So I decided to go back to work after quite a long gap in the professional working arena. Military spouses know how hard it can be to get a job. Either due to a lack of job opportunities, or some businesses not wanting to hire someone who may be moving in two years, or just a small resume with things like your waitress job from high school, twelve years ago, it can be difficult, frustrating, and demeaning when trying to get a job. The weirdest thing I have been told is that I am “too educated” for a job but I can’t have it because I also don’t have the experience in the field. What? Why did I bust my butt to get a Bachelor’s degree? Now I am currently working on a higher degree in my field, so that I can actually use my Bachelor’s, but in the meantime, I just want something to help my family. And because I didn’t work in retail, or hospitality, or the food services, I am somehow not worthy of a job.
I have a degree. Clearly I am a smart person who could probably pick up how to dress a mannequin fairly easily. Why do I need four years experience just to apply to your boutique? This makes no sense to me. And I know I’m not alone in this. Even those with degrees they can use right away have a hard time when trying to go back to work. It is the same for anyone who has a gap between graduation and trying to enter the job market. Stay at home moms, someone who had an illness, or had to take care of someone with an illness, military spouses, and many others are in this same situation. Even those just graduating are complaining that every entry level job somehow requires experience. It is incredibly frustrating. And then you get desperate and take that crappy job just to find out your boss is a 24 year old college dropout, it is one thousand times worse. Don’t get me wrong, good on her for going to work and making a living and working her way up – we need people like that with that mentality in this world. And I don’t mean to come off snobby – not saying I deserve to be manager just because I have a degree in an unrelated field, but it is hard on the psyche. We grew up in the era that told us we wouldn’t amount to anything if we didn’t go to college and get a degree. So we worked hard for our grades. Took out loans. Studied long hours. Tried for scholarships. Took out more loans. Lots of loans. Worked while going to school. Did I mention school loans?! And we graduated with a feeling of relief and accomplishment that evaporated as quickly as water droplets on a hot stove. With the same shriek.
For while we were working our brains off in college, the next generation was sneaking in with their experience. Clever young millennials! And suddenly not only is the job market flooded with candidates, but many of them have more experience despite the lack of degree and those are the ones that tend to get hired. Now add on to that, seven, eight, ten years without a job and even entry level jobs suddenly feel just out of reach. It is a bitter pill to swallow.
But we are out there. We spouses. We moms. We hard-working, degree having, older millennials. And we will canvass the malls, and the grocery stores, and the boutiques. And work our way up. Cause we did it in school and we will do it again. We will be told no over and over. But we will come back at holidays. And we will print hundreds of copies of our resumes at once. We will be honest and dependable. And we will get that job eventually. So don’t give up folks! Those out there having a hard time, feeling useless, and working lousy jobs. You got this. You will get something eventually. And you don’t have to stay at the first job you get forever. We got this. A job will be included in our corner of the sky.