It is true that getting a job in this economy is difficult. After I graduated, I noticed that all my friends were moving away: the few that stayed where either continuing their education or already had a job. You’ve decided to stay here.
It is definitely hard to graduate and find yourself competing amongst your friends for the same type of job you all want – the three or four three permanent vacancies for jobs in the Arts in the Northeast at any given time, for instance – and then frustrating because even if you get it, your friends are out of a job, and if you don’t get it, you’re the one out of a job while your friends enjoy being able to go out, enjoy their salary and become productive members of society while you try to live on a student budget. And by you, I mean me, of course.
The competition is often the people you have come to love and trust for the last few years of your life. So how do you deal with it? After all, it doesn’t just affect your work situation. It affects your life-style and in some cases, even your self-esteem.
Introspection is key. If you and a friend interview for the job and your friend ends up getting it, don’t go over everything you did wrong. Make sure to show up prepared but remember that employers are looking for more than qualifications, they are looking for someone they are going to have to spend a huge amount of their time with, and they want them to be a good fit. Don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t compare yourself to your friend. All work environments are different. If you still feel bad, make sure to have a discussion with your friends – there needn’t be any hurt feelings just because of lack of communication.
And don’t get discouraged! Okay, you are allowed to get discouraged, but only for a day. Ask your friends to buy you a drink (hey, they are the hotshots, what with jobs and whatnot) and keep trying. One day soon, you will be the one footing the bill.