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Stop the doom-mongering

March 5, 2009

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.

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17 comments

  1. Getting a job fresh out of college or as a young 20-something is tough regardless of the economy. I have a friend who was searching for a job for almost 8 months since the summer of 2008 and she just started a new job this week.
    If anything college graduates should be the least worried about this recession because they *usually* have less to lose and they have more flexiblity to take lower wage jobs or temp work until they do find a better job. 20-somethings are supposed to be more tolerant to risk than older people with more responsibility.
    Everyone under 30 needs to put MSN Careers and Yahoo Jobs on their ban list. Seriously.


  2. Well said! I oftentimes feel like the media goes out of there way to look for negative things to report. Yes, this isn’t an ideal situation, but the way they are talking you would think it was the end of the world.

    As long as us recent college graduates and 20 somethings continue to be patient, creative and determined we will be successful.


  3. Nisha. I responded on Brazen but I like to make sure I swing by actual blogs as well.

    These are tough times, we are all aware. But contrary to what (many) will have us believe, all hope is not lost. I graduated in May of last year and things really weren’t much better then – but attitude is SO important when job hunting. In addition, persistence and being proactive are the two crucial aspects to being successful. Make connections, be bold and step outside of your boundaries. Don’t just email, call, actually go INTO the places you are interested in. Show that you are more proactive than the other 90% of people who just send out emails to every company and agency in town.

    I ended up at an awesome Ad agency and am getting some outstanding experience. If I can do it, so can you, and everyone who’s reading this. Stop worrying and start doing! Great post!

    http://www.lifewithoutpants.com


  4. Nisha – I responded to this on Brazen but I like to swing by the actual blogs as well!

    These are tough times, we are all aware. But contrary to what (many) will have us believe, all hope is not lost. I graduated in May of last year and things really weren’t much better then – but attitude is SO important when job hunting. In addition, persistence and being proactive are the two crucial aspects to being successful. Make connections, be bold and step outside of your boundaries. Don’t just email, call, actually go INTO the places you are interested in. Show that you are more proactive than the other 90% of people who just send out emails to every company and agency in town.

    I ended up at an awesome Ad agency and am getting some outstanding experience. If I can do it, so can you, and everyone who’s reading this. Stop worrying and start doing! Great post!

    http://www.lifewithoutpants.com


  5. One of my many theories on life is: Life is just an attitude.

    If something goes wrong, you can be sad about it or do something about it. Your attitude determines how you will react, and the strong-willed are able to adjust their attitude to every situation so that there is always a positive outlook and outcome.

    How effective are we when we tell people, “Work harder, network more, be more resourceful.” To be honest, I just had dinner w/ a friend from UCLA who is graduating this year. She’s taking a year off and going to China to study the language.

    I am very happy for her because even though she was offered a position at PWC, she didn’t take it because accounting is NOT something she is passionate about. How many people do you know in this recession that will pass up a job because it’s not their passion?

    Though I am skeptical about motivational, action promoting posts, I think that we have to keep writing them well because if people read it enough times, they might be able to take control of their attitude and live a happy college graduation.


  6. Nisha — This is brilliant. And, it’s not an easy post to write because it goes against what the media wants us to believe: all is lost.

    But you know as well as I do that all is lost for the people that believe all is lost. And refusing to be bogged down by the negativity is the first step in achieving any sort of success. As much as people don’t want to admit their own shortcomings in subscribing to the doom and gloom of the recession, they need to be straight with themselves about how much they are letting the economic environment affect them.

    Life doesn’t happen to you. You make things happen with your attitude.

    I like how this post is honest and isn’t cheesy about being optimistic. It’s real and tough on where we need to shape up.

    (PS – Thanks for the link back to me — I appreciated that!)


  7. Nothing is lost! The generational playing field is being leveled, and we, young people, have a chance to take advantage of the burst of the bubble. We need to be optimistic in order to be able to achieve our goals.

    Greetings from Generation 700 euros Greece

    G700


  8. LaTosha — you’re right, the media does go out of their way to report negative things. I know it’s their job, but it is annoying sometimes!

    Jun — I do agree with that theory! All of life is about attitude. So many times people let their actions and their reactions be determined by what happens to them, rather than changing their attitude and taking charge of their actions themselves.

    Jamie – thanks! I agree — all is only lost for those who believe all is lost. With that said, it surprises me how many people do believe this, and how hard it can be to change their attitudes sometimes.


  9. Good post. There is opportunity in this adversity, but you’ll have to be optimistic to spot it!


  10. Plus, this is the absolute best time to start your own business. Rents are falling, your fellow students want something to do and you’ve got time on your hands. There’s far less pressure to get that dream job right away, so as long as you can be creative in putting food on the table, think of this as someone giving you 18 months to do whatever you wanted!

    A good startup failure or two at this stage in your career will teach you more than any entry-level job… and I’m speaking from good experience of failure in this domain! Go for it and good luck.


  11. Simply brilliant! I’ll have to add you to my reader!


  12. This is a time where it is much easier to see what is broken than what will replace it. That leaves many of us facing some tough times and tough decisions. Not getting too hung up on bad news is a great idea but don’t go too far into ignorance.


  13. There’s also the option to volunteer if you don’t have a job right out of the gate.

    Volunteering allows you to network, get relevant experience and not get depressed by being inactive.


    • Josh: I agree, volunteering is a great way to do something useful and meaningful, network, and be active while you job hunt!


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