Monday 15 August 2011

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Olivia Pepper: Why I’m Not Working This Summer

One might imagine that a young adult who blogs for the Huffington Post and attends New York University would end up with a summer job. I don’t blame the extremely competitive job market for my unemployment. There are fatal flaws that I made, ones that I will be correcting next summer when I return to California from school.

My first mistake was aiming too high. It is nearly impossible to land a paid internship the first summer that a student returns from college. I did interview for one, but I didn’t have the html-code writing skills that they were looking for.

While applying for the internship, I also made my second mistake of the summer. I waited too long to apply to other employers. The possibility of a paid internship made regular waitressing and retail jobs seem so much less fulfilling. So I waited and waited for my interview and then when I didn’t get the internship, I handed my resume and application to the restaurants and shops and took my place in line behind so many other applicants.

One thing that can help is to know what you want to be doing. Obviously anyone that is hiring wants to see that their employees are passionate about their jobs. This might not apply to all jobs, but still, its nice to keep in mind. I recently had a very serious talk with someone close to me about expenses and finance. Although I assume their goal was to make me aware of the cost of living, it made me even more confused and concerned about my future career. If I graduated college and started working, living on my own and responsibly managing my expenses, I would need a yearly salary of over ,000 to be safe, right off the bat.

Soon after this calculation was made, I stopped giving away my pennies and nickels. It also made me think about jobs, and how it is important to start from the bottom up, with the nothing job, the coffee-fetcher. If I wanted to work in screenwriting, I shouldn’t have been looking for a paid internship. What would have helped me most is to figure out exactly what I am passionate about, and get myself just about any job that I could in that field. Simply being in the environment that I hope to work in is a wonderful opportunity, to picture myself doing this job for the majority of my life. I believe that it also matters less what our credentials say, or what school we went to, as long as we are passionate about our career. When I find exactly what I want to do, I’ll be shooting for the best job that they are offering, but I also won’t be waiting to go after the jobs below it. I’m sure a future employer would be delighted to see whatever experience I already have.

Despite any mistakes that I made in finding work at the beginning of summer, it may have led me in the right direction. I’m now looking for work with WWOOF, the World Wide Organization of Organic Farmers on Hawaii. If all goes well, I will stay with a farm that provides food and shelter in exchange for learning about organic farming, helping around the farm and harvesting a variety of fruits. I’ll be 15 minutes to the nearest beach, where I can head to after noon each day and on the weekends. I’ll cook my meals with co-WWOOFers, using the farm’s solar panels and rain catchment systems. Not a bad alternative to logging hours at a desk, even if I don’t get paid.

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