Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guest Blog - Life of an Emerging Adult: An Uneven Slouch Toward Adulthood

Our discussion continues about last week's New York Times article about Twentysomethings as "emerging adults." Our guest blogger, Lukus Williams, provides his witty and insightful take on the ups and downs of unemployment as a recent college grad. Enjoy!

Life of an Emerging Adult: An Uneven Slouch Toward Adulthood

By Lukus Williams

April 15, 2010

Just when it was appearing to turn bleak, I got a response! I’ll be interviewing next week at a large university for an editorial assistant position I applied for nearly a month ago. This is the exact, perfect position for me and words simply cannot describe how psyched I am for this chance. If I get this job I’ll be able to move back to the city I love so much and be closer to all my friends once again – essentially I’ll get my life back, which has been on hold ever since graduation.

April 22, 2010

I aced it! He shoots, he scores! After running the interview through my head, and calling up every friend to get their thoughts… I just know I got the job. My portfolio, my experience, my enthusiasm – they were impressed, I could tell. The definitive way in which they spoke about the nuts and bolts of the job after the questions were through (*when* you start, etc…) is a sure sign I’ll be packing my bags soon. This is finally happening, I’m getting my life back.

April 29, 2010

Received my rejection letter today: no job. They wrote as if I had been the runner up in a competition, that over eighty people had applied and they only interviewed the four most qualified. They were incredibly impressed by me, but in the end decided to choose someone with an advanced degree in the field.

Seriously? What? Not only do I have to beat out over eighty people for a chance to be interviewed based on my cover letter writing skills alone, but now I have to compete for entry-level jobs, that barely pays a living wage in San Diego, with hopefuls who have Master’s degrees? How am I ever going to come out on top in that situation? I need to spend another $20,000 on education so that I can make $30,000 a year?

I thought this was my ticket out of my parents house. I thought this was the start of my life again. I thought I could finally begin doing all the things I’d been dreaming about, all the things my college education would allow me to achieve. Will I ever get out of here?

August 26, 2010

I’m up to five interviews now since my first one back in late April. Each one I do better than the last, and each one I receive an even more heartfelt rejection from my almost-employer:

“We had over 100 applicants, and interviewed five of the most outstanding candidates. You truly had exceptional skills and interviewed well, however we have decided to offer the position to a more experienced candidate, who has accepted.”

The job hunt, the interview process – they are a competition, only there is no prize for second place.

After reading Robin Henig’s piece, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or hurl my laptop across the room.

The author haughtily muses about the advantages and disadvantages of letting us 20-somethings meander into the responsibilities of adulthood, as if there is some committee that decides what a generation should be doing, while I pray that my 1400th job application isn’t just being tossed into the void. If there is some societal authority allowing me to languish in this lifeless existence in the doldrums… I would like to kindly ask him/her/it/them to cut it out and let me move on.

Where Henig sees an awkward moment of exploration and questioning, wondering if maybe we should all be cut off and told to “find something, anything, to put food on the table and get on with [our] lives,” I just thank God/Flying Spaghetti Monster/Your Favorite Deity that my parents don’t just “cut [me] off.”

What would happen if I was kicked to the curb? Easy answer, I’d be homeless at best. Some “tough love” isn’t going to erase a 20% unemployment rate. Henig’s audacity astounds me to no ends; presuming that I and other’s in my age group are futility attempting to hold back the flood of adult life and responsibilities, but the reality of our situation could not be further from her postulating.

The reality is, I don’t date anymore – I have no desire to even entertain the possibility with my life the way it is currently. The longer this goes on, the further and further away I get from meeting her milestones in the most ideal fashion. When I finally get back on track, I’m not going to have some wonderfully advantageous career thanks to my excellent college degree. No, I probably won’t even make enough money to avoid needing roommates and simultaneously pay my student loans back. And owning a house, or even a car is going to be totally beyond my means – exactly the type of scenario I want to start a family in, right?

I don’t need sympathy, but some empathy would definitely be nice. Mostly, I’d really just like to kill this blatantly false idea that every college grad goes off to search for the meaning of life and their purpose in it while becoming a drain on their parents and society.

{Photo credit here goes to Mike Licht, via Flickr}

No comments:

Post a Comment