~Forgotten Wings~

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4 March 2003

There's something about the idea that I'm going to have to actually get a job soon that's been feeling a lot more real lately.

It's kind of scary. Not in the "I have to work at a job and make a living and will it be the right choice for me?" way, but in the "The economy sucks, and having a BA from Northwestern doesn't come close to guaranteeing me a good job" way. I'm sure this is not news to all of you reading this, most of whom are around my age and in pretty much the same boat, if not even worse off than me. I don't know any seniors who have jobs lined up right now. I know people looking for jobs, and people going to grad school and law school. (And Prague!) But the whole college-to-work transition doesn't feel like a safe route right now.

I've started volunteering with an organization that basically helps unemployed people look for and get jobs. It's interesting, and I like it. But the people that are our clients? I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting. But it's frightening how experienced and qualified a lot of these people are.

I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I'll have the sort of liberal arts background that should give me a decent amount of flexibility. I'm also lucky because I don't have to actually worry about it right away. I've got a whole year to figure things out and keep my fingers crossed that the economy picks up.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't need to think about it now. With the summer approaching, it's been weighing somewhat heavily on my mind. The thing is, what I'd really like to do is just hang around Evanston for the summer, getting a chance to hang out with friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Working at IPR certainly isn't a bad job for my resume... it's policy experience, probably somewhat related to something I'd be doing. But it's not exactly stunning resume filler, either. Nor does it help me make any connections for future jobs. Which is why I've been trying to get on top of internship stuff, so that I can submit a half-dozen applications and see if I get accepted for any of them. Because if I do, strategically I really ought to go back to DC and stay with my parents and do that. Jobs don't grow on trees, and if I can figure out some way to grow them...

Then, of course, there's the thesis-research-in-Latin-America option. I'm starting to lean against that for other, unrelated reasons(such as the fact that it would mean I'd have to figure out my thesis topic in a month instead of in six months), but honestly, that's only really justifiable if I'm going to end up in grad school. Which, of course, is certainly an option I can't rule out at this point. Grad school would probably be a better plan than sitting around in my parents' apartment reading the wanted ads. Of course, as I'm only one of the thousands and thousands of students my age who are thinking that way, actually getting into a decent grad school would probably be a hefty challenge in and of itself. (In which case, the thesis work would then be pretty important. Damn it all!)

It's just... odd. Unsettling. Scary. All of this time, I've been thinking about what it would be like to get my first job, to earn a salary and support myself. That was a big enough thing to grasp. It never occured to me that I might not be able to find a job, at least not one that I like.

Not a pleasant idea, on the whole. Now I finally understand the concept of why people might vote for political candidates based on the economy.

Last updated 7 March, 2003

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