Flashback Friday — 4 Years After Graduation

Four years ago today, I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with BA’s in Global Studies and French.


I’ve been out of college for just as long as I was in it. That’s a strange feeling.

I didn’t really know what laid ahead for me on June 13th, 2010. I have always had a lot of interests…maybe too many. I like to dabble in a little bit of everything…but never a whole lot of one thing. We had 3 months left on the lease on our apartment in Isla Vista, so my roommates and I stayed and worked on campus for the summer, soaking up every minute of the Isla Vista “college life” that we could. Blissfully unaware of what we (or at least I) would do when the summer ended. Continue reading


Found in 2011: Work, love, adventure

If you had asked me on June 13th, 2010 (Graduation Day) where I thought I’d be at the beginning of 2012, the answer would not have likely been “working at a lobbying firm, splitting most of my time between my parents’ house and the apartment of my boyfriend who I met playing dodgeball.”

My answer would have probably been to the tune of, “going to grad school in Europe after a year of living in Washington DC working at a trendy nonprofit while doing freelance writing for a political website.”

But when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, as they say. My lemons came in the form of graduating from college in the worst economic climate of my lifetime, moving home to Sacramento (one of the worst job markets in the state), and being forced to abandon those unrealistic dreams listed above.

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Becoming an “Adult”

This week, I worked on becoming that better job seeker that I described in my “New Year, New Job Search” post.  I made 20+ phone calls on Wednesday, an accomplishment for anyone, but especially for me, a girl with a phobia of cold calling.  Today, I finally started passing out resumes face-to-face at the State Capitol.

But what I’ve been thinking about all the while is which parts of me are to be left behind as I move closer to becoming a person with a capital C Career.

This morning, I put on my business casual and printed out my resumes and cover letters.  I put on my big girl boots and made polite small talk with the receptionists I left resumes with and the various state employees that pointed me in the right direction along the way.  I played the part, but I realized that I still basically looked like this while driving to and from the Capitol:

My head, someone else’s body. Thank you once again to Photoshop for assisting me with this re-enactment.

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New Year, New Job Search

For me, a clean room means visible carpet and a bed with *minimal* clutter.

Well…my room is “clean”, Food Network is turned off, I just spent 30 minutes Googling myself in a last ditch effort to procrastinate, but I no longer have an excuse to delay.  If I ever expect to hear a positive response from a job inquiry, I need to not only set goals for myself, but also make plans.  So here goes nothing.

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The Problem with Internships…

So after a week here on the east coast, I finally had some semblance of job-hunting action today in Manhattan.  An interview for an internship.  The internship was for a non-profit organization that I wasn’t completely familiar with, but its main goals of fighting poverty and AIDS internationally seemed right up my alley.  I scoped out the location yesterday; not too shabby.  The building, which I later discovered hosts several UN committees and non-profit organizations, was across the street from the United Nations (one of my several dream jobs).

I went back today for my interview and was feeling pretty good about myself.  I wore a nice collared shirt, slacks, boots, and toted around my spiffy UCSB resumé portfolio that came as a gift for graduating tour guides earlier this year.  I certainly looked the part, and didn’t feel so much like a tourist as I traveled the several blocks from Grand Central station along with all the other business attired professionals.

However, the passersby that I noticed wearing the more expensive suits and the higher heels were probably not headed to interviews for unpaid internships at very small non-profit organizations like I was, as I came to find out.  The office I entered was bare, as they had recently relocated, and the staff was sparse.  I had a very nice talk with the Director of Communications, who repeatedly reminded me that the internship wasn’t so much of an internship as it was a volunteer position, since it’s unpaid.  She told me about the organization and what she would need from a Communications/Outreach “volunteer“.  She did most of the talking.  After she asked if I would like the position, I told her that I needed some time to think about it, since I’m in the process of deciding whether or not to relocate to New York…and moving across the country on the promise of a 2 day/week unpaid internship isn’t exactly what I’d consider a sound decision.

I spoke on the phone recently with a friend of a family friend who gave me some advice about my job search.  He works in the Washington, DC area and when I told him I had been struggling finding an entry level job and had shifted my search to internships, he said (more or less), “Don’t settle for a job that doesn’t pay.  Paid jobs are out there!  You are talented and you deserve to be paid for those talents.”  I started thinking about that right after I was done with my “interview”.

Internships are, ideally, for students.  The fact that so many companies and organizations have begun to hire more and more unpaid interns out of college to do the jobs that entry-level workers used to do flat out sucks.  College isn’t easy.  It’s expensive, and stressful, and eye opening, and I’d even assert that a lot of students learn more in one semester than they ever did in high school.  I know I certainly had a few quarters at UCSB that felt like it.  Having a college degree may be more common now than it was in the previous century, but it’s still an accomplishment, dammit! So why are we, as college graduates, now being relegated to the bottom of the barrel?  The obvious answer, I’m guessing, involves the state of our economy.  Another response could be that college graduates are so eager nowadays that most of us don’t care.

As lovely as it’s been to visit New York & Connecticut in this beautiful autumn weather, I don’t think I love it enough to stay just because of the promise of having a volunteer position that “could look good on a resume!”  My interview today was both literally and figuratively across the street from the UN.  I need to find my job at the UN itself, so to speak. I’m going to hold out for my big break.  Because, as L’Oreal would say, I’m worth it! And as I myself would say: I’ve earned it.

Taking the Reins

So, after nearly one month of being home – and zero replies from jobs – I’ve decided that maybe waking up at 11 every morning, watching Food Network all day, and submitting one résumé each weekday might not have been the best job hunting strategy.

I’ve thus decided to take matters into my own hands and start attacking the job hunt.    I’m going to New York next week to search for jobs and hand people my résumé face to face.  This has to be better than what I’ve been doing.  But here’s the hard part: how do I know where to go?  Do I just research all the companies I want to work at, walk into their offices and deliver a résumé, regardless of if they’re hiring?  How do I get employers to take me seriously- I’m a 5’4″ 22 year old blonde who often looks younger than her age…I don’t even own a pant suit!

One thing I’ve known since I was a child is that I’m a terrible sales person.  I’m usually terrified of talking to strangers on the phone, and I can trace my first dread of customer rejection all the way back to when I used to sit out in front of the grocery store and sell Girl Scout cookies.  In this way, job searching has turned out to be very similar to being a sales person for my number 1 products- my education, my experience, and my potential.

So you can imagine why I’ve preferred this method of looking at online listings and e-mailing my résumés that way.  But clearly, that way doesn’t work.  So it looks like poor little social anxiety problem is going to have to take the back burner to my little unemployed problem and suck it up.  Time to take the reins.

Hello world!

Nothing ever comes easily.

This truth is something I’ve had to come to terms with as of late. You see, as a member of what’s been dubbed the Millennial generation, my life and its successes up until now have been metaphorically handed to me on a silver platter.  I graduated high school, I was accepted to, attended, and graduated from an overpriced public university, and I even had the opportunity to dick around for a year in Europe on said university’s dime.  All of these things were cheerfully supported along the way by a slough of teachers, advisers and my parents.

And what has it gotten me?

Nearly $20,000 in loans to be paid back starting in January, no job, and a rental car packed with an apartment’s worth of stuff.  That rental car’s eventual destination?  My worst nightmare, also known as My Parent’s House.

Though I will take some of the credit for getting this far, I’d like to put most of the blame (placing blame…one of my various negative attributes, according to the all-knowing parents) on our society.  From elementary school, we have been told this: go to school, do well, graduate from college, get a job.  One comes after the other.  Everything seemed to play out pretty well up until now; I always thought the next step would be easy.

Here is where I repeat myself: Nothing ever comes easily.

One thing I’ve realized in my 21 years of existence is that if you find something to be desirable, chances are you’re not the only one.  Remember that dreamy boy in math class with the perfect smile and cool car?  The drawings in your notebook with hearts around your initials together were probably not alone.  That boy was dreamyDozens of other pervy pubescent girls probably dreamed about holding his hand during passing period as well.  The same thing, I’m discovering, goes for jobs.  Every job that I salivate over, whether it be at a non-profit in NYC, a TV station in San Francisco, or at the embassy in Paris, is being salivated over by not just dozens, but hundreds of other Millennials also developing ulcers over the idea of moving back to their own parents home.

This truth is something I’ve had to come to terms with as of late.  But while I’m here in the in between, treading desperately in the pool of Millennial job applicants, I might as well share my experiences and accept any suggestions, empathy, or snarky remarks that the blogging community has to give!