Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life as a Recent Grad/Unemployed Person

Having gotten more-or-less settled in my new home, I finally have time to feel like an actual unemployed person. I am now among Oregon's roughly 41,300 unemployed, some of whom are good friends of mine and a great many of whom are talented media professionals. At least I'm in good company.

I've been checking Craig's List multiple times a day and have updated my Linked In account and made multiple versions of my resume in Google Docs. I've applied for about 10 paid positions and 6 unpaid internships. Not a lot of progress. There just don't seem to be a lot of interesting jobs that I'm qualified for and I know there's tons of competition even for those I feel I'm perfectly suited for.

I'm trying not to sweat it too much yet. I've been back in town for less than two weeks. Shortly after moving to Oregon in 2004 I was unemployed for four months and then finally found a job that I stayed at for three and a half years, only leaving when I moved to Eugene to finish school. I know the unemployment rate is higher now, but now I have a degree, more skills, more experience, and more confidence. I am certain that something will come along if I don't give up.

In the mean time I'm trying to be productive and find ways to make my new household more efficient and sustainable. Robert and I spent the weekend unpacking and organizing, and have gotten most of the house in pretty good shape. Since I'm free during the day, I have time to do things like tending the garden, cooking healthy meals from scratch, walking to the store, and coming up with systems for saving money and avoiding waste.

I'm hoping that meeting with a career counselor next week will help me to strategize at the very least. I'm also planning to look into temp agencies. Robert and I will have to take a good look at our finances and figure out how long we can manage on his income alone, which will determine how long I have the luxury of looking for jobs that I actually want. At least summer is the busy season in his industry and the weather is pleasant enough to keep my spirits up for the time being.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post-grad Recap

I've barely had time to think since graduation on Monday. My parents and sister came out from Ohio and my mother-in-law drove down from Washington to attend the SOJC graduation ceremony.

There were about 400 graduating seniors from the program. I hadn't realized how many of us there were! I only knew about a tenth of them, almost exclusively Electronic Media majors. I'm glad I went, but by the end I was certainly ready to get out of the sun and have some lunch.

After obtaining some nourishment my family and I went to my house where we divided our efforts between packing up my belongings and preparing for the celebratory cookout my roommates and I had planned. We had people coming and going until about 1am. It was a lot of fun and I'm really glad I got to see some friends before I left. I could never have pulled it off without all the help from my family! Throwing a good party, I can handle. Preparing to move simultaneously, not so much.

Tuesday morning we had a fairly leisurely breakfast at Keystone Cafe before my parents and sister headed for the coast. My husband and my mother-in-law and I went to the DMV to get a trip permit for my car, which I hadn't been driving on account of my expired tags. She then helped us finish the after-party cleanup before beginning her long return drive to the Seattle area.

Robert and I then finished loading up our Volvo wagons and cleaned my near-empty bedroom to the best of our abilities. I wrote notes to my roommates and to my new sub-letter, and then we headed west to meet up with the rest of the family in Yachats.

It was nice to see the ocean and to have some down time with my family, but I had a hard time relaxing. After dinner I attempted to attend a production meeting via Skype, but finally gave up after getting disconnected about a half dozen times.

In the morning we got bagels, then began driving north on 101. We made a brief stop at Devil's Punchbowl, which was less crowded than the last couple times I'd been. We had thought about stopping at Three Arches, one of our favorite spots on the coast, but Robert and I were eager to start unpacking and the weather had become pretty dreary, so we headed east at the first opportunity.

I've been back in Portland for just over two days now. It's hard to believe I actually get to stay. I have to make a trip to Eugene next week to pick up the rest of my things (mostly books) and I'll be down there periodically to work on Broken over the summer, but Portland is my home once again and I am thrilled to be back here among this city's wonderful people and culture.

I still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do before I can fully dedicate myself to the job search. I am checking Craig's List frequently, and trying to apply for at least one position every day. In a couple of weeks I'm meeting with a career counselor. I'm very grateful for the graduation money I received, which I hope I can stretch until I find some paid work.

For now I'm going to do my best to take it easy and enjoy my family's last few days in Oregon and try to get settled so that I can be as productive as possible next week. Here goes nothin'.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The End and the Beginning

I finished my last final project around 1am, which was earlier than I expected. I was thrilled that I got done in time to meet a friend for a couple of drinks before my long walk home (late night public transit would make this city so much more livable).

I think I pulled more all-nighters this term than in the rest of my college career combined. I can't remember what it's like to wake up feeling rested.

I wish I could relax today, but I've got to go to the DMV to renew my expired tags, and clean the house in preparation for out of town guests and for my sub-letter, who moves in next Thursday.

My sister, whom I haven't seen since I visited Columbus a year ago, flies into Portland tonight and my husband will bring her down tomorrow. They will both be staying with me for a few days, which I am very excited about. My parents, whom I last saw on the same trip to Columbus, and my mother-in-law get into town Sunday. We're having dinner at Agate AlleyBistro, my favorite campus-area restaurant. The SOJC Commencement ceremony is at noon on Monday (follow Twitter hashtag #jgrad10 for updates) . Afterwards I'm having a cookout to celebrate and to say farewell to my Eugene friends.

After a day at the coast with the family I will begin my life in Portland as a job-seeking graduate! I am both excited and terrified.

I've been applying for lots of jobs and internships. So far I haven't had any callbacks regarding paying positions.

I got a voicemail asking me to come in for an interview for one internship in Portland, but I wasn't able to go because I wasn't finished with finals. I called back and left a message saying I could talk with them on the phone or come in next week, but they haven't returned my call.

I interviewed for another internship over Skype this morning. I really hope I get it, because the work sounds like it would be right up my alley. I think it would be a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and get professional experience.

I don't know if having a degree will help me get a job, but I do know that my experiences at the J school and with the University Film Organization over the last two years have given me confidence in my abilities and have helped me to figure out what I enjoy doing and what I'm good at, as well as what my weaknesses are and what I need to continue to work on.

My greatest fear is that I'll end up working in food service again with no benefits and no intellectual stimulation. I really hope I can find work (paid or not) that will enable me to continue learning and doing projects that I care about.

I know that I have to commit myself to making that happen no matter how busy or tired I am. If I am forced to take a full time restaurant job in order to pay the bills, I have to make sure I don't lose sight of my aspirations. As stressful as being over-committed can be, I know that not doing work that I'm passionate about is far worse.