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Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
May 29th, 2004

Grad Tidings

Out of Grad School, in Search of Gainful Employment

 
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Ah, graduation. The time when a person’s thoughts turn to six-figure salaries and a new wardrobe full of business casual clothes. The time when we leave the cocoon of school and enter the working world. The time to say good-bye to books, papers, and assignments, and hello to cubicles, paychecks, and water coolers.

The problem for me is, even though I’m graduating, I don’t have a job. Yes, I know you were going to ask.

Unemployable, that’s what you are
I initially went to graduate school because I felt that, with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in religious studies, I was completely unemployable in the spring of 2002. I was also tired of waiting tables and neither I nor my parents wanted me living in their basement, so I packed up and moved to New York.

When I started grad school, I knew I wanted to do some sort of ministry work and was leaning towards teaching religion. Studying religious education seemed the way to go. And I figured that in the two years it would take me to complete an M.A., I would have my life’s goals sorted out.

Fast forward to May 2004. Despite my M.A. in religious education, I still feel unemployable, and right now, I don’t have much of a choice about ending up back in my parents’ basement.

Harder to locate than WMD

All of this has been more than frustrating this last semester. Even though I’m not always the most self-confident person, I feel like I should have found a job by now. I’ve been on three interviews so far, interviews for jobs for which I am either qualified or over-qualified.

  • The first interview seemed to go well, and the woman who interviewed me said she’d call me back within a few days. That was in March. Three follow-up phone calls and a thank you letter later, I think it’s safe to assume I won’t be working there.
  • I couldn’t really get a reading on the second interview. Some aspects seemed to go okay, and others seemed terrible. He said he’d get back to me in mid-May. A week later, I read in the Catholic Virginian , that the school where I’d interviewed was closing. Guess I won’t be working there.
  • As for the third interview, let’s just say I spent the rest of the day in bed.

I’ve spent the better part of my last semester surfing the internet for job openings, sending out resumes and cover letters, and attempting to make contacts in the field. Honestly, this lack of employment is making me a little panicky and has me questioning my qualifications and abilities.

What color is your parish-chute?
I think part of the difficulty I’m having in finding a job is that even though I’ve been through all this school, I’m still not sure what I want to do. Do I want to teach? Do I want to work for a parish church? The administration of a bishop? A social service organization?

All I really know is that I want to get paid to read and write, travel the world, talk to interesting people (with a break between 11 and 1 to watch West Wing on Bravo ), and take the occasional daily nap. Unfortunately religious ed majors with fantastic napping skills are not in high demand right now.

At the ready
Until we are, I will continue to bask in the fact that I’ve finished school and spend my days searching for jobs and praying that something will come up.

And if the Charlottesville/Richmond/Northern Virginia chapter of your organization needs a professional napper/West Wing watcher, I’m waiting for your call.

 
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The Author : Grace Ellen Bailey
Grace Bailey writes from the Bronx in New York City.
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