If You Think You’ll NEVER Get a Job, Think Again

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If You Think You’ll NEVER Get a Job, Think Again

By Janet M. Neal

I was one of those people who went to college knowing what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until later in my life that I would fall into the “totally lost” category. My intention, since about the time I entered school, was to be a teacher. I did all the right things: volunteered in classrooms during high school, joined all the right clubs and activities, got high marks on my student teaching, and graduated with honors. And when I left school, anxious to start my chosen career, there were no jobs.

“Maybe you should think about doing something else,” people would say. After all I had planned on and worked for? I don’t think so.

“You’ll never get a job in teaching,” they’d note. This was not encouraging to me.

“Why don’t you look for a job in New Jersey?” my mother asked. This was the clincher. We lived in Michigan and my grandparents were in NJ, where we had traveled to visit them every summer of my youth. I was not fond of the place. “No,” I answered defiantly. “I will NEVER live in New Jersey. You couldn’t pay me enough to live there. If you gave me $1million, I wouldn’t go!” End of story.

So, what happened? I had to look at the facts. There was a glut of teachers and not many job openings. But there were SOME job openings. I figured that if they had to hire somebody, why not me? So, I worked hard to get myself into the position to be a prime candidate…and got a job within 8 months of my graduation.

Which brings me to today. College graduates are finding themselves in a similar situation, for very different reasons. But the bottom line in the same: There are not a lot of jobs out there. Grads have no doubt worked hard and planned for the day when they could launch into #adulting, only to have their dreams dashed. It is a discouraging situation.

But here’s the thing: Just like the situation I found myself in, there were FEW jobs, but there were SOME jobs. Back then, in order to get one, I needed 1) determination, 2) focus, 3) confidence, and 4) a plan. I had to find out where there were jobs and how to get myself in a position to be considered for them. The exact same applies today.

Today’s graduates do not have the luxury of multiple offers, of being flown across the country to interview, of deciding whether to live with friends or get their own place. They need to decide what they want and need – and have a plan on how to get there.

And if they hear that they’ll never get a job in this environment? Here’s what I have learned about the word “never”: The Universe does not hear that word. I got a teaching job. And I ended up in New Jersey 12 years later – and haven’t left.

Never say never.


About the Author:

Janet Neal is an author, speaker, trainer, coach, entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of Next Steps Navigation, helping college graduates navigate the ups and downs of finding their place in the world, by finding their right next step. Recognizing the huge gap between getting a college degree and the realities of entering the workforce, NSN has developed a coaching program to help families navigate this critical transition. We’ll meet you where you are and get you pointed in the right direction to choose a job – and a life – that you love. 

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