Why I Filled Out Nearly 200 Job Applications
The pro-grad crisis when the right job just isn’t coming.
July 26, 2017 at 6:41 am
I was one of those lucky kids growing up. I’ve always known what I wanted to be.
The WLGD News at my elementary school was a turning point for me. I had already dabbled in writing short stories and poems, but I had some fantastic educators who showed me that I could translate my words into stories to inform a wide-range of people.
It was then, the fourth grade, that I set my sights on a career in journalism.
I worked on my middle school news team. It was around that age I wrote my first resume and cover letter, applying to be a student correspondent for the county news station.
I was accepted. I would work there though my senior year of high school, becoming an intern. I even stood within a few feet of First Lady Michelle Obama covering a story. It was in high school that I fell in love with print, writing for my school newspaper, and where I would become editor-in-chief. I’d pop in as an anchor on the news show from time to time.
Like I planned, I ended up attending a top college to study journalism and communications, pursuing print, writing for various publications and doing well in my course work. I joined the National Association of Black Journalists to learn more about my future with a group of like-minded (and wonderful) individuals.
I was preparing myself for the job. The New York job. The job I had been working my entire education for, because I was one of the lucky ones, right?
This story isn’t meant to brag about my primary school or even collegiate accomplishments. I hope it resonates with another young person dealing with their post collegiate dreams not coming to fruition, as I write to you from my parent’s home two years after graduation.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m still one of the fortunate ones. I did get a job after college. I am a newspaper editor, running two local publications near my hometown. I’ve chosen to remain at home to hopefully save some money for when that job comes knocking.
If that job comes knocking…
See, you often hear about glass ceilings and mid-life crises, but you never hear about application brick walls and post-collegiate letdowns. You’re told if you work hard enough, put in the effort and stave off distraction, you can have what you earn.
Social media is even worse. You only see people getting their dream jobs, excelling in grad school, traveling abroad and moving to fantastical new places. It’s filled with instagrammable office parties, visits to rooftop bars and complimentary tickets to baseball games.
You never see a person filling out their 100th job application.
You never see someone’s face after receiving a rejection letter.
You don’t watch their confidence slowly dwindle away as they never hear back about their application. All that’s left is an “application received” email in an inbox full of “application received” emails. It’s an iPhone text with the three dot bubbles from an employer, and yet, they never respond. Oh, and their read-receipts are off.
You don’t have to deal with the worst part: when someone asks you if you like your current job and you either lie with a half-smile or tell the truth, which guts them. It wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear.
You don’t hear the disappointment when people who have cheered you on for years hear you’re not where they expected you to be at this point in your life.
It’s not even about the dream job. It’s getting the job, before the job, before the job, before the dream. It starts to feel unattainable.
I know the comment section will say that this is just silly, nothing is guaranteed in life and many people don’t get a fair shake. In fact, I should feel privileged that I have a job when so many don’t or can’t. There’s nothing there I can disagree with.
The point here is to serve as a reminder, to everyone else that is chasing their dream, that they aren’t running the race alone.
We’re often conditioned from a young age that 1 + 1 + 1 is the only way to get to 3, and yet sometimes it takes all of PEDMAS to get to even that small of a number. Some people are blessed that opportunities came to them, in many cases deservedly, while you’re on the sidelines feeling just as accomplished. Just as justified.
My hope for you, like me, is you never stop. Everything you do, every job you take, even if you hate it, gets you closer to your goals. Remember that.
It’s 1 a.m. and I filled out probably my 150th job application, and I will keep applying and working and improving my craft until I get that job. It might take application 199, but I will get there.
I hope this serves as a level of hope for someone that is still finding their way.
We can still be some of the lucky ones.