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a book report

July 21, 2009

What month is it oh yeah, July.  I guess that means a whole bunch of 22 year olds just graduated from college and are in their first summer that doesn’t end in the word break.  So that sucks.  Let me think back to what I was doing a year ago in July when I was one of these people myself, oh yes I had just been fired from a job at a fish and chips stand.  Then I spent pretty much the next two months sitting in a playground by my house staring at the cloudless sky, and getting a succession of really bad haircuts, and breaking up/being broken up with by my boyfriend.  In other words, if I or someone else was going to sum up that period of my life with a lyric that lyric would not come from Time of My Life.

A lot of things have improved for me since then, but one of those things is not being employed.  So, I was more excited than probably almost anyone to get an article dropped in my inbox entitled: The Fearless Job Seeker Out of College: Seven Steps to Getting Out of Your Parents’ House and into a Career, and I already don’t live in my parents’ house so I didn’t even think I needed to read the article, but I decided to at least skim it, because if there’s one good thing about unemployment, and there’s a lot more than one, it’s having a little extra time on your hands.

The first thing I notice is the reference to all the ramen noodles that I must have eaten in college.  If there is one thing that adults think they know for sure it’s that undergraduates can’t afford a meal that costs over .25 cents.  I’m not trying to out anyone here, but the people I know actually had a lot more money in college than they did once they graduated.  No matter what your son/daughter says pencils just don’t cost that much more at the college store. 

But in the next paragraph the author offers some sound advice when she says that even in a bad economy you shouldn’t let fear guide your job search. 

Which is the point that I realized I hadn’t even gotten to the first step yet.  Of course the first step is always the hardest, because it’s the one where you admit that you have a problem, and in this case the problem is that you just spent $100,000 to get a degree that no one understands enough to call it anything more specific than liberal studies.  Now, as a psych major I will be the first to stand against treating college as a vocational school, but the fact still stands that we all would have done better just becoming nurses. 

The rest of the article can be pretty much summed up by saying the word diversity with a lot of enthusiasm.  Basically, people notice people who are different from them, especially if the difference is that the other person is smarter, more ambitious, or better looking.  But even if you differ in another way, play it up, because novelty is the fruit of the loom, or something like that. 

My advice as something of an expert on doing things but not getting paid to do them, but hoping that you might someday is to take opportunities as they present themselves, don’t think too much about anything ever, and when you do deign to do something for someone for free, give it your best shot.  If in two years this strategy hasn’t made you into a Buddhist monk, I’ll give you the book I haven’t yet written for free.

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