Here I am in rural Maine and this is the phenomenon on my mind:
They call us generation limbo, at least I found out that’s what they were calling us when I was reading the New York Times. So they have a name for it, what I spend phone calls talking to my friends about: the job search, the why-don’t-they-realize-I’m-amazing? The rejection letters and lots of applications, cover letters, and resumes. Since we flew out of Carolina four months ago, a few of my friends went to graduate school, a lucky few got jobs (mostly in work that is time-filling until they go to graduate school or find a job they actually want to do), more than a few are sitting it out and still applying.
The truth is, I see my friends in the job search already getting exhausted. I know how they feel because had I’d not gotten my job on a fluke at the last minute, I’d be in their shoes right now. So I listen to them and we talk about it and this is what we’ve decided happened to us: we all followed college-graduation-promises to this point and did all the right things. So now, we’re all super qualified for jobs that aren’t available. The slump gets hard, the wait for a reply gets long, and then every proactive thing we do yields no results. What happens is I listen to my skilled, talented, beautiful friends get discouraged. They’re on the phone saying, well, I’m taking a job I hate because I have to earn money…. or, I’m applying to this one place (of hundreds) and I’ve sent four emails and they won’t even acknowledge they’ve received my application. They tell me, I don’t need to earn a lot, I just want to do what I love and make a difference. Yet, even that is competitive. So now what do I do?
This post is for the now what.
Now what? Remember you are amazing. A member of the socially-conscious generation… the “Causes” generation, right? You’ve been changing the world in college and just because you’re paddling in a pool of job applications right now doesn’t mean you won’t live the dream. The dream might be on pause, but you are inspiring.
You see, my generation is phenomenal. There’s no doubt about it. More than that, my peers from Carolina in particular are amazing. Did I just see one of us in Glamour magazine? How about one of my best friends launching a website about the social and economic welfare of Mexico City, documented through beautiful photojournalism. As my best friends apply for jobs, on the side they interview with media about a sexual violence awareness project they helped found and are still working to support. They take pictures, read, think critically, and–as is their nature–advocate for themselves and others. To the bitter end.
So they are a generation I don’t want to see give up hope. All I want is to see someone appreciate their wit, creativity, skill, and awesomeness. Until someone does, we’ll be over here, sharing satirical articles about the job search and lamenting about the way things are for us, the one over-qualified yet under-employed generation. And we’re bonding about it, no worries. It’ll make us strong. As one of my best friend’s was saying the other day, “It really helps me when I think about how I’m not the only one facing it. And especially because it’s not just ‘other people,’ it’s YOUR people that are facing it. And we’re all here to support each other and build each other up.” Yeah, that’s it. Our people, our generation. Stick it out and stay true to your causes. The right thing will happen. You’ll get your dream job, just promise me you’ll keep dreaming.