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Any graduates dealing with job search difficulty, anxiety, depression?


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Hi everyone,

 

Ever since graduation (Dec. 11) life has been pretty tough. I left the city where I got my master's degree because I was encountering a lot of anti-LGBT bias during my job hunt. I thought I'd move back home, save up some money and then move elsewhere with better prospects. A year and a half later, I'm still stuck at home and in such a rut I'm losing faith I'll ever get out.

 

The only job I've found thus far is a part-time secretarial position at a church. I find myself replacing toilet paper and picking up dead birds for the woman who teaches Spanish downstairs. I attended a top-ranked, private university for a Master of Divinity degree and am in substantial debt. I'm going nuts living with my family having experienced eight years of freedom. I don't know what to do. I've developed anxiety, depression, chronic back pain as a result of the tense muscles, an alarmingly high heart-rate (I'm not obese but in fact I'm pretty slender) and my psychologist has even said she thinks I'm dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from some violent encounters I had with some bigoted strangers. 

 

I was told that if I got into a top-ranked program I'd be able to find jobs easily. On top of that, my financial counseling was utter crap and I'm wondering how I'll ever manage to pay off this debt. 

 

I was just wondering if anyone else was struggling with a situation like this. I had a wonderful time in grad school but am not sure it was worth what came after.

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Sympathy. 

 

"If you go to a top-ranked program you'll find jobs easily" is something of a lie (often perpetuated by academics): as more people attend grad school and the job market remains sparse it's inevitable that the competition for jobs gets fiercer. Successful job candidates need far more than just an Ivy League degree if they even want to make the short-list.

 

A number of my friends are in similar situations to you: they graduated several years ago but have struggled with long-term unemployment, low-skilled jobs and are still living with their parents. Scientists, English majors, engineers - everyone.

 

My advice would be to (i) take steps to improve your physical/mental health (meditation and pilates might be useful to try in addition to the clinical things) (ii) explore volunteering & other cheap CV boosters in addition to the part-time work as a way to qualify yourself for better jobs (iii) keep trying for better jobs, making sure to solicit feedback on your materials/interview performance. The point where you give up is when you guarantee that you won't get out of the rut. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I hear you. I graduated 5 years ago with a masters in education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said and is still claiming that there's a huge demand for teachers. There's not. I could not get a permanent position after 5 years of putting in my time as a substitute teacher. Now I have 2 useless degrees and nothing to show for it. I'm heading back to grad school in a few weeks for yet another degree...this time in computer science. Hopefully I haven't been lied to about the job prospects in that field.

 

If it gives you any hope, many businesses do hire non business majors. I was hired as a brokerage assistant for a major financial company with my degree in photography! Why? Because they wanted someone who could type fast. So if you are worried about your debts, try looking for jobs in other areas. You'll be surprised what you can do. Good luck to you.

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My feedback is similar to St. Andrews Lynx.

 

1. Focus on improving your mental health and physical health.  Hash it out with your psychologist; journal, exercise, make sure you get good sleep.  Try to find your happy even in a bad situation.

 

2. Do anything to get out of the house.  Volunteer - maybe there's a nearby church with a philosophy you agree with that needs a part-time youth minister/pastor or Sunday school teacher or whatever.  Maybe there's a cultural organization you care about that needs a volunteer to do something.  You can put volunteer work on your resume/CV!

 

3. Do look outside your field for ANYTHING that seems interesting and pays the bills.  Many people find fulfilling careers outside of what they majored in, and are sometimes even surprised and how their own field applies to the new field.

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