Not a job, the job


When I was in high school, I wasn’t allowed to get a job. I picked up the odd babysitting gig whenever I could, but other than that I was to put my academics first. Looking back, it’s one of those things that my dad was annoyingly right about. I couldn’t have handled a job. Back then I was, at times, a two-sport athlete and/or involved in four theatrical productions a year. That was of course on top of being involved with chorus, two dance classes a week and a full course load of honors and AP classes. So yeah, you could say I was busy, but everyone was.

The point is, I didn’t start my long and tumultuous relationship with finding the job—the perfect, soul-fulfilling job—until the summer before my senior year of high school. That summer I “interned” for my dad’s company for half the week and acted as his personal secretary for his growing side jobs the other half. I use the term intern in the loosest sense possible. Essentially, I learned what it meant to get up and commute to work on top of sprucing up my Excel and cold calling skills. That was it. I sold my soul to capitalism and I never looked back.

My next adventure in responsibility and income came with the exciting transition into college life. Luckily having federal work-study made it easy to get a job on campus, and one that I really liked. It may be one of my more obscure jobs, but I worked in the University Theatre’s costume shop where I made costumes for all the SLU productions with no prior sewing knowledge. I got paid $7.25 an hour, and I chose when I wanted to go in. I was set. Unfortunately federal work-study is a finicky thing, and I was kicked off the list after my sophomore year. Alas, the hunt for a new shackle to the American economy began.

Since then, I’ve had an online quiz writing job, a public relations internship, an online recipe writing internship, a good old-fashioned, and American manual labor job at a sandwich shop that shall remain nameless all while balancing a side-job at a party princess company during school breaks.

Which brings us to now. I am currently working three jobs (plus being a princess any chance I get). I intern at a local TV news station four days a week (to hopefully kick-start my career in broadcast journalism), I work for the marketing director of DineSLU (because it’s easy to get to and pays well) and I freelance for a credit card processing company (because I somehow fell into the position and the work is super flexible). I do this in addition to being the opinion editor of this very paper, the vice president of leadership development for my service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, completing a senior capstone project, going to school and somehow keeping some sort of hygiene and sleep schedule. And yet, all that I can think about is getting a job.

No I don’t mean just any old job, I mean the job that is going to secure my future. A job to top all jobs. The job.

This quest has been ongoing since about my sophomore year when I realized that one day I wouldn’t be a full-time student—a concept that is a little hard to grasp after 18 years of being just that. And it has led to several zombie-like states of endlessly scrolling through job sites. It’s a full-time hobby. Ok fine, it’s an obsession.

All I do is look for internships, and apply for internships and diligently wait for a response from internships who nine times out of 10 never even get back to me. I’ve networked, and sent professional emails and developed a kick-ass digital portfolio highlighting my best work. But I’m still a giant ball of career path-induced stress masquerading as a college student.

Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic right now, but with graduation quickly approaching in May it’s hard to think of anything else. All anyone wants to know is what happens next. Luckily, last month I accepted a position with my dream gap year-esque program for the fall. I have some semblance of an answer. But right when you think you’re in the clear they come up with some other question you don’t have the answer to, like “what are you doing this summer?” To which I have to smile and say I’m still in the (terrifying, aggravating, mind-numbing) application process.

For now, I’m just the girl with three jobs who is constantly thinking about how I am going to get a job.

It shouldn’t be like this right? If I do everything right—like all the career counselors and professors have told me I have—shouldn’t I at least get a chance at a job that makes me feel good and safe about my future?

Maybe if I majored in engineering, or nursing, or business I’d be having a different conversation. But this is where my liberal arts, communication education has dropped me off—and I’m the five year old who clings to their parent on the first day of school.

Oh well, back to the dashboards!