Drowning in the 9-5

21 April 2009

I don’t believe there is anything they could say or teach you in college that could prepare you for your full-time employment.  Even if you’ve had a full-time summer job, it’s not the same.  Come August, you’re packing your bags again and making your way back to campus.  With a full time job, there is no break, no joyous return to classes and friends.  No summer vacation, barely a winter break for holidays, and no spring break.  You’re stuck here.

You leave college with all these ideals and crazy notions about what your first real job is going to be like, what life without school is going to be like… Many of us run off thinking we’ll be able to dive right into our chosen field, armed just with a BA and no experience outside of a couple of internships.  For some people, that actually works.  But for a lot of us misguided graduates, we’re stuck scrambling and competing for entry level jobs.  After failing to get our foot in the door at the jobs we always dreamed of, we begin looking for whatever we can do to make ends meet.  As long as we can pay our rent, buy some food, and can afford a little entertainment every now and again, then that’s the job for us!

I never once dreamed I’d be sitting at a desk in a research facility, nor that I’d even be working in some biology department (other than maybe doing zoology).  I deal with scientists and researchers all day — along with endless spreadsheets and calendars.   I won’t really go into detail about my job or my office, but I can say that this wasn’t the job I had been dreaming of and I consider it to be an unhealthy work environment for me.  It’s not terrible; indeed it is fairly manageable.  However, I’m to the point where I have to wonder how long I’ll be able to cope here.

I’ve looked for other jobs, and applied to a good number — even had a couple interviews.  But as any one can attest to these days, getting a job, especially one you really want, is really hard.  I had my interviewers even mention to me how my background and experience matched what they were looking for, but I still wasn’t able to get it.  Which is amazingly frustrating and makes me wonder about the caliber of people who were also applying.  I know that I am a talented individual.  Some of that is self confidence, but there’s also truth to that statement too.  I’ve accomplished a lot and had an array of experiences.  Personally, I feel that I’m a desirable candidate.

Having that self confidence, and knowing that I could be working at a place that suits my skills set better, it just makes me want to scream out HIRE ME ALREADY! But instead, I sit at my desk plotting away at this job I can tolerate.  I’m settling because unemployement doesn’t seem like an option right now.  With no visible way out, I’ve just got to keep going and try to make the best of it.  I still have to be proactive in my career search.  I can’t just sit around hoping for a better opportunity to smack me in the face.  I have to have faith that I can and will do more with my life than just sit behind a desk at a research facility.

  • I always swore I’d never work in a cubicle. Look where I am now! 14 months and counting of gray walls.

    There is no preparation for this. And I’m convinced, even after a couple of years of being on my own, that you never really get used to it, either.

  • I’ve got a concrete cubicle… with a beam blocking my view of the entrance.

    I don’t regret taking this job, but I don’t think I want to stay there all that much longer.

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