Monday, September 5, 2011

Woes of the Unemployed, Not-Quite-Graduated Student

I’ve heard that this has been one of the worst years for college graduates to find employment. In fact, while the U.S. national unemployment rate is 9.1%, the underemployment rate is 19.1%. That means people who have been unable to find full-time positions or jobs that fit their skills and experience have been forced to seek part-time employment or positions at low-wage jobs normally employed by high school and college students. On average, job applicants are competing for a position against 20.1 other hopeful hires.

Warning: Jobs may be given to others with more
experience who are also suffering from this
economic crisis and willing to work at the
same low price as recent grads.
I can feel the pain of those unemployed recent college graduates. Even more so because I haven’t officially graduated. Oh internship, how I long for thee so that I may number myself among the B.S. graduates*. But even then, I fear that it would be of little help in my unemployment status.

I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place**. Most desirable positions require a degree. A summer actuarial internship program requires an undergraduate student. These two added together equals an unsatisfied and unemployed undergraduate who has already completed all necessary coursework.

I’ve had several interviews (both phone and face-to-face), but so far they have gone nowhere. I feel that there’s no one willing to hire someone with my skills***. Granted, I’ve been a tad choosy about the types of places for which I’ve filled out applications. I mean, I’ve done my share of the minimum wage food establishment summer job. I wish to not add on to that experience†.

It gets tedious filling these out. It's especially
annoying to fill out the previous work experience
section when I have no relevant work experience
Yeah, thanks, real world.
What am I lacking†† that dissuades employers/HR personnel from giving me an interview or offering me the position—any position? I had a forty-five minute, decent and promising phone interview for a part-time bank teller position†††. But that was three weeks ago, and still no phone call/email for a face-to-face interview. Am I being overshadowed by other applicants with more experience or *gasp* completed college degrees? You’d think having (almost) completed a degree in mathematics would make me a highly desirable candidate. But apparently not.

The immature side of me wants to complain about the unfairness of it all. But my mature rational [sic] side reminds me that life isn’t fair. I just need to suck it up and keep trying. Which stinks‡, because I’m at the point where desperation may drive me in lowering my standards and applying to “undesirable” locations‡‡. Urgh… How am I supposed to get work experience if no one is willing to hire me‡‡‡?

Maybe I’m just feeling conflicted from all the dreams and aspirations I want to foster which sadly have little promise in a steady financial future. I feel like I’m at a crossroads. I’ve begun to explore my options, expanding my creativity and dabbling in those long-held dreams♦. But I feel like I have to hold myself back from fully devoting myself to those things in favor of finding a reliable, financially secure career path, which requires professional experience.

In all honesty, I want a balance of both.

The pressure to find a decent job, pressure♦♦ to work on those creative projects, mixed with my low bank account and impending student loans make for an unhappy not-officially-graduated college student—who may spend copious amounts of time in the coming months banging a head♦♦♦ on the wall intermittently between applications for jobs and summer internships.

I fear that there is actually truth to this. In which
case, I'm doomed. I don't even have my Bachelor.
I almost wish there were more classes I had to take so that I could go back to school. Back to studying, tests, and lectures, away from this depressing business of the unfruitful job search. Then I remember that another semester (or two) would also require money. I’d be better off working part-time at McDonald’s♪. Under the assumption that they’re hiring, of course.

In short, “I can’t get no satisfaction”.

¡Adios amigos!

P.S. It would be ironic if I got a phone call for a face-to-face interview this week after posting this entry. I probably just jinxed myself by saying that though.

* Unemployed graduates

** Forgive the cliché

*** Which are completely awesome, if I say so myself

† I still have nightmares about it. Or at least, I’ve had one that I remember from a few weeks ago.

†† Besides relevant experience, a “diploma”, and required skills—which, again, requires the previously mentioned relevant work experience

††† I’m not giving up hope quite yet for a bank teller position. After applying at four different banks, I’ve had interviews with three of them. One of them is still an option, I hope. It takes almost a month before they schedule a face-to-face interview. I’ve spoken personally to the branch manager and he seems interested in hiring me, but he can’t interview me unless he gets the okay from the recruiter.

‡ I imagine the smell to be a mixture of sweat-soaked socks that were worn a few days too long inside manure-caked work boots. And someone tried to cover up the smell with moth balls and an overly flowery Glade aerosol freshener.

‡‡ Minimum-wage, dead-end jobs with no “relevant work experience” for my future career

‡‡‡ Even my own mother can’t offer me a job as an assistant to her position as manager of an apartment complex. And not because I lack the skills or anything like that.

♦ Underwater basket weaving is unfortunately absent from the list. Accumulating knowledge of the Harry Potter world via Pottermore, while a recent goal, is on the list.

♦♦ It’s more welcome than the pressure of finding a job at any rate.

♦♦♦ Including my own

♪ The day I work at a McDonald’s is the day after the zombie apocalypse ends and before extra-terrestrials invade to enslave our minds. Actually, the day I work at any establishment which involves frying shreds of chemically-enhanced potato spuds is applicable to the previous statement as well.

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