I’ve Waited a Long Time for this Post…
Who saw that one coming? I know I didn’t.
YES! Ladies, gentlemen, whoever else is reading this post, I actually have a job. Someone will be paying me soon for carrying out some sort of responsibility AND will be putting me on television to do it. Crazy, right?
I’ll be stationed in the beautiful Green Mountain State (that’s Vermont, guys), reporting for WPTZ/WNNE, based in Burlington. My post will be south of the station, roughly 2 hours from Boston, 2.5 from friends and family in CT, and still in Hockey East territory- to say I’m excited would be a gross understatement.
I am ready to hang my unemployment suit (made of yoga pants and over-sized BU shirts, absolutely no zippers) and slip into the real world. Instead of writing off the experience entirely however, I will be packing up the things I learned along the ride.
Unemployment is more than a place holder until one finds a professional title. It’s a lesson. My patience, morale and mental stability were put through a test I had never thought I should’ve studied for. For a lucky few, “unemployment” will remain as fabled as Grendel the dragon but for those who have stepped into, just stepped out of, or about to trip into a pair of shoes much like the ones I’ve been tied to this summer, I hope you find these points I’ve picked up from the experience comforting and helpful (or entertaining in the least).
1. There’s a fine line between staying in touch and annoying the crap out of people with authority: tread on it.
Let’s face it, if you are applying to a job right out of college, this doesn’t just make you the bottom face on the totem pole, you’re the dirt around it. As important and awesome as you think you are, to your potential employers, you’re an afterthought. Instead of wallowing in this lowly state, find the energy and remind potential employers of not only how talented you are, but that you exist.
I can only speak for the news business, but I believe that persistence travels far in any industry. Now I don’t recommend finding said person-in-power’s address and set up camp on their porch, but use their contact info to your advantage. Ask questions, check-in, give them an update. Most employers like eager hires who don’t expect things to come to them. Reach out and grab it yourself.
2. No really does means no, and therefore keep it out of your search mantra
Joblessness is a desperate state. There will be times where your brain will try to convince you that it’s worth a shot to offer up your left thumb or strategically place an IOU for your first born in your cover letter.
You don’t have have to go that far, but there really is no shame is doing whatever it takes (minus self, human, or animal sacrifice) to make a connection or get noticed.
More often than not, many people have been in this stage and would like to lend a hand. Don’t be ashamed to mention in conversation that you’re deep in the job hunt or that you’re struggling. I know I had a hard time with this (wonder why it’s been so long since my last blog post? Yup, I was in Shame City), but people really are more willing to help out than you think. You never know who’s uncle had an ex-wife who’s brother’s daughter is a news director somewhere. Stranger things have happened. Keep every door wide open.
3. Occupy your mind or else negativity will.
For someone who always needed a schedule in order to be successful, unemployment really rocked my world. There were mornings I would wake up and think, “I’m up, but I really have no reason to be.” Trying your hardest to apply to jobs and contact connections then not hearing back or being rejected repeatedly can take a toll on motivation that I was not prepared for. I won’t lie, there were times I was in a rut, that I felt like I had no purpose, and, the most detrimental, the goal I’ve worked my butt off towards for 4+ years would never come into fruition.
Well, these are silly. Picking up a hobby, working on a project or finding ways to make a schedule or to feel purposeful is as important as sending out resumes during this life stage. Having small goals like learning a software program or carving figurines of your extended family out of soap give you a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment. Instead of getting down on yourself, see opportunity in this down time. Some things I did were sharpen my Photoshop skills, take the time to learn how the economy actually works and did some creative writing. Doing things gives you the motivation to succeed; a necessary mindset during this time.
Again, it wasn’t easy and I’m just happy I got out of it without being committed. Now I can take a deep breath and focus my energy on the next stage: news reporter. And I’m going to narrate it all right here. Doesn’t that sounds fun 😉