After years of hard work, pulling all-nighters, and surviving harsh college exams, graduating from college should be the moment where all your hard work pays off, right?
Landing the dream job, climbing up the corporate ladder, and earning a decent salary. Sadly, these situations are not always the case, with some college graduates find themselves in a survival job. The phenomenon where graduates are underemployed is more common than you might think.
A user on Reddit posted about the challenges of finding a job related to their degree, and losing hope at the prospect of taking a survival job.
Some background – I was a veterinary assistant until I was 22. I then began working at Starbucks to take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program. By 24, I was an assistant store manager and earned a bachelor’s in communications with a business minor. At 25 both of my parents became ill – my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 2 months later my father learned he had early-onset Alzheimer’s. I stepped away from work to become their full-time caregivers.
I’m now 29. My father passed away last July and my mom entered an assisted living community in October.
Since then, I’ve applied to virtually every opening available in my county. (My town’s population is 12k and the county’s is 90k) This includes medical offices, recreation centers, hotels, car dealerships, etc.
I’ve attached cover letters explaining the gap in my resume to all 41 applications I’ve sumbitted. So far I’ve only heard back from one, who kindly let me know they’d hired someone else.
At this point I’m accepting that perhaps McDonalds might be my only choice right now. However, having worked in fast food before, I’d genuinely rather work anywhere else. I’m not averse to being puked and peed on by dogs, picking up trash, or doing physical labor.
How do y’all not completely lose all hope?
Taking a survival job after college is not a failure, but a survival tactic that many graduates embrace
It’s Less Negative Than You Think
The pressure that comes with carrying the title ‘college graduate’ is overwhelming. Society places an absurd expectation on graduates to land the dream job with a lucrative salary immediately after graduation. The reality is, it might take time to land the perfect job. Accepting a job that is not related to your expertise is not as negative as you might think. It’s merely a survival tactic that allows you to earn some money, gain experience, and keep your head above water while you search for a job that aligns with your goals.
Building Transferable Skills
Working in a survival job presents an opportunity to develop transferable skills that you can take with you to your dream job. These valuable skills include customer service, team management, and sales expertise, all crucial skills that many employers are looking for. While you may ultimately land the perfect graduate job, working in a survival job is an excellent opportunity to build up your resume and gain new skills that you can use in your future positions.
Work Ethics and Integrity
Working at a job that is not related to your major teaches you work ethics and integrity. You will learn that there is dignity in every job, regardless of how menial the position might seem. Working long hours, meeting customer demands, and managing complex tasks all show a potential employer that you have the grit and tenacity it takes to be successful. Employers need employees who can work at all levels of an organization and tackle whoever task is thrown their way.
In survival jobs, you will often interact with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Your coworkers, supervisors, and customers can all become valuable resources in the future, providing a network that can help you learn about other career opportunities, or even write job references to help you land the job you want.
Taking a survival job should always be a temporary solution to help you maintain financial stability while looking for long-term solutions. This mindset should encourage you to be diligent in your job search, knowing that your survival job provides the resources you need to improve your resume, acquire new skills or seek further education.
Taking a survival job after college is not a failure, but a survival tactic that many graduates embrace. It teaches work ethics, builds transferable skills, and helps you maintain financial stability while pursuing further opportunities. And most importantly, it is not permanent. It’s easy to get down on yourself and your skills when you don’t find the perfect position, but with hard work and perseverance, you’ll eventually land the job of your dreams. So don’t be discouraged by taking a survival job – it’s a step in the right direction.
ABOUT JOB SKILLS
For 35 plus years, Job Skills has been delivering solutions to job seekers and moving people into sustainable, meaningful employment. Throughout their long history, Job Skills has recognized that not every job seeker is the same. There is no one size fits all employment program. That’s why the Job Skills vision is building an inclusive society where all people are ensured equitable opportunities to fulfill their career aspirations and participate fully in the community.
Job Skills’ employment specialists are there to answer any of your employment questions. Job Skills‘ staff offer solutions to all job seekers, including youth, newcomers, mature workers, persons with disabilities, and entrepreneurs. Job Skills’ knowledgeable team can help you make educated decisions, set goals, and create a strategy to help you become happier in your career. Job Skills works with local employers creating employment opportunities for Job Skills’ clients.
Thanks to government funding, Job Skills’ programs and services are free to all users. Job Skills have locations across Keswick, Stouffville, Markham, Brampton, and Mississauga. Job Skills also offers virtual services for community members unable to attend one of our offices for in-person activities.
Find your employment solution today. Visit www.jobskills.org