After last week’s excitement of starting a new job, I wanted to check back in and update you on some of the particulars.
I’m incredibly grateful for this job. I thought, actually, that I would be working sooner than this but that’s not how it happened. It’s interesting, but applying for work has changed even in the last 3-4 years. A lot of my applying happened through recruiting agencies on behalf of companies. I’d say about 75% of all of my applications were approached this a third party, which is not something that was so very prevalent the last time I was really looking for work.
But what I’m really getting at is this idea that circles back to the Millennial post. I realize that I did not pick the easiest of industries. I’m making up my career as I go along and others went to trade schools (or what I see as a trade schools – the doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, etc) which seemed like the safer route – a route I often envy as it seems so straightforward. But here I am, two degrees (and I still believe that means something, that’s an investment in money and time I made in myself that not everyone does and it doesn’t make me better but I DO think it makes me more qualified in SOME cases), a handful of years of varied, relevant experience, and getting a job is still not a straightforward experience for me.
The job I have right now is a great opportunity.
But it is also a contract position for 6 months. Six months to hire is the plan and I Am absolutely hoping that that plan rings true.
I opted out of benefits so that I could make more money. I am lucky to have that choice and to have it not hurt me because I get my insurance through Kamel’s job. But! For someone else that might mean the difference between paying all of our bills and getting cavities filled or that sinus infection handled.
I don’t have any paid days off.
Not even federal holidays.
And of course, no sick leave.
I work for a major US company as a skilled, educated employee, in a relatively specialized department. This type of initial employment is not odd. About half of the jobs I applied to were contract and some were part time.
For me, the experience with the recession and the reconciling my expectations of what working and building a career would be and what it is, boils down to this. I’ve remained scrappy. I think my peers are pretty scrappy, and willing to work multiple jobs in order to pay our bills and also move ourselves forward. I did go through a period of humbling myself, of feeling to good for an internship. That was until I realized it was the only way to get experience. So I got one, and then was hired on as staff, and then I got another one – years after graduating from grad school.
And now I’m back in a temp position. With a big “C” before my email address for “contract” and I’m ok with it. It’s a good company, good brand recognition for my resume, a good position with opportunities for my own career growth, it’s a good paycheck. They have a nursing room in the office. They have standing desks. I feel respected and appreciated for my work (so far, let’s be real …. employment often starts off with rose colored glasses), and I’m doing what I need to in order to move myself forward.
I think there is an important distinction between entitlement and self-respect. I have a lot of self-respect, I know what I’m worth, and I am absolutely willing to do the work to get there. What they looks like right now is: No benefits, no time off, no job security. It continues to look a little scrappy. That is my millennial experience.