Losing your job, or never finding one in the first place, is the biggest Post Grad Problem you can have. Sure it’s cool for a week, and maybe still relaxing for another, but soon it catches up to you. As your pride and bank account slowly descend to rock bottom, a horrible sense of seclusion sets in and all of the shame, disappointment, and anxiety rush to the surface.
Depressing? You bet. During an embarrassing, mid-week, afternoon movie binge, wearing nothing but pajama pants and a week-old beard, watching “Up in the Air.” I came to the scene where they explain that losing your job is akin to the death of an immediate family member in terms of emotional impact. The thing is, if a family member dies, everyone you know is there to console you. When you get fired, they look at you more like you’re damaged goods.
But you know what? Even though you might not have anyone to talk to while you’re on the couch all day and they’re at work, you’re not alone, and not by a long shot. All across the country, people our age are either in the same boat or have only recently returned to dry land. It’s time to pick your heads up and start feeling better about yourself because no matter how low it might be now, it does get better.
Needless to say, I’ve been through it, and so have many of the writers here. Whether you use them to make fun of us, feel better about your own life, or get the semblance of hope you’ve been looking for, you better cue the Law & Order theme music, because these are our stories:
Why were you unemployed?
“I told my terrible boss that I would not be renewing my contract when it expired in a month and I was fired two weeks later, right before receiving my bonus.” –RogerSterlingJr
“I was way too cocky and only applied to the top 10 graduate programs in my field. To my surprise, I didn’t get in.” –Premed Donna
“I was a shitty employee and got fired. The job sucked a megaton of ass and I had ceased to give even the slightest of fucks about it.” –Rob Fox
“My boss’ boss didn’t like me, and made that clear from day one.” –Whiskey Ginger
“I was fired when the department I worked for told me they wanted an associate with more previous experience. I was interviewed three times for the position by six different people…each of which asked how much experience I had.” –Recruitment Chair
What did you tell people when they asked what you were doing?
“My full-time job is looking for a full-time job.” –Lindsay Sayers
“Said, ‘Just living the dream’ and then tried to change the subject as quickly as possible.” -Brian McGannon
“I told them I was “unemployed as fuck.” I have no shame, and it’s way worse for people to find out that you lied about having a job than it is to just own it.” –Randall Knox
“I lied my ass off.” –RogerSterlingJr
“I told people I was just holding out for a position with a company I claimed I had a connection in.” –Post Grad Drunk
How did you spend your newly acquired free time?
“I eat a lot of Nutella, I watch a lot of HBO, and I day drink whatever I can find in my refrigerator.” –Lindsay Sayers
“Applying for jobs diligently. And by diligently, I mean that I sat on my couch, afternoon whiskey in hand, yelling at whatever company I was currently applying to for having a shitty online submission form.” –Randall Knox
“That fall I spent a lot of time getting drunk with fraternity brothers who were still in school. I figured if I had to wait for my future and my present was stagnant, I might as well go hang out in my past for a while. That fall was actually one of the best times of my life.” –Rob Fox
“I took up playing Civilization V and The Sims. It was a sad time.” –Recruitment Chair
“Being forced by my mother to look for jobs at the kitchen table 12 hours a day. She called it ‘Mommy Job Boot Camp,’ no joke.” –Justin Tasolides
What did you actually miss most about working?
“I’m probably going to have to sell my body on the streets soon to afford to breathe, so I’m really starting to miss that paycheck.” –Lindsay Sayers
“Actually having something to do. Having responsibility and a paycheck. You think doing nothing sounds like fun and relaxing. But it’s not. It’s hell. Pure hell.” –Brian McGannon
“Having self respect. I took a lot of pride in my work, in my position, in my company, in how I got there, and in where I was supposed to be going. All of that was flushed down the drain for a while.” –RogerSterlingJr
“I definitely missed being productive. After the second day of unemployment, I went stir-crazy. Finding me four hours into organizing my closet sadly wasn’t an uncommon event.” –Recruitment Chair
“Just the general sense of security you have in other people thinking you are a respectable, contributing member to society. That feeling, by the way, is way overrated. Everyone’s trite opinions about being successful or whatever can get fucked.” –Rob Fox
What happened to your living situation as a result?
“I stayed at a friend’s house who was out of town so that my parents wouldn’t observe what a fucking jobless, over-educated, under-experienced, drunken loser I was.” –McMagistrate
“Luckily for me, this happened a week before I had planned to move in with my boyfriend. Thankfully he was understanding about me needing to mooch for a while; otherwise, I would have shown up at my parents’ door in the middle of nowhere, puppy in tow, a good hour’s drive from anywhere that would likely hire me.” –Recruitment Chair
“I didn’t pay rent for two months, borrowed 1700 from a brother, and paid him back only about two months ago. If I hadn’t been living with the other guys I don’t know what I would have done. Probably sucked up my pride and moved home.” –Whiskey Ginger
“My parents had a 400 square foot garage apartment behind their house. It was free and had enough dust allergens to kill a man.” –Post Grad Drunk
“I lived with my parents, who at the time decided to become hippies, sell all their worldly possessions, and remodel a tiny apartment on the family farm. They had given away my bed to my sister, who just bought a new house and needed furniture. So, I slept on a camping cot for a few months until my boyfriend’s family finally let me move in with them.” –Premed Donna
What was the smallest purchase you couldn’t afford and how much?
“I went to buy a can of Grizzly for $1.89 and my card got declined. I had to pay in change. Was not a one-time occurance.” –Brian McGannon
“I wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes, but I had 79 cents in my bank account. I searched the entire apartment for spare change. It wasn’t enough to buy my normal brand, so I settled for Pall Malls. NEVER settle for Pall Malls.” –Randall Knox
“Parking, and it was .75 cents. My bank account was at $-147 by this point in time.” –Whiskey Ginger
“I had actually saved up a lot of money while working my shitty job, so I was more or less set during my period of unemployment. It was the only fiscally responsible thing I’ve ever done in my life. I still don’t know how it happened.” –Rob Fox
“Considering I lived with my parents, I didn’t want for much. I guess I couldn’t afford dignity?” –Justin Tasolides
What was the most degrading job offer you considered taking?
“I worked part time as a maintenance tech at a large gym for one day. Seven hours of putting away other peoples’ weights and wiping their sweat off machines. I lost my gym membership when I quit.” –RogerSterlingJr
“I had an interview set up to be a night clerk at a gas station. It was a fancy gas station, but it was still a fucking gas station.” –Randall Knox
“I actually took a job reporting on high school football games for Patch.com. I only did one. Got paid $15, which is dogshit considering the job was actually hard. Keeping track of like 50 names you don’t know, all the action, etc. is not easy. I felt like a total fraud in the press box of the Eureka v. Lafayette game.” – Rob Fox
“During my unemployment period, my grandfather offered to pay me for helping out on the family farm. Basically, he gave me money to play with the baby calves, roll in the hay, and drive him to Tractor Supply when he needed tools. Eventually, he just stopped giving me money.” –Premed Donna
“All of them.” –McMagistrate
What was the saddest job you got rejected from?
“I applied for a grounds crew job at a local golf course. Didn’t even get a callback.” –Brian McGannon
“Doing IT work for the University of Maryland. I had over three years of experience and they didn’t even give me a call.” –Whiskey Ginger
“I went in to apply to be a sign waver for an off brand cell phone store. The guy asked if I had any experience holding signs. I told him I held a sign for my baseball team’s car wash fundraiser in eighth grade. He told me he would give me a call. He didn’t.” –Randall Knox
“I interviewed at a diagnostic testing center, which in laymen’s terms is a place where they send pee, poop, fungus, and blood samples to be swabbed and analyzed. I think my look of sheer disgust was pretty evident because they never called me back. I literally got turned down from a shit job.” –Premed Donna
“I applied for an animal care associate position at my local humane society. The job would consist solely of scooping poop from hundreds and hundreds of dogs every day. I never heard back from the interviewer. I was turned down for being a pooper scooper.” –Recruitment Chair
How did it work out for you in the end?
“It worked out kinda nice. My free time allowed me to work on my writing and now I write for the internet.” –Brian McGannon
“I got a job, got laid off from that job, spent a few months living on savings, and then decided to just say “fuck it” and write dick jokes for the internet full time. I’m still trying to figure out how to word that on my online dating profile.” –Randall Knox
“I ended up getting a great job, moving up to a new position after the first year, and finally buying the comfiest bed money can buy for an apartment I’m finally about to move into.” -Premed Donna
“I finally got an offer as a staff accountant for a great company. It was not my ideal job but I was promoted to an analyst position within 10 months.” –Post Grad Drunk
“Perfectly. I moved to Austin, got an amazing job, and live a pretty great life now. It was basically all by accident, but almost everything good in my life is.” –Rob Fox
“I started a new job with a genetic testing company and things are going really well. I actually like the people and the job security is much better than before.” –Whiskey Ginger
“I got a Production Assistant gig on a reality competition show, which led me to my next job, a position which I currently hold to this day.” Justin Tasolides
“I managed to leave Vegas with about $800. Finally, I got a job the only way I think people actually get jobs, I knew someone.” –McMagistrate
“I jumped through some temporary positions, including working in retail and being my boyfriend’s assistant (literally). I was eventually offered a job at a university with great benefits, including being able to take classes for free.” –Recruitment Chair
“I randomly applied to a job I had absolutely no experience in but was still in commercial real estate. The company liked me so much they gave me that job, paid me three times what I was making before, and gave me some incredible additional responsibilities on top of it.” –RogerSterlingJr
Do you have your own unemployment saga? Feel free to leave it in the comments.