Young, full of potential…#jobless
If you’ve ever been in desperate need of a job, you’ve probably been a victim of Career Induced Nausea (C.I.N.). This is a term I have coined regarding the phenomenon that occurs after you have been asked, “Where are you interning this summer?” or “Have you heard back from them yet?”
Although this may not be a real phenomenon, it’s a real feeling. It’s also where this story starts.
In the fall, I’ll be a senior majoring in Broadcasting and Mass Communication at SUNY Oswego. As I began my search for a summer internship, I applied for 10 positions across NY State. I heard back from two. The first I heard back from was NCPR. The second was ESPN last week, months after my initial application, letting me know that their intern position had been filled—this was extremely helpful.
I am back in the North Country living at home this summer. I intern at NCPR part-time in the morning, and head to downtown Potsdam after lunch to finish up my workday as a consultant for Wholeshare.
As I go to sleep in the place that was once my bedroom, but has been turned into a shrine with photos of me since I left for college—sound familiar? no? I guess my parents just love me like a boat-load— I reflect on what got me here, to the perfect ergonomic (not) desk chair at NCPR.
What I realize is this–I was definitely bitter in the beginning when I didn’t land a summer internship with ABC, ESPN or Fox. I know, why would I ever think brewing coffee and grabbing dry-cleaning for others is fun, not to mention educational? I was brainwashed, people.
After a few weeks here at NCPR, I now appreciate working with an organization where interns are expected to be substantively productive. It’s great! This is where the voyage begins.
Does the voyage continue? Not to be taken for granted. My generation has been bombarded with warnings about the danger of venturing into the workforce upon graduation. Why? We’re told there’s not much space for recent graduates in the workforce.
What are the facts? Statistically, the news isn’t great. And, we know it’s especially difficult to find a career in a field related to your college degree. Indeed, the possibility of that seems like some kind of endangered species lately. So how do we combat this? How can we as students, parents, and educators be proactive as opposed to reactive? How do we take back what is ours- making a decision on a career, not having it made for us?
Let’s start a conversation. I invite you to offer your insights and follow along as we discover the hardships (and hopefully some opportunities) on the employment landscape in New York State and the United States. I’ll be here every two weeks with some punny anecdotes and the always encouraging and stimulating Bureau of Labor Statistics latest! Stay tuned for potentially stagnant stats and college level insights as people share their stories and C.I.N. episodes with me.
I need your help. Right now. Please let me know in the comment section if you’re a college-aged student interning or working this summer…or if you’re struggling to find a job or internship. Maybe we can get a conversation going on the air as well as here. But I need to know you’re out there. Thanks.
Tags: economics, education, employment, media, public media, work
Wow Monique, what a great first blog post! As a fellow C.I.N. sufferer, I can really relate to what you’re saying. I can’t wait to follow your blog this summer. NCPR is #blessed to have you.
I loved reading this, Monique, and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Only a couple of years ago, I was right there with you. I graduated as a cultural anthropology major (yikes) from UVM, and the Career Induced Nausea was pretty damn bad. The constant reminders – “Hey, FYI, the job prospects are terrible for you and your peers right now” – certainly didn’t help.
The first thing I did when I graduated was counterintuitive. I deliberately tuned out those career pressures, because they were making me insane. I worked full time on a farm. I guess I didn’t totally tune out, because I was still applying to media things. Finally, I landed an internship at a commercial radio corporation, and was like, “Eh, could be worse?” Some of it was pretty demeaning. I had silly chores and was even addressed as “Intern.” In the winter, the farm job ended, a bagel shop job began, and things were looking pretty bleak. Until – and now comes an annoyingly generic and simplified but true statement – a combination of luck and hard work eventually got me to where I felt I needed to be.
I think I’ve survived the worst of that C.I.N. you speak of – that anxious feeling that good employers will never take you seriously. As a recent survivor, here are two things I feel strongly about:
1) Make stuff – blog posts, little radio stories, drawings, anything, even if it’s just for you. It’s definitely good, though, to make public things (like blog posts) that pertain to the kind of work you might want to do in the future. When I was farming, then bageling, and interning, I also did a weekly community radio show with an accompanying blog. It was a fun outlet that helped me stay sane while building a body of work. More on this idea here, in (yet another!) Transom page – http://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/
2) Respect yourself – avoid settling for demeaning work. And always give yourself a good title! “Intern” is vague and connotes making copies and fetching coffee. I really hate that word. You can come up with something better for your resume, especially when you’re being paid for real work. For example, I did one internship in NYC that involved feature reporting, so on my resume I was “Features Reporter.”
I heartily endorse Zach’s point 1 above. There are innumerable jobs in which you can just start doing something. It may not be a big thing or you may not be good at it to start, but start. Start finding others who do what you do and make friends. I am firmly convinced that in most things you can do if you do it for 5 years with effort to learn you will become an expert that others look to for help. Of course you may go hungry for 5 years…
I graduated from college in 2008. I happened to have joined the workforce at the worst possible time imaginable. I immediately set to work hitchhiking around the country and, after a 10 week trip that took me through the US and Canadian South, as well as up the East and West Coasts, I ventured home to Oxford (Chenango County) to help my mom and step-dad with some home renovations.
Fortunately, I soon found myself immersed in the underpaid knowledge-work to which all new college graduates are destined. I started my career through an AmeriCorps placement at the food bank in Binghamton, followed by work on a documentary film crew, and a not-for-profit program after that, and some extended unemployment after that.
Throughout it all I found myself volunteering to fill in the gaps, and found that my volunteering was what allowed me to continue networking and ultimately find jobs doing things that I loved. Now I have a job – and a good one at that – and I know that in this time, for someone like me, having a job is more of an aberration than the norm. Nonetheless I think that it is possible for others like me to find jobs, but perhaps the roadmaps that they give us after college are a bit dated.
Peace and Love,
The struggle is real.
I can’t wait to see where this takes you this summer!!
My drink & my 2 cents:
I’m a little old to join you on this, but as a “seasoned” graduate (now with my very own intern) I’m thinking that it’s not you, working world, it’s me (and totes my intern.) Me being GenY, we’ve got some sh*t to work out.. some expectations to lower, some work ethic to gain, some debt to kill, and some duck faces not to be posted during weekly meetings. #GenYProbs