**Each day this week we are featuring posts from 20-somethings who did something other than work a 9-5 after college. If this sounds like you and would like to write about your experience and/or the pros and cons of doing what you did, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks & happy reading!**
Author: Allie Cashman
I thought accepting a position 2 months prior to graduation was awesome. I was one of the only people already employed out of my group of friends, and knowing that I already had a job secured made the end of my final semester a breeze. After school ended, while everyone else spent countless hours job searching, I was tanning and having celebratory drinks on my ocean front porch. The life. Little did I know that I chose the path of career suicide and doom was upon me.
I landed my ass in a seasonal position (unknowingly). Which meant that while I was working 60 hours a week in a temporary position, every other person graduating at the same time as me was job searching and interviewing for permanent positions. On top of this, all of my friends were getting drunk and dancing in the city, spending weekends on the Cape, going to the beach, and well, enjoying the summer like most people do. I on the other hand was working in events, meaning I would often be 20 feet in the air at the top of a tent hanging fabric ceilings in 100 degree weather (short skirts and man hunting in the summer sound way better if you ask me). And when the season was over in November, I lost my job.
Meanwhile, most of my peers had been employed… and the few jobs available in my prospective industry had already been filled. For an event planner, the fall/beginning of the icy season is THE worst time to find a job. Especially someone whose event experience includes mostly weddings.
So, like any other unemployed college grad would do, I moved back home with my super annoying parents and my devil of a dog, Corky. I started hostessing at Hingham Beer Works, located in a pretty, little shipyard next to Mark Wahlberg’s restaurant outside Boston. I figured it would be a great way to make some quick cash while searching for a full time position in the events industry. WRONG. This place became my home… and I hated with every inch of my body and soul. However, I couldn’t leave because I needed some sort of income until I found a full-time job, and that just wasn’t happening.
The biggest issue I had with not working a ‘9-5 job’ like the majority of my friends was that I pretty much had no life. I mean, I made some great friends at Beer Works (I even found my amazing boyfriend there!)… But when I heard about my friends going out every weekend and saw pictures of them having fun on Facebook, it hurt that I could never go. For me to take of a Saturday night of bartending is like me telling you to take 2 days off when you get paid hourly. You just can’t say no to the cash. For a while I only had one day off, and that one day all I wanted to do is nothing. Literally nothing but lay on the couch and give my feet a rest with a bottle of wine clutched in my arm. All of this has put me so out of touch with my friends that it kills me.
The schedule not only put me out of touch with friends, but it also put me out of touch with myself. I could never find a system that worked for me. The changing schedule made me lazy. I would work late, sleep late, say I would go to the gym and then not go. It was a vicious cycle. I never got anything done and I hated myself for it. In college I went to the gym every day (except while studying in Florence, where I ended up looking like a small Rhino) and I was always active in high school whether it was dance or lacrosse. So not having a steady routine was not doing me any good.
After a year and a half of restaurant hell, horribly awkward interviews, and false promises, I finally found a job. I actually started last week. So far, I enjoy the (normal) schedule and I love getting to wear cute clothes to work, even though there are only 5 people in my office and they probably think I am off my rocker… However, I just found out that I only get paid once a month. ONCE. Seriously?! Who can live like that? Going from cash handed to me at the end of the night to getting paid every 4 weeks is pretty hard to handle. But I guess it’s better than waking up every morning and dreading going into work…
My words of advice to college seniors: Make sure your job is pretty much permanent if you take something before graduation. Don’t mess up for your first 2 years out of college like I did. Those are the years that you can start to make a name for yourself… and some of the most fun years you can have. Oh, and never give up during your job search. You will find something. No matter how long it takes…