Category Archives: Jobs

Sometimes, you just have to risk it all and go

I live life by three quotes and they are; “Never give up”, “There is no progress without and struggle and sacrifice” and “Sacrifice everything or accomplish nothing.” I’m not sure where exactly I heard that last one, or if I simply made it up, regardless; I think it is relevant to all of our lives. Now, I have big dreams in life, the ultimate dream, only a few know about. The rest of you will have to wait until the day comes to learn what that ultimate dream is. But in order to get there, the third quote comes into play.

Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be two things, a writer and what the ultimate dream if it came true, would make me. My first sacrifice was putting off college for a few years so that I could figure out what exactly I should study and the path I should take to get to where I want to be. This decision led to my double major in Justice Studies (a focus on social justice issues) and Political Science with an emphasis on American Government at Northeastern Illinois University. I sacrificed my time, my social life, and relationships, dedicating my time to doing an extensive amount of writing and research that most students don’t bother doing. This meant undergoing an independent study along with four other classes one semester. The independent study was worth three credit hours and graded like a typical class, for it; I wrote a thirty page paper on US immigration policy from the early 1800’s to the present day. At times, I had to sacrifice sleep working my retail job to pay the bills, doing all of the schoolwork, and on top of all of that, carrying a total of three internships on my back when only one was required. “Never give up” came to mind when I struggled with my college math courses and refused to let the material beat me. In the end, my GPA was high and put me on the Dean’s List for my final two years.

I graduated in December of 2015 and now I am sacrificing everything to accomplish my dreams and my goals. A while back, when I was still completing my Bachelor’s, a good friend whom I have known all of my life offered me a room in California where he had settled after being discharged from the Navy. At first, I turned it down because I was in love and in a relationship of four years. As that relationship entered its fifth year, the woman I loved felt that we needed to go our separate ways, as hard as it was to hear those words, and for as long as it took me to get over the breakup, I came to realize that it was for the best, for the situation in Illinois with the budget impasse and the financial and education crises that the city of Chicago is facing, has had an impact on college graduates looking for work in their respected fields of study, I being one of them and I did not invest the time and the money in college to stay in retail and stock laundry detergent my whole life. The political mess in Illinois is also taking its toll on the state’s public universities which operated for some time without budgets, and are currently running on temporary budgets, this is not good for somebody like me who seeks to obtain their PhD. With all of that said, I asked my friend in California if the offers still stands as I seek opportunity and a badly needed change. He told me, “Yes of course, the offer still stands.” Now onto why this is a huge risk and a sacrifice.

I am headed to California at the end of July with only my car which I am still making payments on, and my few belongings which consist of my clothes, and two storage totes, one filled with DVDs and the other filled with books. There is also my laptop and my cat. That’s it. I’m headed to California without a job, but at least a place to stay. I’m putting a dent in my life savings to get ahead on some of the monthly expenses so that I don’t have to worry about them for a few months as I look for work, and I am certainly putting a lot of hope in getting a job where my friend works which he says, there is a 99% chance that I will in fact get a job, but I am prepared for that 1% chance that I don’t. I am sacrificing it all in order to accomplish my dreams and my goals. I am confident that things will work out, for I always seem to find a way to make it, for I persevere and Never Give Up. I intend on taking a risk and self-publishing some of my works of Science Fiction under my own brand, even though some authors have had great success in doing this, it’s risky, for I will not have the representation and promotional resources of an agent or a well known publisher. I’m taking a big risk and making a big sacrifice, and will make further sacrifices when I attend graduate school and work towards my PhD. Once graduate school is complete, I hope to teach college for a while, research and publish within the fields of Political Science and Social Justice, to continue to write and self publish other works until the day comes to pursue that ultimate dream.

“Sacrifice everything or accomplish nothing.” certainly comes into play here, as well as the other two quotes I live by. But I’ve overcome a lot and I have been offered a golden opportunity in the Golden State of all places, ironically enough, and I must sacrifice it all in order to make my dreams come true. I realized that sometimes, you just have to pick up and go and that is what I am doing. I hope that you will do the same if it means happiness and making your dreams come true and accomplishing your goals. Nothing good comes without sacrifice and struggle. We must not fear those two things as individuals or as groups if success is lying on the horizon.

The Job search of a Recent College Graduate

Like many of you out there, I have worked hard to get to where I am today. I’ve endured setbacks, hardships, and even heartbreak. I had to work and make my own money in order to buy my car, pay for my cell phone, and buy my clothes. Of course, I had help from family along the way, but very little financially. That’s not to say that my family did not lend money to me when I needed it, but it was never for large amounts and expecting help in paying for four years of college was out of the question, my family simply did not have that kind of money, so like most American college students, I had to rely on loans and work near full-time hours while going to school full-time.

Now that I have been out of college for a month, I graduated in December of 2015, I begin the much dreaded job search. I can say that my luck might be a little bit better than some of those graduates who have come before me in recent years, as the job market and the economy has greatly improved these past few years however; there is that one little word that discourages me. That word is “experience”. Now, I’m not the type of person who gets discouraged easily, I always believe that the grass is greener on the other side, but as I browse jobs postings on the numerous employment websites and find something that I might be interested in or falls inline with the two subjects I majored in (Justice Studies and Political Science), I see that word, experience. The employer wants you to have ten years of experience doing this, and seven years of experience doing that. How exactly does a college graduate get “experience” if nobody is willing to give them a shot and allow them to prove themselves. ¬†As far as I’m concerned, I have a lot of experience and there’s not much that I can’t do. I interned for a U.S Senator, worked on a gubernatorial campaign, interned for a nonprofit organization made up of community lawyers who advocated and fought for First Amendment rights in the Northwestern region of Illinois, and have worked in retail for eight years. How’s that for “experience”?

The discouragement on the other side of “experience” are the jobs that are open to you no matter what you studied or how good or how poor your GPA was, and those are sales jobs. I can’t even count how many of these jobs I see everyday, or how many emails and phone calls I get from recruiters for such jobs. I must say, that these jobs postings sound good; they promise good pay, and all of these benefits and perks. You think it all sounds peachy, then you go to a website such as glassdoor.com, read the reviews, find out that not only is the pay commission based, it’s also door-to-door, putting wear and tear on your car, and getting doors slammed in your face. There is of course, those reviews about how terrible management is and how poorly they treat you. In my opinion, such employers think you’re an idiot and they set this trap to lure college graduates who have hopes of earning money and going somewhere in the world to their crappy sales job. And all of those marketing job postings you see, most of the time, those are the same thing. The truth is that the concept works like this; you’re a college graduate and you want to make money. You take one of these positions most likely because a recruiter sweet talked you, made it sound like the greatest thing ever and you accepted. While you’re miserable and not making any money, the recruiter just got paid! They’re in it for them, not for you.

Finally, I want to touch on these so called “staffing” agencies. I don’t think they’re a bad thing even though most of the jobs they have to offer you with various employers are temporary, they are a good resource for somebody who has been out of work because they were laid off or for whatever the reason might be, but in my view, this is not practical for a recent college graduate. The reason I say this is because a new graduate is not looking for something temporary, they are looking for something permenant which they can do for many years or in some cases, for the rest of their lives. Recently, I spoke to a woman from one of these agencies, she was very nice and of course was trying to sweet talk me into taking a temporary position with one of the many employers they work with. She told me that many of the people who work for the employers they interact with get hired on after several months of temp work, but how is this practical for a college student who has loans to pay off and can’t afford to be without a paycheck for any given amount of time? And this is what I told the lady, I simply cannot give up the retail job that I have been working throughout college to take a temporary job which might not turn into something permanent and be without a paycheck.

My search of course will continue. I’m looking to get into nonprofit or government, work for a while and publish some writing, which has always been a dream of mine before going back for my Master’s and hopefully getting into politics to help make a positive difference for all, another dream of mine. Before I wrap this up, I want all of you college graduates out there who are in this boat with me, to get two things into your head. One; never give up on your job search. Your first job may not be your dream job, but it will be a step in the right direction. Your first job and your dream job will come, and don’t be afraid to call and follow up on your application. This is not taboo, in fact it is just the opposite and most people will tell you so. Following up, shows enthusiasm and interest for the position. Second; never give up on your dreams, in my opinion, one only fails if they give up. You may not succeed right away, but keep trying and you certainly will succeed. I have not yet found that stepping stone job and certainly not my dream job, but be optimistic with me and we will not fail. Best of luck and may 2016 be your year!