Recent Grads: Embrace Your “Unemployment”

I love watching the show, Dirty Jobs, on the Discovery Channel.

In every episode the show’s host, Mike Rowe, does what he does best (making sure our daily lives run smoothly, even in the case of a catastrophic event). Watching the show, I started to realize how important “dirty jobs” really are.

Since graduating a little over a year ago, I’ve been through some tough job situations; I went from unemployed, to working on small projects that didn’t inspire me; I felt like my talents could be better used somewhere else; why wouldn’t anyone hire me… blah, blah, blah.

Watching Mike Rowe work reminds me that sometimes it’s not about the task at hand; it’s about what you learn from that task.

Generation Y has sometimes been called “Generation Jobless” – and the name makes sense to many of us. We are the jobless generation not only because so many of us are unemployed, but because we are also underemployed as bartenders and baristas with college degrees.

Gen Y is doing what we have to do to get by… and we’re complaining the whole time.

We should learn to be more like Mike. He became inspired by hard work; he embraced it and learned everything he could from crazy, sometimes unwanted – and almost always uninspiring – experiences.

I know first-hand how difficult it is to appreciate an uninspiring job. But I think as long as we are going to be dubbed the jobless generation anyway, we should embrace our in-between, “educated and unemployed”, status – and learn what we can from the experience. Yes, take experiences such as scheduling appointments, shoveling coffee grounds and cleaning dishes – and learn from them.

There are many transferable and in-demand skills to be gained from completing what may seem like menial tasks: time management and learning the meaning of hard work are good examples among them.

Instead of not appreciating the opportunity to work, embrace your current situation. Even the menial entry-level jobs provide chances to network. Impress your supervisor with whatever task they hand you, and you’ll have earned a stellar recommendation when the time comes for you to move on to the next stage in your career.

Just ask Mike Rowe. And me.

 

About the Author: Erica Roberts graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing. She is an avid reader and writer, and is extremely passionate about social media. Erica currently works as a social media consultant for several clients, and is a social media coordinator with YouTern. Connect with Erica on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

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  • Emily Kantner

    This is great! I worked through college in a cereal factory….talk about a less than glamorous job! But I definitely learned a lot about hard work and made some contacts that could help me down the road.

    • HAHA! I know the feeling, Emily. Some of my jobs in college make working in a cereal factory look like a dream job! I worked in warehouses… moved furniture… re-bagged dog food…(I KNOW! Weird…). Although these jobs had nothing to do with my major, at that time I didn’t want to work in an office. Although I didn’t learn any marketing skills from those jobs per se, I, like you mentioned, learned some valuable life and career skills from those experiences. (Among them… that re-bagging dog food was NOT a career I wanted to pursue!). 🙂

      Dave

      David Ellis
      Content and Community Manager
      YouTern

  • Being unemployed taught me to take risks and become a better networker. It helped me start a business that pulled me out of that rut.