20something profile: Lauren
Posted by David
I can’t believe it’s already been nearly two years since I’ve graduated. I always thought I’d have my life — or at least my career — figured out at this point. But, like so many other graduates, I still have no idea what my future will hold.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in May of 2011 with a degree in English. After graduation, my boyfriend of two years had plans of going to graduate school and wanted me to move with him.
While at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be “that girl” who just followed her boyfriend around, I eventually warmed up to the idea of moving to a new city with him. That way, even if I struggled to find work, at least I would be somewhere different with someone I loved.
So I set sail for Colorado that fall, greatly underestimating the time it would take me to find a job.
For seven months, I had no source of income. Full-time job? I was struggling to find something at minimum wage.
I wish I could say I applied to hundreds of positions, but honestly, finding job openings I was qualified to fill was half the battle. I had been an editor for our student newspaper, so ideally I wanted to find a job in journalism. I was also interested in blogging and managing social media.
But since I was already limiting myself to one area in Colorado, I knew couldn’t afford to be picky. So I applied to anything that required someone with an English or journalism degree.
In the meantime, I started volunteering with a local animal shelter’s PR department. I wrote stories for their blog and newsletter, clipped articles, helped out with several Facebook campaigns, made a few videos for YouTube and basically was eager to do anything they needed help with.
Volunteering was a great way for me to fill a job gap on my résumé; I’d recommend it to anyone who’s currently unemployed. And in this case, my volunteer work was basically that of an unpaid intern. It introduced me to the world of public relations, which I discovered was a mix of all my career interests.
After months of volunteering and applying for anything that would hand me a paycheck, I finally got a part-time job in March. Actually I ended up with two part-time jobs that month. And then in April, I landed a part-time internship as a blogger.
Six months later, a full-time job landed in my lap. During a trip home, I received an e-mail detailing an editing position that I was qualified for. I replied saying I was interested. Within two weeks, I had three interviews and a job offer. It’s crazy how the world works sometimes.
My job isn’t something I want to be doing long-term, but it’s a start. And it’s a decent income, so I can’t complain.
I’ve read that the economy is on a long road to recovery, but I’m still looking for jobs and haven’t been seeing many more opportunities than I did a year ago. Hopefully this will start to change soon.
Career-wise, I’m still not sure what I want to do. Sometimes I worry that my current job is leading me down the wrong path and taking me away from other opportunities that interest me. Sometimes I think I should wipe away everything I’ve done so far and go back to school for something completely different.
Needless to say, this is a good pause to my story, but it’s far from the end.