are today. It’s just with all the reports out there, I didn’t expect to find someone who was so…prepared.
Adam: Thanks, I appreciate that. And hang in there–I’m sure things will work out for you!
TN: I don’t suppose there’s any way you could pass along my résumé or I could put you down as a reference for whichever job you end up taking, is there?
Adam: Sorry bud, but I’ve read some of your work, and I don’t think you’d be the right fit for any of them. Best of luck though!
TN: Damn college kids…