Earlier today I spent a tenth of what I have left in my bank account to print out 15 copies of an 8 page creative resume that I designed into a magazine. My thought process: If they can hold and flip through my potential, maybe they’ll finally take notice.
The normal resumes approved by career centers and HR managers haven’t worked. The hundreds of tailored cover letters haven’t worked. The awards, the GPA, the internships. They didn’t work.
Maybe it’s because what I’m passionate about and want to work in has nothing to do with my degree. Maybe it’s because I have no related connections having not gone to USC (poetic feel intended).
All I know is that I’ve applied to >200 jobs over the course of the year. Entry level, fellowships, assistant positions, random positions. The endless search for a step in the door has brought me to unusually low spirits on different occasions. But I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to make a career in creative media.
I guess I just thought that this big adventure would launch as soon as college ended. That starting to search for a job early on would have paid off. I didn’t picture the adventure taking place in the middle of L.A. traffic, lost because my Sprint phone seems to never have service, unable to deliver the creative resumes I just printed from some desperate vision of a final attempt.
I don’t know what I’m doing, I spent $120 printing out colorful magazine resumes that look like an art student’s final project. Is that what creative agencies like?
I didn’t expect finding a job to be this hard.
But it’s these moments where we have the time to mess up, not get what we want, and try other things -the times where we think to ourselves “what am I doing, why is it like this, what should I do now”- that eventually lead us to the best situations.
Ever since I was little I wanted to live in New York. Work in New York. Succeed in New York.
Well, I’ve never been.
I’ve applied to job after job in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other areas in California because it seemed rational. We all need a job. And you can’t really get one in a place you aren’t in.
But sitting in my car today with a blank Google Maps dot ironically representing how lost I felt, printed resumes in the passenger seat and desire to give up at an all time high, I subconsciously began making different plans. Ones that didn’t take place in California.
By the time I found my way back to the Home Depot where this story began (to use their wi-fi to figure out my next steps – struggle is real indeed), I mentally decided to move to New York.
California for me had been a safety net, in case New York never came true. But the safety net wasn’t even there, so why stay?
I’ll walk dogs. Baby sit for rich families. Work at a convenient store. I’ll eat a can of beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll try. Try my hardest.
I guess the point of all of this is to tell my fellow college graduates to never give up. I mean, things aren’t supposed to just work out. At least, I don’t think they’re supposed to.
I guess the point of all of this is to tell everyone my age: I also have no clue. I have no idea what I’m doing. Don’t we all! But the more time I spend not knowing, I have the hunch that no one really does, and we’re not supposed to know.
Above all, in the fluctuating state of inspiration and befuddlement, let’s make sure we don’t mistake being lost as being worthless – they are not one and the same. We’re worth everything we are now, were before, and will be.
Maybe these rejections, driving 12 miles the wrong direction because Sprint is the worst, being dropped from the company you thought you were the perfect fit for, are the detours that our future selves will be grateful for. The opening sentences to the most exciting chapters.
Let’s not limit ourselves to safety nets.
I mean, all this said, I don’t know. I’m still just a college graduate without a job. I haven’t found my success yet. I don’t know anything, really. I don’t know what those 4 years were supposed to do (except teach you how to have fun and still look good on paper).
But the point is, don’t give up on yourself. Keep going. And with optimism.
Just like rotten grapes turn into wine, these sour situations might just turn into surprising opportunities.