Aimless and Wandering: Chronicle of a Recent Grad
My post-college jobs.
Well, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that it's hard to remain patient in times like these. I think I'm just as qualified as the next person when it comes to finding a good, decently stimulating job (hopefully one that doesn't involve folding shirts and telling people how they can save an extra 15% today if they open a brand credit card!). I live in a small town though and so far, it's been difficult finding something outside the realm of restaurant work or retail that I am A) qualified for and B) excited about. Now I don't mind retail, as it's pretty hard to mess up what you're doing when given such clear and simple instructions on a daily basis. And I've met some great people that I enjoy working with, which makes any job a nice place to be. But I know it's not the kind of work I want to be doing long-term.
My experience with restaurant work is another story. I think restaurants can be a lot of fun, and when it's busy the atmosphere is exciting and the tempo fast-paced. That's the kind of environment I like to work in. This past summer, I worked as a hostess at two different restaurants. The first place was less than ideal, as I was barely making minimum wage, was not given any percentage of the tips and was expected to be on the door with no real breaks for food, sometimes for as long as 7 hours at a time (which I might add, is illegal). I would duck into the nearby office to scarf down hard-boiled eggs and my manager would nervously say, "just...keep an eye on the door Cora." Another day when I was feeling starved and should have been given a lunch break, I asked one of the younger managers (for whom I had just run down the street to pick up an egg & cheese bagel) if I could just take 10 minutes to eat the sandwich I'd brought, to which she replied, "I have so much to do today Cora." In addition to being treated like so, all three managers knew I was a good writer/editor and expected me to proofread/edit their specials and announcements sheet every night. I probably should have just let them spell carousel "carasel" and left it at that.
So, not my dream job. The second restaurant was much better, as I received a healthy share of the tips. And it was only open for dinner, so I knew I would never be working more than 5 or 6 hours. I liked the people a lot and felt elated when my new manager said I could grab a biscuit or a piece of cornbread from the back when I was hungry! At the previous restaurant, you were NOT allowed to eat even a piece of the (cheap white) bread they gave away for free. My hours waned pretty dramatically as soon as the summer tourists left town however, and I had to look for something else.
Now I work in retail, which is fine for the time being. There are days when I get to help a customer find exactly what she's looking for and it's always a good feeling when someone tells you what a huge help you've been. I also write for an online magazine, but I work as an intern and thus don't receive pay. They do list me as an "Assistant Editor," which looks better on my resume. I love writing, editing and reading other peoples' work so I'm pretty excited about having found HubPages. I don't mean to be such a Debbie Downer in my first post but I bet a lot of people can relate to my job search anxiety. It's hard when you don't even know exactly what you're looking for.
On an average day, I think, "should I just join the Peace Corps? Learn to teach ESL? Move to New York, take my chances, network as much as possible and see what happens?" Sometimes I feel like my Bachelor's Degree is good for nothing. One day I'll feel differently, right?
I do know a few things. Those are: I love to sing and have been doing it for years, I love playing guitar (I even have a band with my mom), I love tutoring kids/helping people in general and have had several tutoring jobs, and I dream about interning/working for a magazine. What's the best approach to finding a job when your professional experience is all over the map? I'd love to know!