1. Cover letters. For those of us who hate bragging about ourselves, the cover letter is an absolute nightmare. What’s worse than talking about how great you are? Talking about how great you are in a formal letter that you rewrite in different contexts for different jobs about 50 times. What’s wrong with just looking at a resume and samples of work?
2. Job websites. Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, pick your poison. Unless you’re looking for an entry-level position in sales or marketing, good luck navigating that black hole. I’m not sure how searching for a copy editing position in New York means I’ll start receiving emails that “match my search results” to sell cable plans door to door in Providence.
3. Extended family. Every family gathering means at least one inquiring aunt will ask about the job search. Upon hearing about a lack of success, it is almost guaranteed that someone will launch into a monologue about the best way to find a job. How do you tell your nana that the job market has changed a bit since the Great Depression? The worst is when someone starts trying to give you contact information for someone who works in a field completely unrelated to the one you have a degree in or even a remote interest in, simply because “it can’t hurt to try.” If I’m at a wedding, barbecue, or Thanksgiving dinner, please don’t give me your yoga’s teacher’s contact information because she knows someone who runs a “yoga and writing” retreat, in which housewives and hipsters can sip wine and write in journals while watching the sunset in the downward dog position. Thanks, but no thanks.
4. Social media. I’m glad for all of you who managed to fall right into their ideal jobs immediately after graduation. I really am. Or at least I’ve convinced myself to be. But I’m the idiot with an English degree looking for a job in a dying field, and I wish I was lucky enough to be tweeting complaints about my coworkers or my morning commute.
5. Living at home. I’m lucky enough to have parents that didn’t kick me out immediately after graduation, but that doesn’t mean I’m exactly happy to be sleeping in my childhood bedroom, back under mom’s rules. When my parents leave for work in the morning and come home at night and I’m still in the same spot on the couch, surrounded by empty coffee mugs and microwaved leftovers, I don’t even try to refute their judgmental stares. At least they’re good for a home-cooked meal every now and then.
6. Money. If you thought you were broke as a college student, try being unemployed with loan payments knocking on your door. I’ll take mom and dad’s rules to avoid paying rent for as long as possible. The post-grad social life consists of cheap beer and a campfire in someone’s backyard, because who can afford bars?
7. Empty email inboxes. Nothing is worse than applying to 10 jobs one day, only to get a total of zero responses in your inbox. At least send me a “the position has been filled” email, instead of leaving me hanging. At this moment, nothing could make me happier than at least making it to the interview stage.
8. Experience. So I may have made the mistake of spending every employable hour of my summers and school breaks as a lifeguard. But seriously, who can afford these unpaid internships? I needed a job with a paycheck. Now, every employer wants a potential employee to have experience. Every potential employee wants a job to get experience. Take a chance on recent, inexperienced graduates. We learn quickly, I promise.
9. Being judged. I’m not lazy, I swear. My standards are just too high at the moment to take a job I don’t want. I may sit on the couch all day, but those hours are spent on my computer researching jobs, creating my online portfolio, applying to jobs, writing cover letters, tweaking my resume, and….on Tumblr and Netflix, of course. Everyone needs a break now and then.
10. Pressure. I sometimes imagine as the unemployed months go on, I’ll end up running a yoga and writing retreat, smuggling wine away from the housewives and hipsters while I mourn my dreams of being a big-time publishing editor in Manhattan. The external pressures demanding that I immediately find glamorous employment making lots of money in a big city can be overwhelming. But when I sit back and refocus on the smaller tasks, like finding a small editing job somewhere local, the ladder to reaching my goals becomes much more clear. It’s all done one rung at a time.