Hey, I’m Brittainy. I’m 23 and I currently reside in Chicago, but I hail from St. Louis (*whispers* STL 314!) I graduated from Northwestern University last Spring and now I work for a network of all boys’ schools. (I won’t mention the name because I’m not tryna pop up on our Google Alerts).
So you have your first real-world job. Congrats! But it’s in a real estate office when your major was psychology, and your boss is the real life version of J’s boss from Awkward Black Girl?
Or you have a job you actually enjoy, working with people you like, making good money. But what you really want to do is go into fashion design.
Or maybe you have no job and no prospects whatsoever.
Do not panic. Do not create a profile at SugarDaddy.com.
Don’t think that this is where you will always be.
I will admit, I did not have a very hard time finding my first post-college job. After spending the summer working in a dorm mailroom at my college, I moved back home to St. Louis and restarted my job search. For a month, I scoured Monster.com and LinkedIn on the daily. Then I got an email from the founder of the high school that I had interned with the winter before, offering me the chance to apply for a job. I sent in my resume, had a phone interview a week later, and found out that I had the position a week after that.
Then I panicked.
Wait, I thought. I’ve technically only been unemployed for a month and a half, now I have my first real job. That wasn’t a long enough break! I haven’t caught up on all my episodes of Psych yet. I have to find an apartment and move back to Chicago all in two weeks. I’m not ready to pay rent. What if I get robbed?
Suddenly, I had a job writing grants at a charter high school without the first idea of how to write a grant. What if I hated it, or wasn’t capable? Besides, I wasn’t in education; I was an African American Studies major. I was supposed to be a Respectable Negro Scholar like W.E.B. DuBois. This wasn’t the plan (not that I actually had one). I did not want to be stuck.
Luckily I have a mother to knock some sense into me. She told me that I had to start somewhere. This was a good opportunity to get some real-world work experience, and save up some cash. That even if I hated it, I could eventually move in a different direction if I wanted. She made me realize that the first job is just that; the FIRST job. It did not have to be perfect, or be the exact job that I wanted to be doing forever. It was just a starting point.
So I took that to heart, and have kept it in mind every day.
When I accidentally misspelled Maya Angelou’s name in a Tweet, I remembered it.
When I had to rewrite a report nearly from scratch after two weeks of work, I remembered it.
When my colleagues refused to answer my emails promptly, almost costing us the chance for a big grant, I forgot. But then I remembered it.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t expect to be perfect. Your first job sure won’t be that way.
What’s that you say? “I don’t have a job. I don’t even have an unpaid, overworked internship. It’s six months after graduation, and I’m still living in my childhood bedroom, eating Cocoa Puffs and watching Storage Wars marathons.”
Same for you. Don’t think that this is where you will always be.
Go over all those contacts, reach out and see what one of your employed friends might be able to do for you.
Get it like Evelyn and start a blog to keep yourself creative and occupied. Document this time, even if you feel like nothing is happening.
Finally start that exercise regimen you’ve been talking about since high school.
Make a vision board. Do anything to stay busy, and remind you of what you are working towards. Even if you are not currently in the “right” field, keep what you really want in the forefront of your mind.
And cherish those afternoon naps while you can. You will miss them.
Brittainy is on the Tumblr Internets! Find her here.