I graduated in 1982, a time very similar to what we are experiencing today - the economy was suffering through a major recession and the degree that I held was not worth what it was only a few months earlier.
I could not believe that after all the time spent in school that I would have a hard time getting a decent job! The 'cherry on top of the cake' was when I talked to high school friends, ones who had gone out to work right after graduation, and they had jobs and many owned a house. Me? I was out of work and in debt!!
OK, so what did I do??
My first reaction was not a productive or healthy one. The party habit I developed while being a student just continued after graduation. I felt that by just sending a general cover letter along with my CV to a lot of companies would work. It did not. After several months of rejection letters my spirits were pretty low. When I hit bottom, I decided to take whatever employment came my way ... just to get working on anything!!
My first job as a graduate? Building display booths for a local artist in my home town. It was a humbling, bitter pill to swallow. But it was the first money (other than family charity) that I had since my last co-op job. The next step I took was working out at the gym - I realized that when I exercised my morale improved greatly ... it even kept me positive for a few hours after the workout.
When I wasn't banging nails into 2x4's, I split my day into 2 parts: 4 hours of looking for work and 4 hours dedicated to self improvement (exercise, reading inspirational works and taking courses). And the way in which I sought employment changed dramatically, as well.
Gone was the CV "shot-gun" approach. I obtained from the local Chamber of Commerce a listing of the key players in each company that interested me. I then phoned and asked for that person directly by name. I realized that I was selling myself, so I asked for a meeting to discuss what I might 'do for them'. After the meeting, I always sent them a thank you letter expressing interest and then followed up with phone calls. After about 2 months of job seeking, in this manner, I was offered the position of 'acting production supervisor' in an insulation company. The offer had the following conditions:
- I must be capable of moving up to the position of Production Manager within 6 months or lose the position AND
- The starting pay was $7.00 per hour, to be re-negotiated after this probation period.
To learn the trade I spent my first few weeks working on the tools next to the blue collar men. They joked at how my initial productivity was about half as much as them, but it gained their respect. The rest is history ... I worked extra hours to learn the management position and gain the trust of my boss and he rewarded and promoted me once I had proven my value.
So, even though you may be very disappointed, or even fearful, in how the economy has turned out ... Never give up! Things will improve if you keep trying!!
Life gives answers in three ways.
It says YES and gives you what you want.
It says NO and gives you something better.
It says WAIT and gives you the BEST.
If you're committed to your dream, you will win anyways.
Don't just dream. Live your dream.
Keep moving towards it.
P.S. Always remember that we are all here to help you.
Copyright © 2009 Edward G. Drennan