Life After College: What I Learned on The 2-Year Road To My First Real Job

CBH1TJ Laptop keyboard and red key

I graduated from Belmont University with a bachelor's degree in history in August 2012. It's one of the highlights of my life so far. Full of optimism and excitement for the adventures that lay ahead of me, I decided to take a brief break from work and school. That brief break might not have been the wisest of decisions. I soon discovered that the job market wasn't really interested in me or the numerous recent graduates like myself.

If you happened to catch my last blog post, you might have noticed that I finally got that "real" job.

It has been a very exciting last two weeks as my tenure at the hospital cafeteria dwindled down. In that time though, I have had to look back on the last two years, contemplating the challenges and successes of my time there. Here are some of the things I have learned in the last few years I think might be helpful for people to understand about my generation and our relationship to the job market.

Looking for your first job is exhausting.

The process of looking for a job is strenuous. It requires patience, significant intellectual input, a decent bit of writing and rewriting, and an ability to handle rejection. In my case, all of this had to be dealt with while I was cooking at all hours of the day and night.

From nearly my first day at the cafeteria, I began looking for that "real" job. I took the cooking job because I needed income and knew it would be a relatively easy and reliable paycheck. (My part-time job for four years during college was cooking at Belmont's cafeteria, so I had plenty of experience.) I also knew that I had no desire to turn it into a career.

So my job search began in earnest. It was exhausting, working hard in front of hot grills and greasy fryers, only to come home and try to give thoughtful, refined energy to getting better employment.

Originally published