The grass is always greener on the other side. We’ve all heard it a million times. The blondes want to be brunettes, the taken want to be single, the tall want to be short and so on and so forth. Well I am writing this entry from the other side of the fence, commonly known as unemployment. And we’re not talking retirement here, although I’ve given it much thought, I don’t think it’s socially acceptable to retire before you even enter the working world. Yep. You guessed it. I’m a recent college graduate complete with a diploma that cost me $90,000 in student loans.
So while many of you read this from your office chairs, stressing about the days tasks remember that in this economy, you ARE the lucky ones. And if you still feel like the grass is greener on the unemployment side, hand it over, I’d gladly take your spot and your paycheck.
One of the most frustrating aspects of being a recent graduate is that you have talent up to your ears, talent that is undervalued. You’re current, fresh and unweathered by the working world. You have the ideas, energy and technological know-how to really make a difference but no ground to stand on. Getting your foot in the door would be nothing short of a miracle because right now it seems impossible to even get within a 50 mile radius of the parking lot.
Now this isn’t to say us rookies know it all. Much to the contrary we are generally itching to work under the top dogs‚Äîthe ones who do know it all. We want to soak up every ounce of knowledge that others have to offer. We want the opportunity to take notes and to shadow others because we ARE eager to learn (and to pay some bills.) The opportunity to prove yourself is very rare, so when that chance arrives you best believe we are willing to work.
Endless cover letters, multiple resume critiques, countless hours spent waiting on a callback, it’s like being in the middle of a thunderstorm and holding on to the idea that the sun does still exist and one day it will shine its warm, beautiful rays down on you again. Someday.
Many of my mentors call these “the rice and peas days” and in fact, that’s what they are. While money may be tight, daydreams are abundant. I often think about my first full-time position and the purpose that I’ll feel when I have a reason to get up and go to work‚Äîthe days when everything I’ve been working for really pays off. The good grades, the internships, the endless nights spent studying all seem in vain without the job that will hopefully kick start my career.
Right after graduation I flew back home to New England to visit with family. On my flight I met a woman who had just retired from teaching. After a quick conversation about her newfound freedom she quickly directed the questions towards me, asking what I planned to do with my own recent freedom. Before I could answer she reminded me that I too was indeed free and that I could go anywhere, in the world for that matter. I had no children, no spouse, no career, and no mortgage. At that moment I saw the entire world open up before me. I had a blank canvas. For a fleeting moment, my grass was greener.
And yet if there is anything I have learned from this period of transition it is the definition of perseverance. We often forget in the haste of our frustration that anything worth having is worth working hard and long for. So let the uphill battle continue and maybe someday I will be looking at “work” from the other side of the fence, wishing I was young, restless and unemployed again.
Your “free” guest blogger,
Autumn Sunday Blog