I roll out of bed at around 4:30am even after a 1:00am clock out at work a short 3.5 hours prior. My phone lies on my nightstand lit up with Nordstrom Rack emails, Tinder messages, and an option to hit “Sleep.”
So, what’s next?
A question as a young-twenty something I get ALL of the time. Usually this is pertaining to jobs, sometimes it’s after I rant about a stupid guy (happens frequently).
I don’t know yet.
A simple answer that usually leaves people with a confused look on their face immediately followed by a cheerful, “Oh, well you’ll figure something out I’m sure!”
Yeah, I know.
I’m not one to plan. I act on my emotions and intuitions most of the time which can get me into trouble but I also don’t think trusting your gut is entirely as bad as it sounds.
I will figure it out.
That was the mentality I had when I moved down in here in August, and it’s stuck with me 9 months later. A lot of people have reached out to me asking about the logistics of my move (money, jobs, etc.). They are usually dissatisfied with my answer as I usually reply with something like, “You just kinda figure it out…”
I understand that for some this may be a tough mentality to embrace. If someone were to tell me that a year ago I would probably laugh and then cry after looking at the minuscule number in my checking account.
The F*CK you mean, “You just kinda figure it out?!”
Well, you do.
I remember the anxiety of graduating all to well. It was a year ago *gasps*, but getting faced with the question of “So, what’s next?” was something I heard more than my first name. If you’re a recent college grad and you don’t know the answer to that yet, it’s ok, because I don’t either. A year later and I don’t have the slightest clue “what’s next.” And that’s totally cool. Well, at least I think it is.
I recently left my 9-5 job. On good terms, but it just wasn’t the right fit for me.
I know that there is a “next step” but it’s just a matter of giving myself enough time to figure out what that next step will be. And for all you job seekers, you could agree that searching for a full time job is a job in itself– why do I have to upload resume AND fill in your online form outlining everything that my resume says?
While the mantra in pre-graduation was “make connections, have something lined up, check with your career advisor blah blah blah.” The same things pertains to post-grad life except my career advisor is either my mom or an ex-fling who is decent at resume writing. The expectations remain the same, except the bar is set higher after college because you’re supposed to, like, know things or whatever.
I got too drunk on a Tuesday is no longer a viable excuse (but was it really ever?).
Anyways, if I was “smart” and following the societal career expectations, it would go something like this:
1. Achieve an entry level job.
2. Work hard. Give it your all.
3. Grow within the company or seek other opportunities.
4. Find other opportunity.
5. Put your notice in, leave on good terms.
Here is mine.
1. Achieve an entry level job.
2. Work hard. Give it your all.
3. Grow within the company or seek other opportunities.
4. Accept that I would like to pursue other opportunities.
5. Not be sure about what other opportunities to seek.
6. Put notice in, leave on good terms.
Slight difference. But I don’t see why both are not considered honorable.
I was always told to have something lined up before I quit something, but when something doesn’t feel right, I don’t see the point of staying.
Happiness is numero uno, my friends. Remember that.
To the people who don’t know what’s next:
This is exciting sh*t. A bit unnerving at times, but still exciting. People are going to tell you that right now is the time to jumpstart your career. To figure out the best way to get ahead of the next guy. And they’re right-that is important. But don’t settle for something just because you feel like you need to follow the rigid societal structure for the rest of your life.
Because you don’t.
Living in a city so career-focused, my anxiety about figuring out “what’s next” has been heightened at times. Surrounded by successful politicians, consultants, restaurant owners, etc., jobs are always the center of conversation. People are always hustling to get ahead, hustling to make themselves better in a culture full of extremely motivated people. People don’t just live here. They live here because they work here.
I would assume that the number of 23 year olds who live here without a “career plan” set in place is rare. It’s a demographic that I have fallen into, but instead of stressing over it, I embrace the “you’ll figure it out” mentality.
The best is yet to come. And the idea of that excites me. It should excite you too.
You are a marketable human being. Know that. Own it.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have figured out, focus on what you do have. So what if you have to serve tables to get by? The service industry has introduced me to some of the greatest people and launched my career towards whatever is next. But why does “next” always have to be defined? It shouldn’t.
I see grad school in my future. I also see a really handsome and nice guy who appreciates all things involving pizza and dogs. Definitely see a plane ticket to a random spot on the map. Perhaps a bionic pancreas will get thrown into the mix too.
Those things will come. Maybe not “next,” but someday.
I’m about to experience my first “resume gap” but I’m as concerned with that as I am with thigh gaps (which is very minimal). Some may read this as irresponsible, but I’d have to disagree. It’s not a matter of lacking motivation, it’s a matter of navigating towards where I want to be the best way I know how.
You can’t focus on getting ahead if your current situation is holding you back.
If you just graduated this past weekend, you’re probably wondering what your 100k slip of paper really stands for besides a lifetime of loans.
It stands for a lifetime of blank pages and unexpected outcomes. New cities, new flings, new chapters, new “WTF was I thinking”s. You’re going to piss yourself off a lot along the way, but there will also be countless days where you think, “I’m the shit,” and truly mean it. Hold onto those days.
If I were to give one spiel of advice to newly graduated seniors, it would be this:
Choose new beginnings. Don’t get trapped into the rigid societal structure- that’s what 22 years of school was for. Do what you love, but know that you might have to do something you don’t love as much to get there. Work hard. Make connections- but not just the career oriented kind. Talk to people. Good people. You’re going to fuck up…a lot. You’re going to choose shitty guys, you’re going to piss off your boss. It’s ok. Just be good people. Character trumps bullet points any day if you’re searching for non-monetary fulfillment.
And that is the most important type of fulfillment if you’re looking to mentally survive the real world…trust me.
You’re not always going to know what’s next, and that’s ok. You’ll figure it out.
…at least that’s the mentality I’m going with so I’ll let you know how I turn out. Fingers crossed.
I drafted a post titled “23 things I wish I knew at 22.” Be more cliché, Beth, I dare you.
Although I crafted some pretty good points and shed some light on things that my 22 year old self would have scoffed at, I reread it and thought “haha, wait, am I actually significantly older and wiser than I was at 22?” Ummmm….I’m going to go with a hard “no.” Continue reading 23 things I wish I knew…wait nvm.
It’s a question that is seemingly harmless, but often gives off the connotation that I simply ran away from it because I disliked what my old life had to offer.
I didn’t run, I moved on.
My Massachusetts paraphernalia is hung on my dull white walls. My Red Sox hat lies on my nightstand beside me. Pictures, t-shirts, group chats. My old city is never far, although sometimes it feels like it is.
I moved after I graduated, something many young twenty somethings do. There’s something about exploring a new area, making your mark on a blank slate. I knew there was something more out there for me, and I knew I couldn’t find that staying in the same place.
There are often times I feel nostalgic for the life that I used to be a part of. Times where I wonder if I made the right choice, if I’ll ever miss it enough to turn around and move back.
I miss you. I miss the irrationally confusing street map, the “pahks,” the aura you give off that makes it feel like home to any stranger. I miss the crushed peanuts underneath my Converse after a night at Fenway, the stickiness of Bud Light on my arm after a night out.
I miss the people, the sense of belonging to something bigger than what you are. I miss the nosebleeds in the Garden, the 90% chance of drunkenly making a new friend at a Bruin’s game.
I miss all of those things.
However, whenever I go back, I’m always reminded of why I left.
It’s not because I dislike you, or that my new life is significantly better than the life that you offered me. It’s because I know the attachment I have to every aspect of you will hurt my chances of ever seeing what else is out there.
I love my new home. I love the architecture, the hole-in-the-wall coffee shops that I stumble upon. My monument runs are tough to beat. Although the sport’s culture isn’t as enjoyable, it’s entertaining to watch people try to make that the case (Go….Redskins?).
Life here is more cut-throat, the people aren’t attached to where they reside. People come in and out, oftentimes not regretting who they step on to get to where they’re going. It has been challenging to adjust to a new life, but it’s the challenge I crave.
It’s the challenge that I new I needed to start my new life post-grad.
When people ask me why I chose DC, I never really know how to answer. I always had an idea in my head that we are “meant” to be in a certain city. That we are meant to find an undeniable attachment to a certain place. Originally, that’s why I picked DC.
I thought I was meant to be here.
I’ve come to find out that we are never really meant to be anywhere.
I’m attached to Boston. I’m attached to Cape Town. I’m attached to DC. And maybe someday I’ll be attached to San Francisco, Chicago, or Portland. I’m not sure. But why should we feel like we have to be tied to one area when the world is at our fingertips?
I don’t think I’m “meant to be” in one place. That’s why I left.
I didn’t want to leave, I had to leave. I had to find out what I was capable of, what my life could turn into without you in it. Many people stay with you forever, and I can’t blame them. Why would you ever want to leave a city that has been designed to make you want to stay?
Nearly 6 months has passed, and I have yet to say thank you.
Thank you for the all of the memories involving cheap beer, the wicked annoying sports arrogance, the faded letters on my keyboard from all the blog posts you gave me to write about.
Thank you for the in-state tuition at an incredible college, the group chat of 10 high school girlfriends that makes me feel close when I’m lonely. I could thank you for everything, and spend all night writing this but I’ll leave you with this:
Thank you for giving me the strength to leave. The strength to try out something new. The strength to dive into something unknown, the strength to leave you behind.
The strength to have the peace of mind that although I will always miss you, I can still thrive without you.
The night of August 22nd, my mom, sister, and I packed my life in a UHaul van. Inside was my bed, new dresser, and endless bags of random sh*t. We were expected to leave at midnight and make it to our destination by 8am the next morning, but we hit the road after dinner instead because naps are for squids.
I gripped the truck with both hands the entire ride (surprisingly, big trucks don’t come with instruction manuals) and I was leaving the city that I had called my home for the past 22 years to start a new life in the nation’s capital.
Did I mention that I am unemployed? Lol.
Boston had my name written all over it. I left job opportunities, friends, family, flings, you name it. Not that I would have been miserable moving to Southie or Somerville, I was just ready to leave that life behind. I didn’t come to DC with a plan, all I knew was that I had a roof over my head and a few month’s rent in my savings account.
Some called me crazy to pack up my life and move away without a job, and others called me brave. Although I appreciated the compliment (or lack thereof), I wouldn’t classify myself as either.
I’m just a girl who wanted to move away…so I did.
So Beth, how’d ya do it?!
STEP 1 OF MOVING AWAY UNEMPLOYED: HAVE ENOUGH MONEY SAVED TO AVOID HOMELESSNESS.
Living at home is always the safest plan financially, and to be quite frank I’m not sure how I’m going to pay my loans on top of my rent and living expenses come December. That being said, I worked my ass off this summer and missed out on a lot fun stuff with friends but I knew I needed to be able to make it down here…at least for a few months. The rest I’ll figure out as I go.
You don’t need to have 10 grand in your savings, you just need enough to give yourself a cushion until your income becomes more steady.
Long story short, I spent $250 to make a video resumé with a complete stranger I found on Craigslist (literally).
I sent a few texts back and forth with this CL videographer dude and he seemed normal and offered an affordable rate so we met up in Boston one day and filmed for 6 hours–again, not kidding. Don’t knock CL until you try it. Statistics show that most aren’t Craigslist killers…I think.
If you were too lazy to click on my video link, I encourage you to scroll up and do so. It got over 200 likes on Facebook…it’s the real deal.
I’m trying to go into the PR field which is what inspired the “life story” theme. The business is all about being able to sell your brand and story so I came up with a creative way of showing that. I ran around Boston and got a lot of rejections and eye rolls…but I also met a lot of amazing people and shot some great footage for pretty goddamn cheap.
The videographer’s name is Ben Zackin who has a video business based out of Vermont. As you can see…he’s kind of awesome. He brought my jumbled thoughts to life and created what turned out be an incredible end product. Check out more of Ben’s stuff here, he’s pretty much the sh*t.
Anyways, back to DC.
STEP 3 OF MOVING AWAY UNEMPLOYED: BE GOOD AT INSTAGRAM…I GUESS?
I started the job hunt grind the day after I got here. I searched on Craigslist under the “food/bev/hosp” section for a waitressing or bartending gig to make quick cash to supplement my income for the time being. I immediately got an email back from a tequila bar downtown…and the same day I was employed.
Day 2 of DC: Employed (technically).
The day I was hired as a waitress I Instagrammed this photo:
I didn’t think much of it. I just wanted the world to know that I wasn’t about to enter into a downward financial spiral and burn up in flames after paying my September rent (just kidding, I just wanted an excuse to Insta).
Well, apparently the owner of the restaurant LOVED the photo and the amount of likes it got–the power of social media, bro. The first time I met him in person he immediately complimented my picture and then asked what my story was.
Well, uh, I moved here from Boston without a job and here I am.He asked what field I was going into and I told him I was applying to jobs in PR. As it turns out, his fiancé is pretty big in PR down here…life, man. He then told me to shoot over my resumé (awesome! connections!!!! networking!!!) and he’d help me out. Before I had even had the chance to, I received this email from him the very next morning:
Not only was he offering to help with my job search…he extended an invite to “chat more” about a full time position within their company. I replied instantly with my resumé and the video I had created with Ben.
The next day I walked into work and started getting compliments on my video and the Instagram picture (perks of being a ~*filter expert*~). He had been sending my video around to the management team and they were loving it.
I refreshed my email after my shift and got offered an official interview for the marketing and events associate position he had mentioned in the email. I couldn’t decide if I was excited or just extremely confused about how quick and easy things had started falling into place.
In less than 2 weeks of being in DC: I applied to a restaurant I found on CL, posted an Instagram picture, sent my resumé to the owner, and now I was getting offered an interview for a really awesome job working with really cool people…with benefits (and free margaritas hopefully?). None of this was planned to happen this way, it just did.
Step 4 of moving away unemployed: if you don’t “know” anyone, make yourself known.
They say life after post-grad is all about “who you know.” You’re expected to network throughout college, build your resumé, and make connections to make the job search easier.
That being said, I’ve known my boss for less than 2 weeks and he has already panned out to be a stronger connection than most people I have come into contact with throughout my job search. My mom “knows” people, my previous bosses “know” people, but I’ve found that it’s way more rewarding making your own connections without anyone else’s help.
OPPORTUNITY IS ALWAYS OUT THERE, YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND IT.
I know what employers look for in a PR candidate, so even if I don’t have all the experience or impressive bullet points on my resumé, there are other avenues to take. For example, social media.
You can classify my Instagram as “basic” but I don’t just take photos for the likes. My Insta feed is an addition to my personal brand and it’s certainly something I include on my resumé (hiding social media pages is so 2011). Social media rules the world, especially in PR and marketing.
STEP 5 OF MOVING AWAY UNEMPLOYED: WORK THE SYSTEM, DON’T LET IT WORK YOU.
What else do I use to enhance this said “personal brand?”
Hi, I’m Beth. I moved here from Boston unemployed because I wanted to take a chance in a new city. There are ways to phrase that and sound like an irresponsible and ignorant millennial. However, there’s also a way to make it sound like you’re a motivated go-getter who has enough confidence to take that chance…and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.
Like, I have literally been using my unemployment and unsteady income as a marketing technique…funny how that works out, huh?
step 6 of moving away unemployed: throw your excuses out the window.
I’m writing this as a post-grad who is still unemployed, but I wouldn’t have picked up my life if I didn’t think I could make it. The way I see it, sometimes having no plan is actually better than having one. I’ve been able to create my life the way I want it to so far without having to adhere to a 9-5 right away.
Financially, this move has been entirely on my own. My bank account sobbed a little September 1st but the first cut is always the deepest, right?
Mentally, it’s scary as hell moving to a new place where you are basically a nobody. I don’t have a solid group of friends yet and I can count on one hand the amount of people I can call up to go out on a Friday night. It’s weird, but definitely not lonely.
I take comfort in the fact that the best is certainly to come.
The point of this post wasn’t to brag or say it’s easy moving to a new city. I’ve been here for little less than 2 weeks and I already miss my friends and family despite DC being absolutely incredible so far. It’s weird moving here without a solid foundation and no one really to fall back on besides yourself. Not to mention, it’s also definitely a little bit stressful paying rent and other random expenses on your own.
Maybe luck fell on my side these first couple of weeks, but I’d like to give myself a little more credit than that.
I guess I’m writing this to prove that you don’t always have to rely on other people to get where you need to be, it can be done entirely on your own. I could’ve worked the ropes in Boston fairly easily and landed a job out of college if I really wanted to but I knew I didn’t want to stay in Boston.
IT’S NOT HARD TO MAKE IT ONCE YOU GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, THE HARD PART IS ACTUALLY GETTING THERE.
Maybe it wasn’t the “safest” decision to take a leap of faith into the unknown. However, when you move away, you realize that you need to make it work because you don’t really have any other option but to make it work. You see what I’m sayin’?
Not knowing what my future holds is kind of unsettling at times. However, it’s also kind of awesome. For the first time, I feel like my life is completely in my hands and I can mold it how I see fit. I’ll keep you all updated and I promise I won’t wait 3 weeks this time…
As for the last and final step:
step 7 of moving away unemployeD: don’t be afraid to meet up with guys you met on hinge, happn, bumble, or tinder. *insert smirking emoji here*
My name is Beth Cormack. I graduated from a university that is (accurately) nicknamed the “Zoo.” I did an internship a couple of summers back that consisted of coffee runs and stuffing envelopes (quite literally)…although my resume states otherwise:
Developed innovative social media marketing campaigns to assist in the restructure of the company’s brand.
Coordinated outreach and successfully created partnerships with the nation’s top magazines, including People and Teen Vogue, in order to promote the company’s product. (Haha…yea! Go Beth!)
Hire me? Please? I swear I’m a cool girl. I’m pretty good at talking to people, and I still know all of the lyrics to “Where Is The Love?” by BEP circa 2003–that’s like over a decade ago!! Impressive right? I like writing (about boys, that is) and I’m pretty decent at it. I may not read the classics on the reg, but I can converse with you in depth about Horcruxes and flying broomsticks if you want. I love to travel and I know my Spanish isn’t as good as you hoped for, but if I had a decent paying job, I could totally fly all over the world and learn any language you wanted me to…I swear.
All that being said…am I hired yet? No? C’mon. Please. I’m begging you. I don’t have 5+ years in the PR field…but did I mention I’m pretty cool????
I don’t think I want to know how many of my applications have been ignored or simply sent to the “Trash” option on Gmail. I’d like to think that I’m the best candidate for the job, but unfortunately my flawless rendition of a 2003 BEP song doesn’t say, “I’ll make your company significantly better.”
So, what’s a Gen Y-er supposed to do in this day and age in terms of job searching? I have spent hours crafting clever cover letters..but not too clever or else they’ll think I’m forcing it. My resume is full of “power verbs” given to me by career services, but here I am…still jobless.
I’m torn between selling myself to you and losing myself in the process. I want you to notice me, but I don’t want you to define me by my generic “power verbs” and exaggerated bullet points.
And to be quite frank, Mr. or Ms. Future Employer, the sentence on my resume that reads, “Executes use of the branding, development, design, and editorial processes as tools for visioning, alignment and development for companies,” listed under my PR internship makes me want to throw up. Sorry about it.
I WANT YOU TO NOTICE ME, NOT MY RESUME.
But how am I supposed to do that? Well, folks. I think I’ve found the answer. I stumbled upon a dude named Alex Rosier who is pretty fricken amazing witha camera, and he has the dedication to prove it. He’s trying to apply to his dream job with Casey Neistat at Beme and he asked himself the question that I just proposed:
HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET NOTICED?
Alex took it upon himself to take a different, less generic approach than a paper filled with power verbs and exaggerated bullet points. He put his skills to work and created a video application that says far more than a 1 page word doc. It’s titled A New Age Job Application where he walked around Boston and asked some strangers to stand behind him in his quest to land his dream job.
“It was in this moment I noticed you can’t just email Casey Neistat and expect a response. If you really want to be heard, you have to show your application and do something very different.”
Pretty sweet, right? AIex’s video is more than just an “new age application” it incorporates a message that speaks to all of the post-grads currently entering into the job market: we’re sick and tired of being ignored. An employer spends 10-15 seconds glancing over a resume (or at least that’s what Career Services has told me) before deciding if you’re worth a response in return.That means, somehow, you have to translate your $200,000 degree into something that says I’M WAAAYYY BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE!!!!
Be the applicant they want to spend more time on… Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda. Like, duh Beth, we’ve heard that 6 thousand times. Ok, so maybe you have, but have you taken an approach that doesn’t involve spellcheck or a template you picked up from your career advisor?
We double and triple check our applications before sending them out, tweak each e-mail to make it sound more personal, and put so much effort towards “being different” that we often forget that everyone else is doing the same exact thing. So, again, I propose the same question: how the f*ck am I supposed to be different?
SIMPLE ANSWER: BE F*CKING DIFFERENT.
I have always been hesitant to include my personal blog on my resume because it’s…well, personal. But, it’s who I am. It’s what I’m passionate about and it’s far more intriguing to read than “deviser and researcher of optimal communication strategies in B2B and B2C markets,” (like, lol, wut Beth?).
IT’S NOT “PROFESSIONAL,” BUT IT’S DIFFERENT. IT’S ME.
We’re all passionate about something. Even if you don’t know yet, you do have something to bring to the table, even if you don’t have “5+ years in the marketing field.” Be more than bullet points, folks. Be more than a cover letter, be more than the 10-15 seconds your future employers spend on reading your resume. Get rejected by a few strangers in Boston Common, submit your stories about getting screwed over by a guy. I don’t care what you do, but don’t define “different” in the same way that everyone else is.
DON’T LET YOUR DRIVE GET LOST IN THE GENERIC WAY OF DOING THINGS.
You could be the key that actually makes their company significantly better. Make the job market less about flawless grammar, impressive vocabulary, and perfectly constructed sentences on a cover letter and more about what makes you, you.
Share this and help Alex Rosier land his dream job. I encourage you to all follow in his footsteps do something different..and no, I mean, like something that’s ACTUALLY different.
On that note, Casey Neistat, if you read this:
ALEX ROSIER FOR BEME.
…and Beth Cormack for National Geographic or GoPro……..
Editor’s note: My resume is actually quite accurate, I didn’t make up the entire thing. However, I think you can feel my pain and know what I’m talking about when I use the phrase “exaggerated bullet points.”