Life after graduation

I love checking out my stats on the wordpress dashboard. It’s really eye opening! My random little post on nineties music got my most views ever. And I like seeing the different searches that people are using and getting to my blog from. Up till now, my faves were “can’t wear my contacts” and “flatmates won’t take out bin.” I think that’s hilarious. Really, seriously, do people google phrases like that?

But I think the current top search is more telling than funny. “is it easy to find jobs after graduation in Auckland?”

Well, I don’t know. Not too much different than any other city, I’d imagine. But of course it’s impossible to say, too much depends on your field and your contacts and experience.

I’m incredibly lucky I think, to have the job I do, a fairly professional, respectable job for my age. I’d never have had some of the opportunities I’ve had otherwise. I think it’s also given me the confidence I need in other areas of my life, and probably helped me decide to accept that freelance writing last year (some of which I haven’t been paid for yet!).

I’ll be graduating next year, one of the few in my group to do so. I’ll be out earning, out in the workforce before almost everyone else. Now I’m finding it a little scary after meeting a intern here who’s just finished her degree in journalism. What do we do after it all, where do we go? What if it’s not all it’s cracked up to be?
I have a few friends who’ve graduated now. I don’t think they are necessarily totally prepared for the real world, or at least the working world. Even at the best of times it’s not easy being a fresh grad with no experience, even more so if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. I mean, it could lead you into a number of areas, but at the same time you may think ‘no that’s not quite right’ and end up looking forever and do nothing at all.

Even at the best of times, you have to apply to tens or hundreds of roles, far and wide, as many as you can. Because you’re only going to hear back from a very small percentage of them. And go further, to interviews and second interviews, to even less. And today, well, things are really tough – there are way too many people out there and even fewer jobs. No wonder people are going back to school for another year or two.

My point is, even during the good times you have to work and work and wait to score yourself a job. It’s really about the numbers. Applying to three or four positions won’t get you anywhere. And you need to be so well prepared for interviews, you’ve got to prep, dress the part, act the part, practice answers and anticipate questions. Otherwise you have no chance at all. And that’s something I don’t think everyone understands. They think they’ll just waltz in somewhere, impress the pants of the bosses and be offered a job. Or they’ve had fairly low level studenty jobs and don’t understand the processes of applying for professional roles. Or even worse, their tutors and lecturers assure them they’ll get jobs after graduation, and companies will be coming TO THEM!

I think that’s just plain irresponsible. How can you say that to your students? The economy’s tanked, you have way too many engineering and business students, you have no way of knowing what the market will be like when they graduate. And certainly companies will not be chasing them. Maybe the very best, that’s true. But telling EVERYONE to not worry, well, that’s just encouraging laziness and a false sense of security. I’m not jealous of my friends who are constantly reassured. I just don’t believe it, and I hope they don’t either. You’ve got to do the hard work yourself.

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