When I was younger it all seemed simple. I knew what was coming. I would finish high school, go to university, get a job, get married etc. It didn’t matter yet what type of job I would get, I couldn’t decide anyway, I could do whatever it was that I wanted.
Fast forward to the present. I did everything I was supposed to. Went through school on the honor roll, got into whatever university I applied to, got whatever summer job I really wanted. Then it all stopped. All of a sudden, even with a degree, I can’t even get an interview to entry level positions. When I was in school I didn’t do your standard retail or fast food jobs. I worked in local museums and galleries thinking in the long run that would look better on a resume than McDonald’s. Sadly, now there is a recession, which means little to no funding to any type of job I’m actually trained to do. I probably couldn’t get a retail job now if I wanted to. Essentially everyone has more experience than I do in that field considering I have about zero. Oh wait, I worked at the gift shop in the galleries, maybe that counts.
We were raised believing we could do whatever we wanted and if we worked hard enough we would succeed. We believed this because it worked for our parents’ generation. Employers would take a chance on you even if you didn’t have the exact requirements. Entry level jobs meant you would be trained and could work your way up. Getting a job meant you could afford an apartment, a car and maybe a house if the job was good enough. You got benefits! My mom worked as a cashier at a grocery store after high school, got paid about $20/hour with full benefits. Can you imagine that today? You are lucky if you get more than minimum wage and forget about any kind of health care plan.
I always wonder if maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems. Maybe I have been spoiled expecting to be able to get a job that pays for me to have a decent apartment out of university. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect to get more than minimum wage after all my years of schooling. I would get excited about finding a job that would pay $2000/month and my dad says that I can’t even afford to live on that. So maybe no one knows what to expect. All I can do is keep putting my resume out there and hope I finally get a call.
Now to remember the good old days…
“Old Economy Steven”
When I was in school (middle school and high school) we were told to go to university. If we didn’t want to end up as bums we had to get a bachelors degree and that was that. If, of course, you didn’t have the grades for university there was always trade school but ending up there was seen as a failure in a way. So all of us young ones go off to university, get our degrees and go out to find jobs only to find that there are none. Now, they say that too many kids went to university and all the jobs are in the trades. Well, that would have been good to know about 4 or 5 years ago! Granted, even if I knew this before, there aren’t any trades that I could see myself in but that doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone. I am sure there are a huge group of people that went to university because they thought they were supposed to when in reality they may have done better in something else. I could see myself going into some 2 year programs. There are a lot of certificate programs that interest me but like I said, I was conditioned to see that as beneath me. I was an honor student, that meant university. I read an article recently that was comparing starting salaries of university graduates to comparable 2 year programs. Not only is the starting salary higher but graduates from the 2 year program have a head start experience-wise than the students who were in the 4 year program. Which brings me to my next point: experience vs. education. I’ve been debating which is the way to go, working your way up and gaining experience or going and getting a higher level of education. I think it has a lot to do with what field you want to go into. I keep looking at job postings and majority of them you need 3-5 years of experience minimum. Question is, how do I get experience if I need experience to get experience (ya, confusing)? So do I work at minimum wage jobs waiting for the perfect opening or do I go back to school and hope there is more available when I graduate with a masters? It is a confusing time to be starting out in your career. Baby boomers are retiring later, people that normally could survive on one income now need two, so why would employers want to hire us kids instead? We are a bunch of punks that think we know everything and are entitled to everything (or so I hear). There has to be something out there for something who has the skills and drive right? Please tell me I’m right. Please tell me I didn’t waste thousands of dollars on a education just to work as a barista!