7 Stages of Work After College

We skip, sleep, train, and frantically fill out #2 pencils in college to prepare us for post-college life. The goal? Defeat the Huns (Cue Mulan Theme Song.) Wait. That’s not the goal.

The real goal? Gain the knowledge, the training, the experience, and a degree to acquire a job that doesn’t end up making us feel like we’ve spent too much time around the dementors from Harry Potter. Hope. We live on it. We hope that that creative writing, philosophy, business, nursing, or social work degree will lead to a productive job that we actually like.

Now college is over. It’s time to face down our careers.

Stage One: The Job Search

You try and you try and you try. The job search is going to hell. You’ve sent your resume in through the mail, in email, in person, and even through owl post. It took hours to wrangle an owl that could deliver it.

You get a few calls. You go in for interviews. The interviewers have a weird fixation on how many things you can do with a pencil. You can write with one, you know that.

When even that interview doesn’t lead to a call back. You begin to spend hours prepping for interviews by cyber stalking the company, the managers, and the interviewers. No luck. You’re beginning to wonder…are you cursed? You need a job! Sooner rather than later, please. Maybe it’s time to begin working on your interviewing skills?

Stage Two: Lower You’re Job Standards…A Lot

You didn’t want to do this, but you’ve begun applying to retail and fast-food jobs. That’s when you realize, retail and fast-food don’t want to hire post-grads with minimal work experience either. Can you really blame them? You’ll only be there until you find a job in your field.

Finally, you land a job at a big retail store. A very expensive education has apparently led you to hang clothes and utilize a cash register. How did life come to this? Life would have been so much better if you received you’re letter to Hogwarts when you were eleven. Time to ramp up your job search. Again.

Stage Three: Paying Your Dues

Yes! You landed a job in your field. It’s mind-numbingly boring. Not at all as exciting. You’re a lower rung grunt at your company, but that’s where everyone starts. It’s happening. If only, you didn’t have to sit next to the co-worker who obsessively taps his foot against the ground. The monitor shakes all day. If there is ever an earthquake, you won’t even notice.

Stage Four: The Amazing Job…Ahh Man

You’re no longer a grunt! You’re new job is amazing. 401K. Great health insurance. Weeks of paid vacation. And you can bring your adorable dog Snuffles to work. All is well. Wait. Ah, come on. Human resources hands you a box with your possessions. The company laid you off. Now what?

Stage Five: Unemployment and Rest

You could get another job easily, but you are a tad shaken. You deserve a weeks or two of vegging in front of the television watching the cast of Days of Our Lives lose their minds. Weeks pass. You’re hoard of money begins to run low. You need money to pay off your student loans. Maybe it’s time to apply for another job.

Stage Six: Found a job…kinda in my field

Found another job. The job search wasn’t as prolonged and painful as the last two. It’s not in the direct field you always dreamed of entering, but at least it makes use of your very expensive education. Work is great…you don’t even mind that one of the employees reminds you of Dwight Schrute from The Office. If you spend a year working here while focusing on making yourself more employable you’ll have an iron clad resume. Dream job here you come.

Stage Seven: Dream Job! Yes!

You didn’t want to announce it before, but you landed you’re dream job six months ago. You’ve been rocking it; you’re co-workers love you; the benefits are good. The chances of you being fired or laid off are miniscule. Last week you were put in charge of a project. In the immortal words of Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect, you crushed it. Time to sit back and enjoy the breeze.

Samantha Stauf

Samantha Stauf graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in technical writing. In the last year and a half, she has been working in the marketing department at a local start-up

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