Jessica Long, age 23
Too Proud to Serve Coffee, Too Passionate to Just Settle,
It’s been a year and a half since I graduated from Boston University’s prestigious college of Communications, and yet today, I’m unemployed. Immediately following graduation I left New England, my home for 23 years, and moved to New Zealand. During my time abroad I was willing to find work just about anywhere to support my travels. I didn’t think about applying my degree, instead I thought about feeding my passion for adventure. I found myself waiting tables, babysitting, even mowing lawns…..$30,000 a year for tuition, money well spent? Now that I have returned home, I am utterly confused about what comes next.
I sometimes find myself wishing to move abroad again to escape the pressure of finding a “real” job. It’s comical that society respects, perhaps admires, a post grad working as a barista in France while “figuring things out”; however working at the Starbucks around the block for a little extra cash is socially unacceptable. It’s certainly not productive to be unemployed, yet generally discouraged to share jobs with high school students if one possesses a college diploma.
Although I was fortunate in college to have a summer internship, while many students were busy making money to pay off student loans, I was able to volunteer my time. I paid my dues at a high end advertising firm achieving “real life experience” that would hopefully serve me better in the future. The option to intern for class credit during the school year was also suggested, along with infrequent advisor meetings to stay on track, but the distractions of turning 21, beginning a serious relationship, and leading an athletic team all took precedence over the “take it or leave it” options mentioned prior.
Unfortunately, neglecting to familiarize myself with a variety of fields and network as much as possible, has left me a few steps behind those students that committed much of their college life to getting their foot in the door. For me, I’m still trying to find out which foot leads and where the doorknob is located.
Everyone tells me that it takes time and that odd jobs doesn’t have to be my career forever and that even some CEO’s don’t know how to answer the pressing “what do you want to do” question. I believe this advice and try my best to remind myself of it any time I feel discouraged. I suppose right now, I need to overcome my quest for the perfect job. I need to begin testing the water and see where the tide takes me.
I just hope I float………