Chips and Dip… or Shoulders

By Allison Sass

I’ve been told that I can have a “chip on my shoulder” when talking about the way I have been treated as a recent graduate. For the most part, my “chip” is a result of my job hunt following graduation. Believe me, I know that a stressful job hunt doesn’t make me unique from the millions of other post grads seeking employment. It’s not just the act of looking for jobs that got me down, it was the attitude of potential employers.

I began looking for jobs during my Senior year of college, sending away application after application without reply. Once I graduated and had more time, I took the next step by calling the places I applied and attempting to speak to anyone who would listen. After I found that it was all to easy to put be on hold and forgotten, I went out into the city on foot, driving forty minutes daily from my college apartment, to hand my resume in to potential jobs personally. Thankfully, I eventually found a position that valued this enthusiasm and who I am as an employee. This certainly was not the case with nearly every other business I visited.

Over the course of my job search I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms, a lot of time being shooed out of offices, and even more time composing followup emails or making followup phone calls to each of the places I visited. The majority of which went entirely unreturned. Too many “I’ll call you by Friday to discuss your qualifications!” ended in me calling the business a week later and finding out that no one in the entire company had time to speak to me.

Post grads are often stereotyped as lazy 20 somethings, sucking their parents dry financially, with little motivation to achieve great things. I sometimes wonder how many businessmen laugh together in their offices  about these types of post grads, bonding over their “superior” work ethic.. when it’s possible they have a post grad waiting unnoticed in their lobby, eager to get his/her foot in the door.

I am thankful that I eventually found a company that values my enthusiasm and new ideas.  My time at my current job has also shown me that there are succesful businessmen out there that who are willing to look past the post grad stereotype and embrace the idea that recent grads can bring something to the table.  

Frankly, I don’t care if there is a “chip” on my post grad shoulder. In the corporate world, common courtesy does not vanish. It does not matter how important you think you are, or how busy you actually are.  Of course, I didn’t expect to receive a ten minute long phone call or detailed email from everyplace I interviewed immediately following my interview, but a one minute phone call, or two lined email (even a generic one) within the following week would have likely given me, and other post grads that are actively seeking employment, a little more faith.

It’s tough for anyone, regardless of age, to land a position in this economy. I’m certainly not arguing that post grads ought to be given jobs over more qualified individuals. I am instead wondering if the corporate world today is really creating an environment that fosters development for younger generations. How is it possible to excel without being given a chance?



3 thoughts on “Chips and Dip… or Shoulders

  1. I had the same problem when I first started my search post-grad. I interviewed with a law firm, a place I really wanted to work. I liked the people and had to amazing interviews. I was told I would be informed of their decision the Monday following my interview. Tuesday came and I still hadn’t heard anything so I called the HR manager. She put me off time and time again when I called (while I was treading the fine line between persistent and pest) until a full two weeks after the original date I was given I was finally told that I had been their second choice, but their first choice had decided to accept their offer. Many other potential employers gave me the “I’ll call you either way”, and then never called. Now that I’ve got a position, I realize that I didn’t want to work for these people if that was the way they treated people, but at the time I was desperate for any position at all.

    Posted by Heather | September 30, 2010, 10:38 am
  2. I’m just glad the New York Times doesn’t perpetuate false stereotypes about our generation!

    Posted by Mark | October 26, 2010, 4:21 am

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