Having graduated college in 2010, I constantly hear how recent graduates are struggling: they’ve toiled for years at college, they’ve graduated (often with loans to pay off), and now they can’t find a job – or at least not a job that’s on par with their degree. A statistic that came out last year stated that 53% of people under 25 with a bachelor’s degree were either unemployed or underemployed.
But recent graduates are not statistics: we’re individuals, with our own feelings, opinions, and experiences. So I was curious to know how people my age were trying to begin their careers in these difficult economic times. Were they struggling? Were they succeeding? I also wanted to know what advice they could give and how they felt about having to establish themselves in a weak job market.
So I created 20somethings in 2013, a blog where people in my age group (not only recent graduates but anybody in their twenties) could go to share their experiences about finding employment, as well as what they learned from those experiences. I hoped that people in their twenties, in addition to sharing their own stories, would get advice and encouragement from reading the stories of fellow twenty-somethings.
As of today, I’ve had around 30 people write profiles of themselves for my blog. And while 30 people are nowhere near an accurate representation of the entire twenty-something population, I’ve learned some fascinating things about what people my age have been doing in this economy:
Making the most of an opportunity
Several of my blog’s writers have found employment — but not in the job or even the field where they had pictured themselves. But they’ve made the most of these opportunities, and they’ve gained skills and insights that will help them on the road to their dream job.
- Last October, I wrote about a twenty-something who got a job selling cars. Though the job wasn’t where she had envisioned herself, it gave her a background in sales and led her to a field that she was passionate about.
- More recently, I posted a profile of a woman who wanted to be a creative writer and took a job as a high school teacher. Teaching literature and writing wasn’t her dream job, but it made her strengthen her own skills as a writer.
Making your own opportunity
You don’t usually imagine twenty-somethings starting their own businesses, but a surprising amount of young adults have found success as entrepreneurs. Especially in today’s restrictive job market, entrepreneurship allows twenty-somethings to create their own opportunities.
- In January, I posted a profile of an engineering graduate who was able to get two jobs but didn’t feel fulfilled in either of them. So he decided to start a business that was based on his own passions.
- I also shared a story of a girlfriend and boyfriend, both Americans, who moved to Nicaragua to create a business selling Nicaraguan products and increasing the appreciation for that country’s culture.
While I’ve noticed these trends in my blog’s profiles, I don’t want to lump them together as though they’re the same. Each profile contains unique experiences, opinions, and insights on being a twenty-something in a rough but hopefully improving economy.
If you’re in your twenties, I encourage you to check out my blog and tell your own story. And if you’re not in your twenties, I hope my blog will give you a personal account of my generation that goes beyond news reports and statistics.
David is an alumnus of Cornell University with degrees in English, History, and Italian. He aspires to be a world-class writer or filmmaker. In his spare time, he manages the blog 20somethings in 2013, where twenty-somethings write about beginning a career in this economy.
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Category: Personal Branding