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Dear WorkMinded,

I just don't get it...I worked my butt off to get a degree and now there are no jobs for new college grads.  It's not fair that the economy is so bad right when I graduate.  What is the point of even trying to get a job? I think I may as well relax and wait for the economy to improve and more opportunities to open up.   For now, I am pretty comfortable at my parent's house and they are very sympathetic to my problem. What is your opinion on the best move for a new grad - wait for a better market?

Down and Out Grad in Phoenix




Hi Down and Out...

First of all...congratulations on graduating ...that is a huge milestone!  Savor your accomplishment.  This is the first part of your ticket to future career success and earning a good income.  


Your question reminded me of a program called STRIVE/Second Chance.  This amazing program provides training for former felons/drug offenders/homeless / chronically unemployed, etc. to help them reenter the job market. 


I have been a guest speaker for the participants in the program a number of times.  When you walk into their meeting room, painted across the wall in HUGE letters is this quote:


"Life Ain't Fair

It Ain't Never Gonna be Fair

Eat It

Swallow It

Accept It"


It is time for you to accept that there is no Santa Claus and living off your parents indefinitely is not an effective way to build your life.  There is no free ride...when you can't get the job you want, you get two or three or four part-time jobs and you suck it up until a better position opens up in your area of study. 


I know you're gonna hate this, but when I graduated, the economy was bad too.  Two friends and I rented a dumpy apartment, made furniture out of discarded construction materials and with sheer determination, we were able to survive in the Washington DC area for several years cobbling together part-time jobs.


I was looking for a teaching job and finally landed a half time position 58 miles from home.  I got up at 4:30 AM to be there before 7AM.  I finished up there at 11 AM and got back in the car to drive 64 miles back in the direction of home to my second job. That job was at a mall selling shoes (YUCK!) from 12:30 - 4:30 PM.  Next, I went on to my waitress job from 5-11PM five nites a week and pulled regular shifts on weekends. 


Does this show that I am oh so wonderful?  Nope, 'fraid not. Just normal.  And no, I am not gonna tell you I had to walk five miles to school through the snow with rags on my feet 'cuz I didn't have any shoes. 


My point is...once you graduate, you are grown up.  Swallow It, Accept It and get on with it.  Take your drama back to Mamma.  Get five part time jobs if you have to. Work in a restaurant washing dishes, work at a hotel cleaning rooms, work at a car wash, grocery store ...whatever. 


Not only did my roommates and I survive those tight years, we had a blast.  It is all about the will to succeed and make it on your own.  Not expecting Mommy and Daddy to keep supporting you the rest of your life is your first step toward making it as an adult.  And it is a huge gift to your parents too!


You will look back on these times and realize how much fun it was.  You will have the best stories ever for years to come.  Quit complaining, making excuses and moaning about how life isn't fair.  There is no future in that.  Start taking action and you will find that things fall together...employers can sense your desire to work hard and contribute.  Success is MUCH more fun than complaining. 


You are right, Down and Out...Life isn't fair...and it is still GREAT!!! 

Reluctant Recruit???

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Dear Queen Camille,

I'm turning18 in two months and I really want to join the Marines, but to be honest, I'm a little scared. Even though both of my parents are supportive, I'm still intimidated by the thought of Basic Training. What do you think I should do? On the fence in San Diego.

Dear Reluctant Recruit,

I've gotta start by congratulating you on being aware of and then admitting to your fear!  Especially if you are also brave enough and value being of service to others enough to consider becoming a U.S. Marine (or joining ANY branch of the military)!

Let's break this down...F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) is nothing more than being hesitant because you don't know what's ahead.  When we are kids, we just step into matter what, because we don't know about the potential consequences.  (Lookie at grab a hot log off the fire and you learn pretty quickly not to do that again.) 

 Joining the military and signing up to put your life on the line and be part of something bigger than yourself - all to protect others... SHOULD be scary.  If you didn't feel that, I'd think you probably weren't mature enough and weren't taking the decision seriously enough. 

About Basic Training...obviously I have nevah been close to anything like it in my multitude of jobs...but it is meant to help you suceed.  It is meant to break old bad habits, get you in shape and think like a have everyone else's back.  Of course it is extremely challenging both mentally and physically...but what worth doing isn't? 

Let's look at the worst case absolutely hate being a Marine...and regret you signed up.  You do your tour and come out.....smarter, with lifelong values, experiences, comrads and accomplishments!  You also earn lots of thanks from your fellow Americans in the form of tuition breaks, discounted home loan programs, extra "points" when applying for government jobs, etc. 

Oh, and having experience in the military is a great introduction to the "real world" of work if you decide not to stay in long term.  I swear I can pick 'em outta any group...women and men who have served our country.  They seem to stand a bit taller, listen more respectfully and problem solve more logically.  Don't even get me started on their teamwork skills. 

Oh and if you are a Marine, you get to say that cool "hoo-rah" thing the rest of your life too!