An open letter to the ones who said “no”
As a recent college graduate, I’m on a mission known intimately by twenty-somethings worldwide: starting a career. It isn’t easy and I was prepared for that; what I didn’t expect was to be shunned at every turn. I’m fed up and I’m sure my job-seeking comrades are, as well. But we won’t give up. Tenacity is our middle name. Yes, all of us.
Have we followed the proper channels and done everything “they” said needed to be done in order to be successful in the real world, you ask? I think we’ve covered the all the bases; let’s see. Did we get a degree from a notable university? Yes. Have a resume peppered with college-level extracurriculars and affiliations? Yep. Have bylines, portfolios and professional online profiles? Got that, too.
We’ve tailored ourselves not only on paper, but in actuality to be fit for employment. We’ve spent hours spiraling down the Google rabbit hole searching for entry level opportunities that don’t equate “invaluable experience” with the concept of “reasonable compensation.” We’ve pined over listing after listing clearly noting that your life mantra is “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” Only to hear nothing at all.
It’s a cyclical problem that leave us, the triers, aspirers, seekers, with the short end of the stick. You need experience to get experience. Nobody is willing to offer you the chance to work for them without proving you’ve worked well for someone else first. It just keeps going.
Let’s be serious, someone in your organization needs an assistant; someone is willing to help. Every task in your office doesn’t require five years of experience. Most of us learn quickly and adapt well to fast-paced environments. And we’re very well-versed in using our resources to figure “it” out. (I mean, we did grow up with Google. That has to count for something!)
And if there is no space for us in your company, that’s understandable. Is it too much to ask for a simple response? Is there no automated email that can go out to job applicants once a decision has been reached? I understand you’re busy, but… Actually, I don’t understand. The waiting patiently to hear word regarding an opportunity to start your career sucks. Never hearing anything after submitting your application sucks even harder. I can’t help but wonder how you’d appreciate the same regard.
Everyone has to start somewhere. We all must pay our dues and I’m in no way attempting to circumvent that process. I’m just letting you know that the process could go so much more smoothly with a little more consideration. We’ve all worked hard in college only to graduate and be treated like lepers. Nobody wants to be too close to the inexperienced one.
Though I’ve personally grown frustrated with the process, I’m equally appreciative of your presence. The first one of you I encountered shook me to my core. I was hurt and confused and grappled to understand where I’d gone wrong. The next time hurt and confusion triumphed a little less. As did the grappling. Now, I expect your presence and use each encounter as motivation. As a metaphorical fuel to my success-driven fire.
I keep trying. … We keep trying.
Because adulthood demands that we do so. Because our ambitions weigh heavier than our savings accounts. Because student loan repayment is necessary. And most importantly, because we insatiably thirst for success and the satisfaction that comes along with accomplishing goals.
Remember our middle name?