Finishing my Masters Degree in one year was a source of pride and accomplishment for me throughout the whole year I was completing it, and still carries on to this day. In casual conversation, when I mention that I doubled up on classes and managed an MA in psychology in one year, people are ostensibly impressed. “So what are you doing now?” they ask, as if living up to what I just said, I will have an extraordinary career to speak of to match the façade of intelligence that I project with my proclamation. I love the look of shock when I tell people that I am waiting tables. Correction: I loved the look of shock. It’s October now, and being that my degree date is August 31, this statement becomes less and less funny as more time passes. I spend my days off perusing Craigslist, Monster, and Careerbuilder; all in hopes that my dream job will appear. The idea of the dream job is starting to wear off, and now I simply long for the job part. I apply to jobs that I am overqualified for and still do not even get a response. Applying for jobs by the dozens on each of my days off, I have only been on a handful of interviews. And they all essentially go the same way, alluding to the age old problem; you cannot get a job without experience, and you cannot get experience without a job. My resume is full of academic achievements, things I’ve undertaken throughout my academic career, along with excellent grades. But when would-be employers ask me about my practical experience in the field, the interview begins to lull. Experience is what people want, but how do you go about getting experience when the number of companies hiring is negligible?
Do I blame the economy? Sure. We are graduating now at a time where New York City’s unemployment rate is 6.9% (according to the New York Times). This is the worst job market in 70 years, including the longest duration of steep job losses (according to political website Salon.com). At this time when people are losing jobs, going back to school, changing careers, what can be said for us new graduates who haven’t even had a sufficient amount of time to rack up the experience that would make us competitive? Nearly two months after my graduation date, I am still trying to make sense of it.