I graduated with a BA in English from Ave Maria University in May 2010 and after four academically and emotionally grueling years of hard work I had absolutely zero interest in going to grad school. So I figured I would do what every other post grad 22 year old does: get a job. But that […]
I graduated with a BA in English from Ave Maria University in May 2010 and after four academically and emotionally grueling years of hard work I had absolutely zero interest in going to grad school. So I figured I would do what every other post grad 22 year old does: get a job.
But that turned out to be quite the challenge.
Granted, I knew I didn’t have the most marketable degree out there, but I figured I could at least find a gig as a secretary until I got off my feet. But no, not even that was an option because I live in Florida, which just so happens to be one of states hit hardest by the Great Recession.
The result was that I ended up unemployed for six months.
My story is all too familiar among young professionals today. We work hard all through college and finally graduate only to be without a job for months or even years.
But I discovered there are certain advantages to being unemployed after college.
Resourceful is my Middle Name
In the six months that I was unemployed I learned more about running a business than any conventional job at the time could have taught me. I started freelance writing from my living room, and eventually the money started coming in.
At first it was only a few cents, then a few bucks, and then suddenly in the blink of an eye I was making a few hundred bucks just from one article.
Eventually I had enough skills and examples in my portfolio to start my own business and as time went on I expanded and began collaborating with other writers.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It’s very easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed when you are unemployed. That’s why it’s important to use your time wisely.
Unemployment allows you time to develop important job skills that you can use later on. Since I looked into freelancing for extra cash I didn’t have much of a choice but to learn about time management, project management, accounting, taxes, marketing, dealing with clients, networking, and even managing other people.
The skills and experience I gained from freelancing eventually ended up helping me get the job I have now as a language instructor for Berlitz Languages, Inc.
You don’t need to start a business to get important skills and experience though. You can try your hand at volunteering, educating yourself with free internet resources, or even blogging.
Grab Hold of that Passion
Not everyone is destined to be a cubicle dweller and work 9 to 5, and unfortunately most people never get to experience life outside these boundaries because they are too busy pushing paper.
Unemployment gives you an opportunity to cultivate your passions. Find out what makes you tick. Do you love to help other people? Do you dream of being a musician? Does writing make you squeal?
Believe it or not, cultivating your passions can not only help you create your own career, it can also help you if you find a conventional job, particularly in terms of stress reduction.
Take me for example. I always knew that I was destined to write, I just didn’t know how to focus my writing. Running my freelance business helped me realize that I actually had a couple of niches, such as environmentalism and politics. But above all, my experience helped me realize that what I really love to do is help others who find themselves unemployed after college, which is part of the reason why I created Grad Meets World. Since then I have taken on (and have really begun to enjoy) writing about health, personal development, and personal finance. It has even landed me new work with clients.
So to those of you graduating without an offer of employment: adjust your perspective. Only then will you realize the kinds of opportunities that are lying in front of you.
Amanda Abella is a language instructor and freelance writer based out of Miami, Fla. For more on Amanda feel free to visit her website Abella Media.