“I can’t get a job; my classes are just too much work. I literally don’t have any free time.” I hear statements like this more times on a daily basis than the amount of drinks a highly motivated female can inhale at beat the clock on a summer night.
Let me tell you something ladies and gentleman, if you think solely taking 15 hours of undergraduate studies is overwhelming, you are currently bound for post-college unemployment. The majority of entry level jobs today take advantage of our childlike wonder of finally bidding adieu to our old friend Mr. time clock while we hop-scotch our way into the salary realm by having us work 50-, 60- or even 70-hour weeks without the pin-point hourly pay increase.
Although I robustly encourage prioritizing education first, it simply cannot be your only commitment. The number one thing that college recruiters look for when considering students for internships and gainful employment is the ability to juggle and manage multiple stressful commitments, and here’s why: over the last 30 years, the term “9-to-5 job” has simply become a misnomer. If you are lucky enough to find a salaried nine-to-five position, you can bet your biscuit you will be working overtime burning the midnight tequila. When recruiters inevitably ask about your lack of work history, they are not going to find it cute that you didn’t seek employment because “you really wanted to focus on school.” This exemplifies the “I have a degree, I deserve employment” entitled attitude that frankly ain’t nobody got time for.
Let’s go back in time just one century ago. Most of our grandparents or great-grandparents struggled to feed their families and genuinely felt blessed to be given an opportunity to work a job, regardless of horrendous conditions. That’s our problem, Generation Y: we’ve gotten soft. At 20, our grandparent’s wore their fingers to the bone working a 16-hour shift at the factory while we just decided to take the afternoon off from class to hit the pool. I am not casting stones; I am just as guilty of it. I will freely admit that I thoroughly enjoy a cold brew by the poolside, but I’ve also learned you must be humbled by the extraordinary opportunity you have been granted. Show some respect — if not for yourself — for those who sacrificed absolutely everything for you to have this opportunity. Gainful employment is truly a blessing, not an unalienable right.