I talk about my employment status a lot.
I mention it in passing, I tweet about it, I joke about it, post about it on Facebook and Tumblr and Instagram and make signs that I hang outside my window that advertise it. I can’t stop. I’ve tried and it’s impossible. I’ve been trying since April of last year and have turned up little to no results. Was this due to my lack of trying? Was I doing something completely wrong the entire time? Am I not qualified enough? Am I not cut out for “the real world”? Do I not fit in?
One reason I keep talking about my unemployment status a lot because it’s something that is affecting me right now. It’s something so salient to my identity that I feel that if I stop talking about it, then I’ll never be noticed. If I stop talking about it, maybe the universe will recognize that as contentment and just let me wade down the river of a sedentary lifestyle, never to be heard of again. I like to remind myself that I’m “a part of the statistic,” as if attaching myself proves that I’m not alone in it. “8.5% of college graduates are unemployed,” cites Slate. I’ve also read somewhere that for 70% of recent college graduates it takes an average of 9-12 months to land their first job. Where did I read it? I’m not sure, but I read it and it’s reassuring. And while “small” it reassures me that we’re all in this together. All 8.5% of us, of whom I know maybe one or two people.
Sometimes I blame my choice in major: “English. pfft, what the hell was I drinking when I declared that?” Then I recall the incessant familial pressure to major in something with a more desirable paycheck, engineering was the hot major to declare five years ago because “there were jobs and I was good at math.” Now, I’m not doubting that there are jobs and that those in the field are good at math, I’m used the quotes to show what my family used as “legitimate reasons for me to major in something I had zero interest in.” So, I went with my gut and couldn’t be prouder of myself.
Adulthood Level 1: Achieved!
Poring over these rhetorical questions, I noticed how often I turned the issue on myself: My lack of trying, Was I doing something wrong, Am I not qualified, and the list could go on. Immediately, I make myself think and feel and recognize that I am a problem. I don’t fit into the world I was born into. My shape doesn’t fit the box. I am letting the box define me. My unemployment is not due to my lack of trying or my ineptitude in the world or because I’m not qualified. I am adept, I am trying and I am qualified. It’s just really fucking hard out there. They tell you this (and by ‘they’ I mean society) over and over and over again; so much so that the message just becomes the white noise that lulls you to sleep at night. Their words become meaningless, much like the drool that pools in the fabric of your flannel pillow sheets.
Regardless of its loudness and repetitiveness, ‘they’ are 100% right: It. Is. Hard. And I have no solutions to give you because I have achieved no such luck and have learned nothing more than what others will tell you upon your foray into the working world. All I can say is: don’t let the bastards get you down. Something will come around in time, just be patient.
Yes…that is something ‘they’ say. The good thing about it?
It’s all true.