Your Setback Is The Platform For Your Comeback

It’s been one year since graduation, and I’m more unsure than ever of what my future holds. Crossing the stage, receiving my diploma I didn’t know what to look forward to, but after many setbacks this past year, it’s becoming more of a realization that life is just full of the unknown and it’s completely out of our control. Setbacks are a part of everyday life; whether they stem from anxiety, missed opportunity, hasty decisions, bad decisions, or the trials and tribulations of human life, they happen, and sometimes all we can do is embrace the mess and stay hopeful.

This year hasn’t exactly been easy, and at times I’ve truly doubted my abilities and worth. Anyone who has had to experience job searching post-grad can understand what I’m referring to. The time and energy we can spend applying for positions, the majority of them just being for the hell of it, usually lead us nowhere- not even a call back. So, maybe we thought finding a job would be easier, but we’ve come to know that even landing an interview can be an obstacle, or a setback.

Sometimes I’ve been presented opportunities that I’ve ran from or turned down because of my anxiety- anxiety regarding irrational things or petty fears, but if you’ve read the last two posts before this, you’ll know that anxiety is no joke and can sometimes cause self-inflicted restrictions that aren’t easy to settle. Although I’m dealing with these things day by day, it’s still caused setbacks.

Decision making can be tough, especially when it deals with life changing choices and not just deciding between which bars to go to this weekend. Making hasty decisions can lead to setbacks, because most of the time, it’ll be the wrong choice. It’s important to weight out the pros and cons of every choice before finalizing, but we’re only human and sometimes we trust our initial instincts more than we should.

Realizing you went to school for something completely uninteresting to you- setback; time to apply for grad school!

Having to live at home longer than you wished or thought you would have to- setback.

Still driving the car you drove in high school because your “adult job” salary can’t afford you to upgrade- setback.

Got laid off due to something completely out of your control- setback. 

Unfortunately, we are all just dealt a shit hand on occasion. We can work as hard as we can and still come up short. We’re put in situations that we’re forced to remove ourselves from, even when they just put us right back where we started.

It can often feel like we’re not progressing, achieving or experiencing, but that’s not true. Everyone has a different route to take, some may take longer to get to their destination, but we’ll all get to where we want to be. But guess what? I have no idea exactly where I’m going, and I’m okay with that. Life is constantly recalculating our plans with unexpected setbacks; whether it is you lose your job, the person you thought you would spend your life with ends the relationship, you get pregnant, you fail your program, someone gets sick, you get transferred out of state- the list goes on and on. But maybe that’s the point, right? Facing challenges, dealing with unexpectedness and tackling these problems every day is what we’re equipped for as humans. Nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s the exciting part of life, anything can happen- good or bad- and we just have to embrace it.

So don’t cry over spilled milk, just clean it up and pour another glass because something great is waiting to happen. But if we dwell on all of the annoyances in life, we’re just prolonging the destination.

Finding Your Identity

One thing that I think about often, is people who struggle with transition out of college and finding out who they really are. Let’s be honest, the four, sometimes more, years you spend in college do not shape you as an individual. They basically equip you with time management and social skills, if you’re lucky. So it can be eye opening to join the real world and not have any idea the type of person you want to be. Do you want to make as much money as possible? Do you want to help as many people as possible? Do you want to develop certain relationships with some more than others? Who do you want to be and what legacy do you want to leave?

Let’s slow down a little.

Just know that you don’t have to have the answers to any of these questions and most of us won’t know for quite some time. I still struggle with having sociopathic tendencies on a weekly basis. A lot of my free time is still spent wondering why I was such a dick in certain situations and why I have little to no filter. BUT I work at it every single day and compared to college where I was a full blown sociopath who didn’t care about anyone but me, I’ve come a long way. And that’s what it’s all about post-grad. Developing yourself little by little consistently every day until you look back, and after a year you’re able to think “Wow look how far I’ve come when I thought I was making no progress at all.”

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people will always see you as the person you were in college and their image of you may never change. It’s something that you have to accept and dismiss. If you live everyday with the drive to be better off today than you were yesterday, then there is nothing that can stop you because the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Don’t compare your jobs, don’t look down at others jobs and don’t put yourself down about your own job. Most people hate their first job right out of school and the “real world” is not like it’s made out to be where it all happens at once right after graduation. Some people will hit their stride out of the gates and others won’t hit it for a while. So live on the grind, compete against yourself and give positive enforcement to your friends. Some people will shit on your dream, or your job, or your decision to take a year off or whatever it is, but that’s because your vision isn’t theirs. You’re seeing everything through a different lens than everyone around you.

Just because you’re trying to find yourself and get control of the reigns doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Go out on the weekends- you can still even drink on Sundays, you’ll be surprised at how many people do. Go on trips- you have a steady income now and are able to do what you love. I love to write, so this is how I’m spending my Thirsty Thursday writing and watching the Yankees. Just have fun with it, whatever it is you do.

“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 3.”

Substance Vs. Stability

As someone recently emerging from college, it can be hard to find a job you love, let alone a gig within your desired industry or field. There’s a constant, external pressure from society, or more specifically, your family and friends, to “get a job, any job”. And although this decision of settling for something will serve its primary purpose of paying the bills, it may not have substance, or any rewarding feeling for that matter.

It’s obviously far fetched to obtain a job within your desired field, or a “dream job” right out of college, but does that mean you should necessarily settle for something that will have you working 40+ hours/week with no substance in return? For some, this situation will be content for them, and kudos to them, truly. But for those of you who feel like they’re wasting away in front of a screen eight hours a day, performing jobs that hold no value to them, feel like they’re gaining no experience relating to where they wish to pursue their careers, and leave everyday feeling like their position holds no meaning, I understand. However, it’s hard to draw the line between when enough is enough since we do have hefty bills to pay and lifestyles to fulfill, but when do they paychecks become irrelevant in regards to your happiness?

It’s easy to keep a mindset that involves daily reminders to yourself that “it’s just my first job, this isn’t permanent, and I’m making good money”. And although I do think those are crucial prompts to keep in the back of our minds, the anxiety surrounding the mundane position you hold may still have the potential to effect your mood outside of work, take a toll on your own, personal happiness and leave you feeling empty and undervalued.  So, when do you decide to leave and find a role that fulfills you both financially and emotionally? That’s up to you to decide, because really, it’s all circumstantial to each individual’s life.

Some people want a conventional work life and are content with whatever 9-5 job pays them enough, and I appreciate those people for their determination and ability to subside with a role that they don’t necessarily have a passion for. But others may find that they’re not cut out for this lifestyle, and may have to turn to something more unconventional while waiting for something better to come along that will provide them with both substance and stability transpired in one.

Just because society has instilled this ideology of “getting a job, any job” for so may years, doesn’t mean we’re required to follow this road map that was laid out for us long before we were even born. We’re categorized as millennials and our role in society is to shake things up and change the precedent-ed way of thinking surrounding the working world.

I’m not saying quit your job if you hate it, that’s up for you to decide. But what I’m trying to convey is that there are other options aside from what you’re doing right now and it’s okay to be somewhat unconventional fresh out of college. If you relate tot his post in any way, think about what you’re passionate about, find a way to incorporate those interests into a profession and make a plan. We all have to start somewhere and we’re placed in a society where opportunity is all around us.

 

5 Times Hollywood Misconstrued Life After College

Before actually being here, I thought this point in my life was to be glamorous- cabbing all over the city to meet up with your friends after work to sip on some cool restaurant’s signature cocktail, sushi dinners, looking like you’re ready for a Saturday night out after sitting in an office for 8 plus hours, and somehow being energized enough to do it all again the next day.

When I pictured life after college, I guess sometimes my vision was a bit exaggerated. I just pictured skyscrapers, attending meetings in different and foreign cities, coffee breaks at hip cafes, and endless after work happy hours. And for some people this life is true, but for me, it is unfortunately not- yet!

But I’ve realized I had this idea in my head because of Hollywood, and how easily they can portray lifestyles to look so attractive, enticing, and easy. But in return, we’re forced to face the harsh reality that these illusions they create are unrealistic. So ponder with me all the different scenarios they’ve created to make us crave this “exciting” thing called adulthood.

  1. Apartments on the Upper East Side – In all the movies and TV shows, there is a precedent that right after graduation, you move out on your own, and never return to your bedroom at mom and dad’s. Again, for some people this is an actual thing, and kudos to you, but for most of us- there is no option but to move home right away. Even if moving out is affordable, the idea of living in the heart of any major city is a bit far fetched. Hollywood creates these sets of spacious, beautifully decorated, remote apartments in locations of prime time real estate for corporate America goers. Basically something out of an IKEA catalog. Fun to dream about? Yes. Realistic? No, not after college while your monthly loan payment is probably almost always higher than your checking account balance.
  2.  Red Carpet Ready After Sitting in an Office Since 8 am– Think about the girls in the movies that meet their friends or boyfriend/ girlfriend after work for dinner and drinks and look like movie stars- no pun intended- yet, they’ve been in the same clothes all day, most likely sitting at a desk the majority of this time, and have been awake for almost 12 hours. Somehow, their make up still looks fresher than ever, curls still perfect, and clothes not wrinkled one bit. Honestly, I wish this was realistic, because at the end of the day, my face is either A) oily, B) covered in mascara, or C) makeup free. And my hair? Most definitely frizzy and in a bun.
  3. The Endless Wardrobe – I haven’t even started my job yet, and I know I’m gonna be an outfit repeater. RIP to college when having Mon, Wed, Friday outfits aside from Tuesday and Thursday outfits was acceptable on campus. Hollywood would never dress a character in the same outfit twice, and as the idea of that would be incredible, I’d rather spend my money on weekend clothes rather than clothes I’m wearing to the office. Also, no one actually looks cute in business attire, don’t let Hollywood fool you. Finding a decent pair of work pants that fit well everywhere is like finding the needle in the haystack.
  4. Looking Like You Survive on Water and Veggies– Obviously in Hollywood, the societal image associated with them is a size 2, which is fine, but the lifestyle the characters indulge in like eating out, getting drinks, etc., don’t match up with their figure, especially since they seem to never work out. If only…
  5. Spending Like You’re Loaded – Finally, the root of all things said above, MONEY. Seriously, after paying loans, bills, insurance, gas, groceries, and basically anything- I’ll be lucky enough to have some money in my checking to go out on the weekends and build a small savings.

Obviously, movies are movies, whatever. They’re there to be appealing and enticing and full of envious lifestyles, but maybe they could be a little more realistic. The lifestyles they set for post grad life seem to be more suited for someone that is 33, rather than 23.

Maybe Hollywood is right, life after college is pretty glamorous in some aspects, but not in the same ways they think. Honestly, I’m perfectly content with my life right now, as long as I’m out of my parents by 25, I’ll be happy!

What Deems Someone as ‘Qualified’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree is nothing more than taking a bunch of irrelevant classes for four years (with the exception of people who majored in something very specific like nursing or teaching), spending a lot of money, and coming out with nothing to show but a piece of paper that’s supposed to deem you as ‘qualified’. But what really makes someone qualified? Experience? Skills? Knowledge? It’s all garbage. According to an article published by The Washington Post, only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major.

While job searching, when I’m seriously considering applying for a position within a company, particularly smaller or newer companies, I like to look at the ‘who we are’ page and read the description under each employee. Before discovering that alarming statistic above, I was shocked when I would read that employees within marketing or financial positions in a firm would have degrees in education or biology or political science. People who have no degree even remotely related to business are the future of Corporate America.

I understand this though I suppose. It doesn’t take a genius to learn basic office skills and most companies provide a standard, two week training process when hiring new employees, whether you’re fresh out of college or have been working in the field for 20 years. So why do all of these companies set these unrealistic requirements of experience in their job descriptions? Probably a question I’ll never know, or understand, the answer to. Most entry-level jobs could 100% be done by someone who never even went to college because I don’t feel any smarter than someone who’s highest degree is a high school diploma. Kudos to those people for saving those tuition dollars.

I don’t necessarily remember every aspect of what I learned in college, at least not enough to make me an expert in anything particular, but I know that when I was there I remembered it for the duration of a semester. To me, this is equivalent to attending a two week training session in which you are exposed to the kind of work your new employer needs you to do and when you begin work you continue to learn and you’ll remember it for the duration of your time there, but once it’s over? It’s back to square one when you begin at another job and have another two week training session. So why does a Bachelor’s degree deem someone qualified?

What we learned in college, in my opinion, is irrelevant. All the bullshit philosophy and art history classes aren’t going to help me in any job I ever have. Sure, they may have been interesting, but for the price I paid for them to not be useful? It’s a waste. But this bring me to another point which I’ll unfold in my next post- stay tuned!

The Struggles of Moving Back Home After 4 Years of Semi-Independence

Let me just start off by saying that I’m very aware that moving home after graduation today is the most responsible, and maybe even the only option because of the skyrocketing pile of loans we all have; but in return, we better prepare ourselves to leave our freedom at mom and dad’s doormat and return to a lifestyle we outgrew. This may feel like a step in the wrong direction, but hopefully it’s just a pit stop while we keep piecing together our adulthood puzzle. However, even after knowing why moving home is the most sensible decision, it doesn’t make this hard pill any easier to swallow. If you’re reading this, mom and dad, I love you and please don’t kick me out. Also, I’m sure you’re equally as unhappy about this change as I am, maybe even more.

So here it is. My parents aren’t the most health conscious people when it comes to eating, which is fine, but after eating like shit the past four years, I’m trying to be better about what goes into my diet. So usually I buy a good amount of my own groceries with the exception of the staples like milk or eggs.

On Monday night, after already having a huge blow out with my mom about not remembering to text her that I wouldn’t be coming home the night prior, I went to the food store and bought groceries for myself to last the week. Normal, right? And not for nothing, my parents should be happy I’m buying my own groceries and not expecting them to just provide me with whatever I want and pay for additional items when they go food shopping. Well, in case you didn’t already guess, that’s not the case! The second I walked in the door with, mind you, two bags, the first comment I get thrown at me is, “You better not have bought anything that needs to be refrigerated because there is absolutely NO room for anything else.” Like holy shit, people, it’s not the end of the world if we have to rearrange a few things. I feel like I’m living with my psychotic roommates from junior year all over again who made me feel like an inmate in my own house, minus the bitchiness. This anecdote could be misconstrued as over dramatic, but I’m not exaggerating when I say my parents make comments like this all the time…

Not to keep talking about the kitchen, but it’s also frustrating that I want to make different dinners than what my parents make but it’s hard because 1) the kitchen is small, 2) my mom thinks it’s rude when I don’t want to have what she’s having, 3) I’m somehow always in their way even if I cook 2 hours after they do and 4) even if I do wait those 2 hours and cook myself a meal, the second I finish the last bite I can already hear my mom saying for the six hundredth time to clean up the kitchen. So, it’s not even enjoyable and I rarely do it.

Anyway, I realized I really took living at school for granted and didn’t realize how truly beautiful it was while it was happening. All those times I came home for a weekend, or even just a day- regrets!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and family. I mean it could definitely be way worse; but man, do I miss coming home after a long day and being able to just plop on my couch, catch up on social media, and relax without being interrogated as if I just committed a murder. “Why are you home so late?”, “Where were you?”, “Who were you with?”. Get the point? Sometimes I sit in my car for a few minutes outside of my house just to avoid 20 questions. And if it’s not the questions then it’s the repetitive, mundane comments like “Take your stuff up when you go up.” “Put your shoes on the steps.” “Hang your coat up” etc.

What I miss even more than coming home and not having to answer to anyone , is the people I was coming home to. Of course it’s nice being given the option to move home after college and not being forced to live on my own right away, but I miss having roommates my own age- people that have more common interests, like to gossip, and watch the same TV series. Not to mention, sometimes just wanting to drink a bottle of wine in the middle of the week for no reason. Although, I think I could easily persuade my mom into that one… she’s a good time.

Don’t even get me started on why living at home post grad is an obstacle and continuing struggle in the dating world, whether you’re in a relationship or not. You know what I’m getting at!

When it comes down to it, I really shouldn’t complain about living at home right now considering its dirt cheap, aka free, and I don’t have a whole lot of money especially after factoring in student loans; not to mention my constant, unsuccessful internet sourcing job search. But now I realize that paying rent pays for a lot more than just the literal roof over your head, electric, and gas- you’re paying for freedom and independence, a different and exciting lifestyle and an area more suitable for your job and/or social life.

So while everyone else on my Facebook feed is getting engaged, married and/or having babies, my only goal right now is to move out at my bank accounts earliest convenience. But until then, hopefully my parents don’t kick me out after reading this, and I can start saving up to make the move and truly experience my 20s!

 

A Very Open Letter to Hiring Managers

To Whom This May Concern,

As a recent college grad, I’m slowly and surely learning that the four years we spend actually working towards graduation and our degrees is only half the battle. No one ever told us how much work we would still have to put in after the fun was over and the real world kicked in (before getting that full-time job).

This letter is mainly a complaint to anyone anywhere working for a company within Human Resources. Those people’s whose only job it is to read resumes and cover letters, determine if the credentials and qualifications fit, and then either place them in the yes or no pile, and send them to the next person in charge.

Cake, right? Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, but hey, I was a Marketing major, so what do I know, right?

Applying for a job today is more than just sending your resume; sometimes it can be, but nine times out of ten it isn’t, unfortunately. Most companies want more than just your resume; they want you to write a cover letter, basically just your resume in paragraph form with lots of embellishments and sucking up about why you’re the “right” candidate for the position.

 

This can be time consuming; trying to make all of your experiences and skills somehow fit the job description into a way you think the person reading it will see fit. It can be frustrating because an HR manager may just read your resume and already know you’re not qualified for the position and never take the time to read that well-written, thought out cover letter. Finally,  it can be tiring after you do it so many times. Luckily for similar positions, sometimes all you have to do is change a line or two and the company name and address. It’s the little things…

My complaint isn’t really so much about having to do this, because then I would be that person that thinks everything should just come easy to us and we shouldn’t have to put in the work to achieve success. That’s not it. My problem is that only a small number of firms ever even respond letting you know you successfully submitted your materials, while 90% of the time you never hear a peep.

Even that is not completely my problem. My number one complaint and frustration about job searching is when companies, especially ones you’re interested in, just decide to never reach out to you and let you know that you’re not fit for the position. And not getting an interview-Rude, rude, rude.

I understand companies look for very specific things like 70 years of experience and doctorates for what is allegedly an entry-level position, but come on! I am taking the time to make sure I sound competent and professional and more than interested when applying for a job and writing that cover letter, and I patiently wait for a response for weeks at a time for just some sort of communication on their end. The least you can do is send an automated, generic message along the lines of ‘Thank you for your interest in Company XYZ, however after reviewing your resume, we do not think you have enough experience for what we’re looking for right now. Please keep checking for other opening positions, and apply again later. Thank you again for your time.’

Seriously, is that too much to ask?

I can’t say this is true for all companies because there have been those rare occasions where I have gotten a response along those lines, so thank you to the 1% of companies in the Philadelphia area that have common courtesy.

More often than not, no news is bad news. So after a few weeks of silence I’m smart enough to know I’m not getting an interview, but I would rather just have that in writing than having that little ounce of hope I’ll open my email one morning to some good news.

jobsearc5

You were once in my position when you were fresh out of college, think about those times and how you would hate to be me and show me some mercy. Or take pity on me, whichever you prefer. Probably the latter.

I am fully aware that most companies get hundreds of applications and it can be time consuming, but the yes and no piles are usually very different in height if you know what I mean. So after sending the yes pile over to the next person in the hiring chain, have the decency to send that automated, generic email to the suckers who aren’t getting an interview. We would all appreciate it very much.

Sincerely,

Colle grads everywhere

P.S. Don’t write in your job posting descriptions that you want a candidate who is recently graduated with 5 + years of work experience in your related field, it’s just not ideal and a little naïve. Thanks.