Jumbled thoughts on graduating during the recession, rejection, and moving forward.

Sometimes things suck, but the way forward is together, that’s the message of this short comic by Jackie Roche. As someone who also graduated in the middle of the great recession, this comic hit closer to home than I’d like to admit. I finished my MLIS almost 5 years ago when I was 22. In a month I’ll turn 27, and I will still not have found a full time job in my field. Since graduating, my career has had its ups and downs. I’ve worked minimum wage jobs that had nothing to do with libraries, and I’ve gotten close to the dream by working part time at a public library reference desk.

Sometimes when I think about my career, I feel sad. I didn’t think it would be like this. When I graduated I expected I would spend a few months working as a library assistant, then I would find a “real” job as a reference librarian. The months went by, I had interview after interview, but nothing was a “good fit.”

Knowing how many people out there are in my situation makes me feel lucky. Thanks to the support of my parents and my fiance, I’ve been able to mostly work part time jobs related to my field. Currently, I’m unemployed. I split my time between volunteering at a local historical society, writing, and housewifing. As much as I sometimes feel bitter towards the economy, I can’t let it drag me down. I try to focus on the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to get. I keep putting myself out there with applications, volunteering, and sending out my stories. Most days, I get a rejection email for one thing or another.

On bad days I feel like a failure. On good days, I know that my career doesn’t have to be a straight line. It’s okay to zig zag, and it’s okay to get rejected. In a month I’ll turn 27, and at least for today, I’m hopeful.

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7 thoughts on “Jumbled thoughts on graduating during the recession, rejection, and moving forward.

  1. I have no wisdom or words to make you feel better… I’ve been there enough to know that “Hang in there!” or “Something will come through soon!” just don’t really hit the spot. It DOES suck. And while continuing to apply is important, there is only so much you can do. And for the record, it sounds like you’re doing a lot. I’m really inspired by your writing; I always say I’m going to start creative writing again but don’t get far beyond that… it’s been a while for me! I’m no 27-year-old spring chicken 😉

    I hope you can keep finding little pockets of joy amidst the mental challenge (mindf–ck?) that is job application. I’m sure Simon loves having you around.

    • Thanks Jamie! I go back and forth between feeling bad about it and feeling really lucky that I’m able to take the time to find a good job instead of repeating the Chocolate World experience! I found out this morning that I have an interview for a full time library job that I would really love… so, fingers crossed, maybe this is it!

  2. Keep on hoping! Most of us are right there with you. It’s like we’ve been shoved into a deep pit with only our university approved knowledge and now calloused hands to claw our way out. We ask, reason, and beg for assistance, but our pleas are either rejected or ignored. Some days I feel so despondent and trapped, I’m amazed I can even roll myself out of bed in the mornings. If it wasn’t for the continued support and encouragement from my family, I probably wouldn’t do it.

    My point is not to let the bad days consume any hope for a future turn around. There’s a plot twist lurking somewhere just a few more pages, a few more chapters ahead.

    • I love the idea of thinking of unexpected negative things in life as a plot twist. I hope hope that things turn around for you, me, and everyone else in our situation soon!

  3. Thank you for sharing that. I’m 33, and also graduated into the recession. I graduated from college, because my parents were convinced that a college degree was the only way to get a good paycheck (especially for a woman), and I just needed a ‘degree in anything’. (also, my older brothers both dropped out of college, so it was all on me). They now fully admit they were 100% wrong. Ironically my dropout brothers both work in IT and make six-figure salaries. That’s not luck, it’s timing- entering the workforce early, developing experience and skills on a cutting edge industry that requires no stodgy institutionalized education certificate…all three of us went through years of unemployment but they’ve recovered far stronger than I have. Or will. It’s difficult not to be bitter or feel hopeless. There is zero silver lining. Personally, I’m hoping to retrain from marketing copywriter to computer programmer, as soon as I can afford it. But unemployment, making less than we expected, not getting careers in fields we’re passionate about, feeling bilked by a system we believed in…this is just part of our generation. It sucks but at least we’re all in it together (and maybe it’s driving social change, as we can all relate to each other fundamentally because of it, despite surface differences).

    • I really like what you said about all of us being in this together. There aren’t many people in our age group who have had the old fashioned climbing the ladder career path, and I think almost all of us realize that the system is broken. Hopefully that will lead to some kind of positive change in the future. I wish you the best of luck with computer programming!

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