Jeremy over at Modest Money wrote an enlightening post about the challenges he has faced with unemployment. Although I have not entirely been in the same boat, I feel his pain. As some of you know, after going back to school and graduating from a program entirely different from my undergraduate background, I have faced an uphill struggle. Let me start from the beginning.
May 2011 – August 2011
The beginning of 2011 brought hope and excitement. I was enrolled in the co-op stream of my postgraduate program and couldn’t wait to see what opportunities were out there for me. I waited with bated breath until my co-op job list became available to me. Unlike some of the people in my program, I had a couple of years of work experience under my belt prior to starting the program. Little did I know that this experience would do me no favours. I waited and waited, applying to jobs few and far between. Many were unpaid and I was refusing to settle for that. I was going to take a paid position with a reputable company, I’d decided. I did interview after interview and faced rejection after rejection. I was, after all, competing with every co-op student from my school and every other school with a similar co-op program. I was letting great opportunities slip through my fingers because they didn’t fit the bill of what I wanted. Eventually I was forced to take a position that paid a small stipend because I was near the end of the hiring season and hadn’t lined something up. I had no one to blame but myself. From May to August, I continued to waitress, worked at my internship and applied to full time jobs. Sh*t was crazy. Oh, I also paid off a $9,000 line of credit that I accumulated during the school year. Yay.
September 2011 – December 2011
During the summer I went in for a few interviews that didn’t work out. At the 11th hour, I asked if I could stay at my current job. The answer was a yes, but only on contract through until the end of the year. It was a startup after all, so funds were scarce. At this point, I had to take what I could get and I saw it as an opportunity to keep looking for jobs while continuing to build my resume. I got new job duties so I wasn’t unhappy staying put. My stipend was also more than doubled and I continued to waitress so my overall income continued to increase and I started to tackle my student loan aggressively. I did a few interviews and by November, I finally landed a job at a company that I really wanted to work for…but it was an internship. Around the same time, I was also close to landing a permanent position with a different company. I rejected it in favour of the internship because I had already been offered the internship, plus the full time opportunity was for a job that was very similar to the job I had left to go back to school for. One step forward two steps back? I took the risk and accepted the internship with the certainty that I would be hired on full time afterwards. Most interns had been hired on so why wouldn’t I? I’m awesome, right?
January 2012 – May 2012
This place is great. I really, really love this place. I’m getting fantastic experience, it’s in a field I adore and things just couldn’t be better. I’ve arrived. Wait, if I love this place so much, they must love me back, right? Well, I think they do! They really love me! My boss trusts me with real work and I get along great with all my coworkers. I keep the lines of communication open with my boss in terms of staying. As it happened, there were no full time opportunities for me by March, the original end date of my contract. They’d love for me to stay for two more months though, and perhaps something would come up. I took them up on it but realized that I needed to seriously start thinking about alternatives. The markets weren’t doing great and there was a real possibility that I wouldn’t be able to stay on at this company that I loved. In April and May I looked and looked and went through a few interview processes, some of which I am still a part of. Last week I ended at my internship because there just wasn’t anything to keep me there even longer. On the plus side, I managed to entirely pay off my $16,000 of debt. Woot!
I don’t feel hopeless because I know the right opportunity is out there for me. I am frustrated though because I have been seeking out full time opportunities for most of the past year and instead I’ve landed on contract after contract after contract. I recently visited an astrologer (don’t laugh at me!) and he said that based on my numerology, I have to work incredibly hard to achieve the same things that come easily to other people. Of course I don’t need an astrologer to tell me that – I know it’s true. But at the same time, why complain? All I can do is keep trying and know that one day it will all pay off for me. I will be awesome and all of this will just be a funny memory.
Are you currently in the middle of a job search? What struggles do you face?