I recently graduated from college, and that’s where the inspiration for this post comes from. “The waiting game” seems to be something we all play, whether it is post-college or later on in life. I wonder though how many people are simply content to play the game or feel like they have no choice. When did waiting become an inevitability of life though? I know that there is waiting involved in all aspects of life, but I am referring more specifically to the professional aspects of life.
I decided to try and avoid the waiting game this year by applying for jobs starting in December, knowing I would be in need of a job come May when I graduated. “There’s no way I won’t have something lined up after I graduate by applying this early” I said. Yet, here I am in June, waiting for replies on those same applications I submitted in December. Of course I check on them regularly, but I also know that no one wants to hire the nag. Waiting is expected in the employment game. But why? I’m sure there are applications received by companies on a daily basis that they can rule out after one look. It seems like there is no hurry to even say no to an applicant though. I got my first “no” yesterday—for a job I applied for in early January. I’m sure they interviewed people they considered to be desirable candidates, and if I wasn’t in that group, wouldn’t it have been just as easy to say, “thanks but no thanks—you’re not what we’re looking for”? Then I could have ruled out that job as a possibility.
I’m looking to get into journalism after interning at WGN last summer and, of course, you need experience to be considered for the positions I’m interested in. Most jobs I’ve thought looked interesting require a MINIMUM of 5 years of experience. I just graduated college, where will I get 5 years of experience if I can’t even be hired without already having the experience? Sure, internships are a great place to learn, but few pay. I’d be happy to immerse myself in a plethora of internship experiences if I could pay the bills simultaneously. How am I supposed to afford a place to live when I’m not getting paid?
Thus, the minimum wage job seems the only option. I graduated with a double major but can’t get hired in the field that is supposed to hire people with the kinds of degrees I earned. Thankfully I have a menial job at the university for the summer but what comes after that? Apply to the local coffee shop or grocery store while I hope that one day one of my applications to a journalistic job where I actually want to work is picked up by the right person? So the waiting game continues.
It wasn’t until I recently listened to a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace that I realized no one told me what to expect AFTER graduation. I can honestly say I didn’t think I would be one of the people stuck playing the waiting game. I was proactive, put myself out there, and continue to network. Yet, here I am, waiting. What I thank David Foster Wallace for pointing out though is that within in the tedium of the waiting game and the mundane every day I can choose how to FEEL about the game I am being forced to play. I can think about other careers I might be interested in, that random person I met the other day that mentioned they know someone in broadcasting and that I should email them, what I want for myself and my life, or simply choosing to be happy instead of frustrated. So for that I can be thankful. I don’t have to like the game; but I can like my situation with the right attitude.