Everywhere you turn, you can’t avoid headlines like “Note to College Seniors” or “2009 a tough year for new grads” or my favorite “Graduating in 2009? Might as well take a year off in Tahiti!”
I see a lot of talk about graduating this year and our grim job prospects, but I’m kind of tired of talk and every new related article I see makes me a little more exhausted. Yes, we are graduating in a recession. But we’re also not the first group of people to do so — it happens to grads in every recession.
I don’t want to spend my time reading articles about how bleak the rest of my life looks and feeling sorry for myself. Sorry! Not reading your articles. I refuse to participate in your recession. Corny as it may sound, half the battle really is attitude — and how many successful people do you know who got there by being miserable about the job market all the time? None. That is because there are none. The successful ones are the ones who stopped worrying about that which they can’t change, and started taking action to change what they do have control over.
I’m not saying the grim job market doesn’t exist. I know as much as anyone that it does. I’m not trying to be naive, but I refuse to be pessimistic either. But I am saying: change your attitude — both soon-to-be grads and also, those recent grads who keep writing those damn “I-feel-so-sorry-for-you-college-seniors” articles. Stop the doom-mongering – you’re not helping. Older people keep telling me how sorry you feel for us, but that just makes me feel bad — like my life must be really bad in order to deserve others’ pity. It’s not! We have a lot to be grateful for otherwise, whether we have a job offer in hand yet or not.
Seniors: Choose action over talk. Double your job hunt efforts. Network harder. Try your parents’ companies. Try nontraditional career paths. Work abroad. Temp for a while. Try a whole new industry. Scrap your well-laid plans, since the economy doesn’t care about your plans — but refuse to abandon your dreams. And for God’s sake, stop reading articles that make you feel even more down about the job market.
So we got stuck graduating in 2009: big deal. Keep your eye on the prize (whatever your prize may be) and have faith that the market will get better, and whatever job you end up taking now will fit into your grand scheme some day. Be optimistic. Stop worrying and start kicking ass.