Friday, October 5, 2012

My Girls & Unemployment...

College kids today go through four years of school, accumulate massive debt and end up back on their parent's couch. Unemployment can be very discouraging. It's not just that they can't get into their field of study, but there aren't even other jobs to be had while they wait and look for their dream jobs.

My older daughter had a tough time of it when she graduated three and a half years ago. Not only was the job market in dire straights, but her majors in television and English weren’t getting her very far. The media is a very competitive industry where interns are desperately willing to work for nothing for school credit. Employers can afford to be choosy selecting employees and pay little. My daughter did find a “freelance” position with Time Warner. After several months they cut her hours due to budget cuts, and rather than sit home much of the time, she took a temporary job. This temporary job led to a full time job shortly after. It was at a plumbing company doing administrative work. They love her there, but because she is a quick study and very efficient, they began giving her too much to do. Every time they would give her a new job, they would never take away the old one to give to someone else. However, to keep her from leaving, they gave her healthy raises and bonuses, making it impossible for other employers to match. My daughter hated her job more and more every day. She has been looking for a new job for months, in the media industry. Finally, while we were in Florida, she gets a call from a production company. After a couple of interviews she gets the job. She is happy that today is her last day at the plumbing company, but she is taking a huge cut in pay to pursue her career. She can only afford to do this because she lives at home. Hopefully, she will be happy and productive at her new company. Money isn’t everything.

My younger daughter graduated this May and has been looking for work ever since. She majored in Medical Technology, which is supposed to be in high demand. After many months of sending out her resume, she was beginning to get concerned and discouraged. She graduated with honors and passed the licensing test with flying colors, but no job offers were coming her way. It’s frustrating after working so hard for four years. She had been told she will be a hot commodity after becoming licensed and then nothing happened for her. I shared her concern and prayed for her. I encouraged her even though I was worried. However, today she has a very promising interview at a state of the art laboratory that has facilities all over the world. She has two more interviews scheduled on Monday with two great hospitals. I really feel hopeful that she will be offered a job this time around.

When I graduated college back in 1976, the economy was a mess and there were no jobs to be had. I sent out a hundred resumes and cover letters, all typed by hand because we had no computers and printers. Out of that came two interviews, one at a big retail store in Manhattan, which I totally blew. The other interview was for a teller trainee at a bank. Thank God I got the second job because no other calls came for interviews. It wasn’t my ideal job, but it was a job. So, I understand how difficult my girls had it looking for work and how sometimes you have to take a job you don’t necessarily want until the one you want comes along.

I’m proud of both of them. They kept trying, even when discouraged. They networked with friends who had jobs to see if there were any openings available where they worked. And even at the worst of times, they were better off than most college graduates. They always had a roof over their heads and food on the table, no loans to pay off, no bills piling up. I think many kids today might take advantage of the situation and just freeload until they get the job of their dreams. But my girls always wanted to work and be independent. They worked very hard in school so that when they graduated they would be well prepared for their chosen careers. Unfortunately, the economic times made it very difficult, but they persevered.

I am anxious to see how my older daughter likes her new job. She starts on Tuesday. I am equally excited for my younger daughter, who may soon be able to put all her skills and education into a new career. As hard as they have worked, they deserve to be happy and working for someone who appreciates their strong work ethic.

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