Author Topic: College Grad, Massively Underemployed  (Read 8056 times)

derekh

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College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« on: September 14, 2013, 06:33:47 AM »
I graduated college in May 2013, and volunteered as an inner city school teacher in Mississippi from May-July.  I went to live with my boyfriend in Greensboro, NC, and I have been searching for a job ever since. 

I now have one job that pays $18/hr, but I only work 5 hours a week.  I have a second job that is around 5 hours of work per week, and pays $20/week (I would love to quit this job but it seems stupid to turn down any kind of money)

Part of the problem is that when I was younger, I wanted to join the seminary, so I only took religious jobs- I have been a Sunday school teacher (that's my current $18/hr job) for 7 years, and that is really my only work experience, and it does not qualify me for other positions  at all!

I now know that my dream is to work on a farm, but paid farming apprenticeships do not start until April in NC, and I would like to save up money.  I have gone to temp agencies who have told me that I am unqualified for office work due to my inexperience, and Greensboro, NC is a college town with 7 universities, so the tutor market is flooded.  I have one client once a week, and she pays me $7/hr.

I am networking a lot, within my synagogue and within the people that I know, but this area is awash in so many college students and grads that they require a lot of experience as a way to filter out the many candidates!

I would love to ask for 2 pieces of advice:

1. What are some good ways to find work in a college town where white-collar jobs are snatched up as soon as they are posted?  Or what are some low overhead hustles I can start to generate some small side income?

2. What are some good skills that are free to learn that could lead to future employment?  Currently, I am studying Spanish and I am working towards A+ certification, but I would like to learn more!

NinetyFour

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 07:27:27 AM »
What did you study in college?

derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 07:42:51 AM »
Psychology.  There are almost no jobs here that require only a Psych BA but no MA or PHD!

Another Reader

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 08:05:24 AM »
You are not massively underemployed for your education and experience.  There is no demand where you live for your degree and skill set.  Spanish is not going to help you, unless you can use it to land a social service job working with folks that speak Spanish. 

In your shoes, I would apply for every entry level state and local government job out there.  Take every civil service exam for which you qualify.  Look for temporary and extra help positions.  Got an election coming up?  Be a poll worker.  Volunteer at the animal shelter.  See if your Parks and Recreation department has any short term positions or volunteer opportunities.  Get in the door at the City, County or State.  Prove yourself to be reliable, hard-working, and not a complainy-pants.  Someone will notice and point you in the right direction.

mm1970

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 08:22:44 AM »
You are not massively underemployed for your education and experience.  There is no demand where you live for your degree and skill set.  Spanish is not going to help you, unless you can use it to land a social service job working with folks that speak Spanish. 

In your shoes, I would apply for every entry level state and local government job out there.  Take every civil service exam for which you qualify.  Look for temporary and extra help positions.  Got an election coming up?  Be a poll worker.  Volunteer at the animal shelter.  See if your Parks and Recreation department has any short term positions or volunteer opportunities.  Get in the door at the City, County or State.  Prove yourself to be reliable, hard-working, and not a complainy-pants.  Someone will notice and point you in the right direction.

This is a very good recommendation.  I am currently reading a book called Walden on Wheels (through Kindle loaner!) and it's pretty awesome. Similarly, this guy graduated undergrad with no skills and no job and works odd jobs to pay off his debt.  Any job, even if it is volunteer, will help you get skills.

Office jobs, really don't require a degree (well, we ask for one now because we can).  I would think that if you could get skills (self-taught, on line, or through community college/ adult ed courses) in Excel, Power Point, Access databases, etc., that would help towards qualifying you for an office job.  (It would at my company anyway.)

cats

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 08:36:41 AM »
What is it that your BF does in Greensboro?  Is he really committed to the location for a degree program or great job or something?  If not, you guys might also want to consider moving, as unemployment in NC is among the worst in the country.

Also, have you looked into online tutoring?  I am not sure how well it pays, but would at least separate you from the locally flooded market.

arebelspy

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 08:48:00 AM »
Have you tried employing yourself?

The Internet is really good for this.

One example that has tons of options with it: do you enjoy writing?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 08:54:06 AM »
Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate it! 

Another:  I have taken your advice, and looked up every government job in a 50 mile radius.  Even the entry level custodian jobs require 6 months of maintenance experience!  I already volunteer at a food bank (to gain some office and warehouse skills) and I will volunteer at the animal shelter as well!

mm1970: I am hoping volunteering at the food bank and getting A+ certification might get me in the door to a temp agency, although since I just started last month I will need to work at them a bit more.

cats:  My BF is currently unemployed as well.  He has a contract job starting in October.  The reason we are here is for free rent- otherwise, this unemployment would be even more expensive on us!  As it is, my sunday school job pays for our groceries with enough left to save around $50/month for an emergency fund. 

Arebelspy: This is exactly what I hope to do!  My BF and I are working on starting a niche blog reviewing different Warhammer 40K models with affiliate links to Amazon (I'd do the writing and the web design, he'd supply the information,) but we'll need around one month to go live.

arebelspy

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 09:22:00 AM »
Arebelspy: This is exactly what I hope to do!  My BF and I are working on starting a niche blog reviewing different Warhammer 40K models with affiliate links to Amazon (I'd do the writing and the web design, he'd supply the information,) but we'll need around one month to go live.

(Emphasis mine.)

No you don't.  RERO.  Launch this weekend.  :)

And that's one path.  If it becomes successful it may pay for a chunk of your expenses, but probably not more than a decent fraction. 

What other paths are you pursuing, that you can work on by yourself, when the BF doesn't have time?

How hungry are you?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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ender

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 10:33:06 AM »
Another:  I have taken your advice, and looked up every government job in a 50 mile radius.  Even the entry level custodian jobs require 6 months of maintenance experience!  I already volunteer at a food bank (to gain some office and warehouse skills) and I will volunteer at the animal shelter as well!

Have you actually applied to these?

If you work in the software world, 99.9% of job descriptions are written in such a way that no one can possibly be qualified.

You will not get 100% of the jobs you don't apply for. You might only get offers for 2% of them if you apply, but 2% is much greater than 0 :)

Kriegsspiel

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 01:50:39 PM »
Hey, I'm a psychology dude too, so I can sympathize with having no ready-made skills to offer employers :) Of course, a bunch of white-collar jobs don't require a useful degree, just a degree and maybe some experience. I think AR had a good line of thought with the volunteering angle.

cats

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 07:03:02 PM »

You will not get 100% of the jobs you don't apply for. You might only get offers for 2% of them if you apply, but 2% is much greater than 0 :)

So true.  My first time out of school (undergrad), I really sold myself short on job-searching, I thing, mostly by limiting myself to jobs where I fit all/most of the required skills.  I got a pretty shitty job that looked okay on my resume for grad school, but frankly didn't give me a lot in the way of skills/non-academic life experience.  When I finished grad school, I desperately wanted to move to a specific location: I was sick of LDRing with my boyfriend, and I was determined not to move to his location with no job, then have to move in with him and potentially turn into a mooch.  As a result, I applied for a LOT of jobs, many of which I was maybe only peripherally qualified for.  Unsurprisingly, I did not get offers or even interviews from many of those places, BUT...I did get a few, including a very in-depth interview from one place that I was not even expecting to give me the time of day.  And I did eventually get an offer, for a job that I was probably only semi-qualified for based on the description (I took that job, and it turns out I am pretty damn well qualified after all, and it is a massively better job than any of the ones that I knew I was "really" qualified for).

oldtoyota

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 07:32:55 PM »
I agree with a PP. Most job descriptions are written asking for everything and the kitchen sink. Apply anyway.


kkbmustang

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 10:50:45 PM »
Another psychology major here. If you are interested in freelance writing, go here:

www.wellfedwriter.com

www.makealivingwriting.com

derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2013, 01:55:23 PM »
Got my first income this month!  Only $90, but I'm still so insanely thrilled it might as well be $900.  I got part of this from tutoring and part of it from closet organization, which it turns out I'm not so great at (the customer did not tell me what she wanted, and I did not press hard enough).  It's good to experiment with different kinds of work, and I gave the dissatisfied customer back 33% of what she paid, even though she offered to give me the full amount.

 Now, I expect one $60 check to come in next week, and my boss for job #2 owes me one month of back pay and says she might have it for me by the end of October (I am so quitting if I do not get paid by then,) so it turns out that while this market is very very difficult, it is not hopeless.  Keeping my costs down is 50% of the battle, and I have started programming for 2 hours/day.  I will likely donate my services for website design for free to a few local farms and leverage that into a portfolio from there.

Rachelocity

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2013, 02:12:19 PM »
How big is your synagogue?  There may be a market for Bar/Bat Mitzvah teachers, and since there's already an established Hebrew school, you've got cred and could corner the market.  When my DS was Bar Mitzvahed (almost 20 years ago), I paid about $700.00 for him to learn the maftir, haftorah and brachot.  It's not a huge side hustle, but it's a side hustle nonetheless.  (I assume that since you were considering rabbinical school, you can lein Torah reasonably well - please correct me if I'm wrong)

derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2013, 02:36:28 PM »
That is a great idea, and I had considered it, but thankfully (however, sadly for me) every Jewish child in my community, due to an endowment, is entitled to a free Bar or Bat Mitzvah tutor!  I know what you mean, my parents paid $500 for mine back when I was a teenager, but here I would have been taught my Torah and Haftorah pro bono.

Similarly, there are a plethora of tutors who have agreed to tutor all Jewish children and adults for free, so even my chances to do paid Hebrew tutoring are limited!  I have advertised in the local Evangelical and Moravian churches that I will teach basic "Biblical Hebrew" to Christians, and I am waiting for some bites there.

Thank you for the ideas!

sleepyguy

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2013, 02:38:23 PM »
Don't bother with A+... best you'll do is working at bestbuy.com making $10/hr at their pc tech dept.  I guess you could repair pcs on the side but you don't need A+ for that.  Waste of time and money... yes I am certified A+.  You can just go to the library, read an A+ book cover to cover... don't bother with the test.  Knowing your stuff and having good customer service skills goes a LONG way for doing pc support on the side.  When I did it, I charged well under what "geek squad" did... I charged about $35/hr and $45/hr onsite.  Projects I quoted instead of doing hourly.  Also make sure they sign off that once complete they can't keep "double-dipping" and calling you... my charge was minimum 1hr or even suggesting something after the fact.

iamlindoro

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2013, 04:58:14 PM »
That is a great idea, and I had considered it, but thankfully (however, sadly for me) every Jewish child in my community, due to an endowment, is entitled to a free Bar or Bat Mitzvah tutor!  I know what you mean, my parents paid $500 for mine back when I was a teenager, but here I would have been taught my Torah and Haftorah pro bono.

Hrm, isn't that endowment paying SOMEONE to do it?  You don't care where the funds come from-- in fact, all the better if the checks come from an institution rather than forgetful parents. 

arebelspy

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2013, 05:11:19 PM »
That is a great idea, and I had considered it, but thankfully (however, sadly for me) every Jewish child in my community, due to an endowment, is entitled to a free Bar or Bat Mitzvah tutor!

Perfect, apply with the organization that is providing the tutoring!

Endowment = $$ for the tutoring, it's not a volunteer thing.
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derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2013, 05:57:23 PM »
The endowment pays for the costs of the tutoring materials and the facilities (ie the students get iPads loaded with Torah!)...the labor is provided  by local Jewish adults and retired teachers for free!  I'm sorry, I should have been more specific!

That being said, I am starting to volunteer with a few more organizations for networking purposes.

derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2013, 08:44:00 PM »
Update: My total income for the month of September was $392.

This month, my goal, barring no full-time job miraculously appearing, is $500.  I have already sold my XBox 360 for $100 and it will go on my income for next month..  (It was probably worth more, but sitting in my closet unused for almost a year, it was worth nothing.)

I estimate:

$120/month tutoring
$250/month teaching 1
Adding the $100/month from the X-Box, and I am only $40 away from my goal!

I will probably quit my second teaching job- it pays $70/month for a commute that is 100 miles weekly :/  Probably not worth it time and money wise.  It is $20/hr for four hours a month sans taxes, but also requires an hour or two of prep time + 2 hours transportation for each real paid hour.

I am now volunteering for the animal shelter, cutting down my volunteering hours at the food bank, and focussing on designing some more passive income things.

marty998

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2013, 02:54:06 AM »
(ie the students get iPads loaded with Torah!)

Is that Kosher?

Sooooooo incredibly sorry, I simply couldn't resist!!!!!!!!

Good luck anyway, I know lots of unemployed Psych grads. Without fail, all had to take another degree to be employable, and the ones with jobs in the psych field had to do Masters.

You could think about starting a youth group in your synagogue. There are a couple of people in my church in paid positions who run afterschool and weekend activities for teens.

onehappypanda

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2013, 06:13:09 AM »
Any child care, after-school care, etc. positions out there? It sounds like you could say you definitely have experience there, if you've taught at your synagogue and volunteered at a school. Any work with kids, in education, etc. would be worth a shot.

Any other volunteer gigs you've had in the past? Remember that for many employers those can count as "work experience". So if you answered phones at the front desk of your synagogue or something, count that!

And 2nd-ing the notion that you can always apply for a job regardless of whether you meet all the qualifications. At any rate, it won't hurt. Make sure you have someone review your resume and cover letter to check that you're marketing yourself appropriately, and that may increase the chances of a call-back. While it is true that the job market in many places is competitive for new grads and experience really helps, being able to present yourself well (in writing, then eventually in person) can also go a really long way.

Do you have some kind of long-term plan for where you'd ideally like to end up career-wise? I know it sounds silly to ask that when you're looking for any kind of employment at all, but it can help give some direction to our recommendations. I can suggest all kinds of skill-building ideas, as can many people here, but it's hard to do so without some idea of what you're working toward.

You say you want to work on a farm, but why? What about that appeals to you? And (sorry, required question from someone who grew up on farms) do you actually know what farmwork is like?

derekh

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Re: College Grad, Massively Underemployed
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2013, 09:48:00 AM »
Panda:

In my state, working after-school care requires a child-care certification that would cost close to $1000, something I cannot afford to spend right now!

I want to do farmwork because I like being outside, I tolerate cold and heat well, and I enjoy repetitive, tedious tasks- there's a certain soul in them.  This job also morally resonates with me- I feel called to supply kosher-friendly sustainable food on a local scale, and to tithe my crops to the disadvantaged who would otherwise find themselves in food deserts. 

I have more knowledge of farming than experience, which is why I have set up a volunteering position with a farm to see if this work is something I would actually be interested in.