Sunday, December 18, 2011

Go Get a Job, and why that isn't as simple as it sounds

About a month ago I had the opportunity to crew on a documentary shoot about the Occupy movement in Los Angeles. It happened to be on the two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. An impromptu protest was launched at 7am that day, and protesters were arrested. Another protest was schedule for noon. As I was waiting I saw cops on bikes go back and forth along the street. Several helicopters were in the sky. Next thing I hear is cop sirens and six cars flew by and turned on Spring. The filmmaker and I made our way to Broadway where the protest was under way. As we were getting the equipment together I hear sirens again. In come six cop cars, but out pops the riot police. They flick out there batons and load themselves onto these trucks prepared for transport. I got the chance to walk with the protesters and witness this exchange.

Young Asian man yells "Go Get a Job". A protester responds with there are no jobs. They go on and on with this topic and I felt like interrupting. If I had this is what I would have responded. Remember when you graduated right out of college how fast were you able to find a job? How many rejections did you get because you had no job experience? How many of you did some crummy jobs before landing your first real job? How long did you have to wait before you had health care benefits, 401K, vacation and sick time?

Most of the people that say "Go Get a Job" forget how difficult it was for them in the first place. The one thing colleges should be teaching graduates before handing them a diploma is how to write a professional resume and how to act in an interview. I remember when I first got out of college how I just waited and waited to get a job. When I went to school at community college I was able to get work at the student center, mainly because I had an inside connection who alerted me to the job. While I was at a four year university I applied to several positions and was lucky to get a temporary gig at the student bookstore. Upon graduating with my degree I was lost plain and simple. Didn't know if I wanted a Master's, and wasn't sure what to do next. My very first job right out of college was delivering the local newspaper. This meant I had to wake up at 2am every morning including holidays to deliver the paper. The pay was crummy, and you get deducted for every complaint you receive. You're lucky if you don't exceed the minimum a month.

This is the situation the current crop of graduates face, except there is tough competition for the most menial of jobs. Heard that a job posting for shelving books at the local library had over 200 applicants. If there is only one position available how likely is it for a first time employment seeker to get this job? It is always easier when you are on the other side to say that things like getting a job is so easy or why aren't they trying harder. What we forget is how hard it was for us the first time. I dare anybody who thinks it is so easy to get a job in this current climate to quit and see how fast they can find a position. I bet you it won't be that easy!