After graduating from college, how many of you greeted the idea of doing a post-graduate internship with as much excitement as you would being kicked in the head?
Unfortunately for the graduating class of 2009, they may deserve being kicked in the dome for not taking whatever opportunity they can get. Employers plan to hire 22% fewer graduations than last year and the state of the economy has changed the face of traditional internships. Many positions in industries like those in the financial and media world are much harder to come by.
This has left many now out-of-work ex-students in a highly competitive race for these coveted positions – or what’s left of them.
And in a non-traditional world it’s only right that students now have non-traditional competitors.
They say you’re never too old to start over again, but for this recent graduate school graduate approaching 50, she finds herself applying for unpaid internships.
This doesn’t make her thrilled about her career prospects, but can you do?
Here’s her story:
“I'm 47 (not a typo!) and am finishing up an MS in Library Science and just last week sent out 2 emails with 'unpaid internship' as the subject to 2 libraries that I'm interested in. My husband is also in the process of switching careers, so he's not working either…and our savings are diminishing quickly.
But I'm finding few (really none) entry-level jobs in libraries. Certainly not in Monterey County, CA where I live, but even if I were to look further afield, there is not much available. I have been looking quite seriously for 3 months, while finishing up my last 2 classes, and since nothing was coming up, I decided I would break down and try for unpaid work.
I have heard from various classmates that they get in the door via either unpaid or low-paid internships — then when someone does retire or move on, you're available, demonstrating what a good worker you are.
I also regularly check jobs throughout the US and overseas (we have lived outside the US for most of the last 17 yrs), but I'm not yetqualified to be a Library Director, or Manager, and 2+ years of experience is often a requirement, with 3+ being the standard for governmentt jobs! How will I ever get that?! I'm starting to face the fact that I may not get a decent job before I'm 50! Ouch.”
Volunteering may be taking off due to the lack of opportunities out there, but there’s a difference in doing charitable work and being someone’s indentured servant with the hopes that it will lead to some form of work.
But the end justifies the means, right? No really…doesn’t it?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.