Need some life-direction advice!

  1. Hi ladies!

    I just graduated from what I thought was a decent university (one of the University of Californias) and relocated to Chicago. I've been here one month, have applied for approximately 325,398 jobs, and have gotten maybe half a dozen interviews. (By the way, my favorite interviewer was at a PR firm where the guy asked me, in all sincerity, "Is the University of California in Chicago?")

    How long does it take to find employment?

    My parents have recommended that I just forget about the job search and volunteer for a year... for a political organization or a museum or something. They don't think it's worth my time to make $6.00 an hour working at a coffee shop, which doesn't look so hot on a resume anyway (in their opinion -- frankly, I have no clue what does or doesn't look good on a resume).

    The thing is, I am very reluctant to continue accepting money from my parents. I figure I'm 22 and I should probably be taking care of myself. While volunteering is wonderful and could possibly be an excellent stepping-stone to a real career, I'm afraid that my efforts will be better spent elsewhere and I'm not super stoked at being dependent on my folks for money.

    Either way, I can't really keep up the limbo... I can either commit to volunteer work, or else I can get a job that will pay the bills (i.e. intern yet again at a law firm!).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially as I don't know a soul in Chicago!:shrugs:
  2. I teach in a university, which gives me a little bit of a sense of how career tracks are made--students keep in touch--and it's not uncommon for an institution to hire from their unpaid staff. If you can afford to do this (i.e., if your parents are willing to subsidize you), it's not a bad idea to pick up some unpaid experience in a field in which you are interested (better than the coffee shop idea). 22 is really young. You have time to be independent--and you will be--and more independent if you're doing something you really like, where you won't burn out in a few years.
  3. Even $6 an hour coffee shop jobs can show you are a dedicated/loyal/whatever employee. That's just about all I have- I've been working since 8th grade in restaurants and such to pay for school- so if having those on a resume hurt, well then I guess I'm going to be stuck in a crappy job, degree or not.
    Edit: I graduated last May and still haven't found a job in my "field of interest" :/ I hope your wait is not as long!
  4. AmeriCorps

    i did this for two years b/c i didn't know what to do with myself in my hometown. i made so many contacts and gained a ton of useful skills. you get a stipend (mine was about $800 a month), limited health insurance and travel reimbursement as well as $5000 for education costs (either pay off loans or go back to school). you also qualify for foodstamps usually. it's not much, but it's enough to live on if you cut out most of your expenses (i kept my parttime job and lived at home, so i didn't have give up as many expenses as other people i knew) and the education award is AWESOME. it's the only way i could afford to go back to school.

    a lot of people i know landed their current jobs solely b/c of the experience americorps gave them. there are TONS of different program topics.
  5. What kinds of things did you do? I looked into that, but I could never go without a salary, I don't think.
  6. I've been out of school for too long so I don't know what the job market is like now for entry-level jobs. I know my SIL had a hard time finding a job a few years ago after she graduated, and she ended up taking an out of town job and then a part time job when she moved back in town. That part time job turned into full time after about 6 months - I think she showed them how good she was and they decided to keep her for good. Now she has a pretty decent career track she is working on.

    I'd say don't settle but if you are feeling anxious about not working, find a part-time or even non-paying job in the field you want to be in and hopefully one thing will lead to another.

    Good luck.
  7. if your parents are willing to support you for a year, i would say find a fabulous internship/volunteer job that would look great on your resume. you will meet a lot of people and who knows, you might have a real job within 6 months. i do suggest that you should give yourself a time limit as to when you should get a real job, to not burden your loving parents.
  8. my program focused on teen pregnancy prevention so i did a lot of work in schools and mentoring. i was trying to decide at the time whether i wanted to be a nurse or a teacher and that involved both...i ulitmately realized i actually do like teenagers and the things i liked about nursing all involved teaching, so teaching is where i'm (sloooooooowly) headed.

    they say you don't get paid, but between the stipend, the travel reimbursement and the education award i made only a little bit less than i would have working all year and made a much bigger impact on my community. i also looked at it as forced savings for school...i never would have put away that kind of money saving on my own.
  9. Hi IntlSet!

    I'm sorry about your job situation :sad: I know how frustrating it is. Believe me, I probably applied for a gazillion jobs, and only a minuscule percentage of them called me for an interview.

    Have you kind of decided what you'd like to do career-wise? Maybe getting a part-time job or internship in that industry would help in getting your foot in the door. If you're interested in PR, you might try getting a job as an administrative assistant or receptionist, or another clerical-type position at a PR firm or in an environment which is closely related to the industry you'd like to work in. Even if the position is part-time, you can do that to make some cash, maybe volunteer on the side to get more experience and have your parents help you out only a small amount, just to get your bearings until you're able to find a permanent, full-time position.

    In a way I agree with Darwin, that any work experience helps. I worked retail throughout my two years in community college, and I still have my job at CompUSA doing customer service on my resume. It shows that you are responsible enough to hold a job, and that you have some sort of real life work experience, even if it is retail. But, at the same time, it's important that you get experience in your field. If you can find an internship (most are unpaid) in your field, work retail or other unrelated field part-time for extra cash, that might also work.

    I know how you feel about having your parents help you out. It took me about 4-5 months to get situated after graduating college, so don't worry that you've been in this situation for a month. Things will work themselves out.

    Good luck :nuts:
  10. I remember reading that the average job search takes 3 months. I totally believe it. It is rough being a new grad, especially if you don't have any internship or volunteer experiences relevant to your career choice under your belt. Hell, I had some really impressive internships and it was STILL difficult for me to find a job that I really wanted!

    Now is the time in your life to explore your options. You definitely should intern or volunteer at a place you're interested in working for. You have a strong chance of being hired where you're interning. If you aren't hired by them, you will have references and something that looks great on your resume. I would not be able to have the job I have w/o the support of my parents. It may not seem like it now, but having your parents' financial support is HUGE because it allows you to pass on the first job you're offered and hold out for something you actually want to do. Or their support makes up the difference for a horrible salary in a position you like. You should take your time, get an internship (if you're lucky they'll pay!) and thank your parents for their incredible support!
  11. Surely there are some internships you can do in your field for low pay?!?! After I graduated and while still in college actually I worked for minimum wage at the city newspaper (my degree was in journalism). Working at a coffee shop it not something you can put on a professional resume IMO. However an internship works GREAT! Plus gives you excellent references!
  12. You can do either and I don't see a problem with it. Why not do both if possible? Work at a job and use some free time to do volunteer work in the city or something. That would look good on a resume. And at the same time, keep sending out those resumes. You're a smart girl and I'm sure you'll land a job soon. The right job can take months to look for.

    I paid for my last 2 years of college by working at the college and having my scholarships. Now, I'm sending money back home every year. So I definitely know how you feel about not wanting to accept your parents' money. I don't like that feeling at all and changed things up as soon as I was earning by sending them money.
  13. The first job is tough. It took me around 5 months to find a job (granted I took over a month off, and didn't start job hunting until I felt I had a break from uni). I had to move towns to get my first job. I was basically applying for everything that suited. I was ready for the battle, had two year's worth of summer jobs (one in the right field), volunteer experience and graduated with honours.

    It does get much, much easier after that. In the 8 years I've been working, I've applied for 3 jobs, had 3 interviews, and been offered 2 of the jobs.

    Hang in there! It will all work out. :flowers:
  14. The best advice I can give you is this: If you love your work, no matter how much or how little you are paid for it, you are rich.

    In other words, the best job is the one you are not only willing, but eager to do for free.

    This is why volunteer positions can and frequently do lead to paid employment. When you love what you do, it shows. :smile:

    It is admirable that you want to be able to pay your own way. But paying one's own way in today's world is a very expensive proposition, and there are plenty of people who are older and out of school longer than you who are still not quite there yet.

    Consider a volunteer position doing whatever it is you love most - and think of creative ways to help your parents. There are the obvious things, like assuming the lion's share of the household chores, but other things you can do, too. What do they love to do? Ask them to share it with you, go with your mom to ceramics class or play some golf with your dad. It sounds like you are in the very fortunate position of having parents who can afford to feed you, and who have a nice leak-free roof to share with you.

    You might be surprised how much they would enjoy sharing their own interests with you as a young adult, just getting to know you that way, and having you get to know them not only as parents, but as people - people with dreams, interests, opinions on things you may never have even talked about!

    Yes, you could go and get a low-paying job at Wal-Mart or a fast food restaurant, so that you could give them a very small, token amount of money each month, which is all you would be doing, even if you gave them every penny of your small, token paycheck! And you could try to figure out how to change out of your Wal-Mart smock and go to job interviews on your 30 minute lunch break. That is one path.

    However, you would not be able to make any significant contribution to household expenses, but if you choose the volunteer track, and give your parents more of YOU, you will be making a much larger contribution to THEM, and also more likely to end up with a job you love, that pays you enough to at least put a little something aside every week, toward that dream of being "on your own!"
  15. hugs what field is your degree in???????