Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Entry-level Curse: You are Scum

Unexperienced. It's the cuss word for all recent graduates. If you are like me, you are hitting the job boards with vigor and polished resumes that shine with potential. Here I am a graduating senior with my shiny business degree, and I have to go through "the cycle" again.

By "the cycle," I refer to the circle that every person has had to face since their first day of preschool. It starts at the bottom as a lowly "entry" level preschool postion. From preschool, you get to graduate into the "big kids" school-elementary level education. Each year, you become a bigger and more "grown-up" mature young person. The first graders now look at you in awe as you stand in your sixth grade line at recess.

THEN it happens. You are moved to junior high. You are now a pip-squeak beneath all of the eighth graders and ::shivers::: high schoolers. No fears, you end up a senior in high school and you are on the top of your game. You are the role model for every scared little freshman that cowers in your very presence. Life is awesome, and you rule the school. However, that nasty graduation thing happens and :::Boom::: you have been lowered to that pathetic freshman-level status once again. You suck, you don't know who the cool teachers are, you don't know where the computer lab is. You are just a little lost puppy. But hey, senior year comes and once again you can scholarly recommend teachers, textbooks, courses and clubs to all of those visiting high school seniors and feel so very awesome in all of your glory and knowledge. :::Boom::: Graduation.

Now you get to look for an entry-level job. Forget all of those awesome Manager/Senior executive/VP/ Director positions. Psssshhh you are scum. You don't deserve those lofty positions. You get to be an assistant, or if you are lucky… a "coordinator" (whatever that actually means). You will file papers that will probably never need to be looked at again, you get to organize databases of people who have already changed their addresses/names/phone numbers/identities and the data you just entered is already outdated and completely pointless but you do get to demonstrate your deep knowledge of copy/paste functions. This is why you went through 20+ years of education and internships for: to grovel at company doorsteps waiting for a job crumble to be tossed your way. Because entry-level jobs are just that awesome and worth the wait.

Entry-level jobs. You go on that careerbuilder/monster/craigslist/juju Web site and search for that job that just SCREAMS "YOU!!!!" You see "We are searching for an energetic, enthusiastic, excited, ecstatic, enthused individual who is passionate about [insert industry here coffee/wine/sales/computers/ puppies/sewer systems/ phone lines/fax machines/ screaming children] The ideal candidate must know the ins-and-outs of every operating system ever invented (of course with this they use a whole bunch of acrynoms that they probably looked up on the internet to make them look more tech-savvy), must speak fluent Chinese/Spanish/English/German, must know how to use every photo-editing software ever invented, must be very, very organized and can clean-up after any other messy, higher-up employees, have immaculate writing skills (and here is where the company recruiter misspells one of the words or puts in an extra comma and you roll your eyes at their inadequacies) and you must have at least five years of experience (yes you must have experience even though this is an entry-level position, we want knowledge and wisdom, people!!!) working under great bosses who have taught you how to run the company and you were their best employee and you are willing to work for $12 an hour even though you have student loans to pay off."

Perfect!!! This job is sooooo you!!!! You even call a friend about how excited you are about how perfect of a job you found.

The ad will then go on to use adjectives and words that you [or any other normal human being] have never even heard of. "We are looking for someone who can perform organizational, optimizational, functionary performances on the systemoptics of the central components of front-runner, cutting-edge capabilities for our various itemized processes and productions." Huh? You then question your degree and everything that your teachers/parents/friends/church/ books ever taught you. Are you dumb? Why haven't you ever heard of these duties in all of your education? You must be a failure. You should probably just go work at Burger King now because you don't even know what "systemoptics" is. Silly you for even considering getting a job that wants you to perform "optimizational functionary performances."

You decide to apply anyways. I mean, the worst they can say is "no," right? So you write a perfect cover letter boasting of all of your accomplishments and feats that you have ever done since second grade when your teacher proclaimed that "you have potential!" You include every experience you can think of. "Oh you want me to have experience in the wine public relations arena? Well, I happen to have a friend whose dad drinks wine. I have even seen him drink both white and red wine. I am very qualified for this position and am available for interviews anytime. Seriously. Call me right now if you want to, I will pick up the phone. I will even answer my phone after midnight if it means getting this job. I will buy you a puppy if you hire me."

Two weeks goes by and no calls, no e-mails. No one cares about you or your pathetic degree in Business Administration. You start to apply for even the jobs that you didn't really want but at least are something to get you by. Still, nothing. Job searching turns into a psychological war field of desires and emotions. You cry yourself to sleep because no one loves you. THEN the phone rings. Interview? YES, of course you are available!!! You can meet them any time, any place. Yes, you will buy them coffee.

You then receive an inspirational talk about pyramid schemes and "no pressure sales calls." This product [cars/insurance/cleaning supplies/body parts/onion rings/jump ropes] practically sells itself. A baby could sell this, so we think you are PERFECT for this job. You only need to contribute $30 to invest in your future and your training for a great career. You have the potential (see your second grade teacher was RIGHT!!!) to make $1 million dollars in your very first year!!!!!! Just think what you could do with that money!!!!! Now go bug all of your friends and tell them about this amazing product and how it can change their lives forever. Trust us, we wouldn't lie to you to make a profit.

Job searching. It's the curse on humanity. Enjoy the hunt. J

1 comment:

Byron said...

Slightly relevant:

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=1893&tag=nl.e101

Enjoy :-)