College and Money and Jobs! Oh My!

Clasping my $143,000 piece of paper, better known as my diploma, I settled in my seat at graduation and reality settled right next to me. Pushing myself to be better, stronger, and smarter over a 17 year academic journey from kindergarten to college was like running a marathon. “I have to wake up early and study so that I can graduate! I have to stay up late and finish this project so that I can graduate!” These quotes have flown from my mouth since I was 5 years old. We toil through the intense curriculum of undergrad in order to be accepted into a great graduate program. A master’s degree used to be the golden ticket to a luxurious, foot-loose and fancy-free life! This may have been the case for graduates 10 years ago, but now…that high-paying job seems as real as Narnia!

Less than 10 years ago, a person with a master’s degree had an average salary of $53,000 but now those numbers have plummeted dramatically. The current economic situation has desecrated the value of an education. People are settling for lesser pay and worse working conditions which leads to poor work morale. What does this mean? The quality of everyone’s work will depreciate because the reward has been decimated. There is a greater fervor to do a task that you were trained well to do and will be paid well to do. The current job market is creating a “Why should I” attitude among the masses. Why would anyone work at their full potential when they know they are only being paid 65% of their worth. Some economist say that we have seen the worst of this recession, while others predict that there is plenty more where that came from. At the end of the day, as citizens with lives to live and families to support, here are a few ways to ignite your professional fire:

1. Alma Maters

Go back to your old schools and use the networking skills you’ve picked up in college. Your former teachers will be so proud to see what you’ve become that they will go out of their way to help you find your spot like a polka dot! Naturally, these teachers and professors feel a sense of kinship with you because they spent time with you and inculcated aspects of their wisdom within you, making you a product of their capabilities. Also, professors know a lot people in different fields so they can definitely pass your resume around to the right people.

2. Out with the old and in with the…….old?

Yes! Contact former employers from when you were younger and see if you can be an asset to the establishment now with your new, shiny master’s degree. You have an advantage over any new-comer who is applying for a position because the employer has built a long-lasting relationship with you and knows your work ethic. That’s something that an employer can’t pass up!

3. It’s a day at the fair……the Job Fair.

A divine event? A nightmare? A waste of time? Everyone has their own perception of job fairs and the success rate of actually landing a job at one, but there are a few secret treasures in attending a job fair. First of all, you are exposed to many career opportunities that you may not have known existed. Forcing you to expand your thinking, job fairs tear down tunnel-vision for job seekers. Also, job fairs allow you to have almost 20 interviews in a 3-hour time period. Practice makes perfect! So even if you are not deeply invested in the company represented at the job fair, use this opportunity to practice your interview skills. Remember: People will perceive you the way that you present yourself. If you believe that you are a worthy employee who is capable, competent and you shine amongst the others, then you should act like it! Speak up, dress nice, and approach employers with an honorable attitude. They will see you as the “star” that you present yourself as.

4. Up..up…and awaaay!!!!!!!

Actually, it should be “Away…and up up” because many people are relocating to improve their career search. They move “away” and find themselves in a better professional situation where they can potentially move “up”. You’ve done homework for many years, so here’s one more assignment. Find out where your field of work is in demand in the nation, or internationally if you’re really adventurous. Now if your financial and personal life permits, pick the place that would be a smooth transition for you and see what this world has to offer. Don’t limit yourself because that limits your opportunities and your success. Carpe Diem!

These are a few helpful tips for these tough economic times.  What are your thoughts on the current professionial arena for new graduates?  What are your suggestions?

                                                                                                                                                                – Fluorescent Black

                                                                                                                                                                    (Nije Capri Lane)

3 Responses to College and Money and Jobs! Oh My!

  1. Maggie Rouman says:

    It’s sad when you say, “The current economic situation has desecrated the value of an education.” I sure hope my future Master’s Degree will be worth something. For those who are willing to relocate for a job, here’s a link from the Huffington Post about the twelve best place to find a job in the U.S :

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