This article may sound like a complete contrast to my most recent article about being content with where you are in life, but I feel like this needs to be said.
After graduating college, working my first "career" job for 3 days, quitting after I realized it was a scam job and ultimately applying to every job I came across with no luck, I finally got a job!
It took a lot to get where I am now, but a huge relief has been lifted off my shoulders. It's like I can actually breathe again!
After I told people I got a job, especially older adults, I got the same reaction from almost everyone:
"Now do you see how waiting is worth it? Being patient is difficult, but it paid off in the end, didn't it?"
My response: absolutely not.
I know what you might be thinking. Didn't you state in your last article that you should be content with where you are at the moment while you work toward a goal?
Yes, yes I did. However, that doesn't change the fact that finding your first career job after college is unnecessarily difficult.
The transition from college to the work world is already hard enough. Being a student is a large part of your identity for 12+ years, and it's taken away from you all too suddenly.
If you don't have a job, graduate school or something else lined up to occupy your time, the transition can be 10 times harder.
You go from being busy and focused 24/7 with papers, lectures, work, organizations, hobbies, and relationships to having nothing to do.
That can make just about anyone lose hope as they struggle to find a job.
Yes, I am happy that I got a job. I'm happy that the pay is pretty good for an entry-level position. I'm happy that it took less than 2 months for me to find a job whereas other people sometimes don't find a career job for years after graduation.
However, it doesn't change the fact that for weeks I couldn't function because I felt like a failure. For weeks on end, I was found curled up on the couch sobbing while browsing through job ads on ZipRecruiter.
I felt hopeless. I would constantly get notifications that employers had viewed my resume, but nobody got back to me. I had interviews here and there but no good offers.
I felt embarrassed. All my friends were either working or had a job lined up for the fall. I felt like I didn't even fit in with them anymore.
I know I shouldn't base my self-worth on my employment status, but it's hard not to given the society we live in. If we're not working or contributing to society in any beneficial way, it's as if we serve no purpose.
Even though my active job-searching ultimately paid off in the end, I will never forget how horrible I felt about myself during my search.
Stop telling college graduates to be patient. The transition from student to worker is already difficult enough. Don't belittle their feelings of frustration, anger, and hopelessness.
These feelings are completely valid to someone who lost a major part of their identity with no replacement lined up.
Help your unemployed college graduate work through their emotions. Help them with their job searches. Help them find something to dedicate their time to in the interim.
Show them you care and you have their back. It'll pay off when they finally get that job and you're the first person they tell.