Opinion: You’re graduating and don’t have a job? It’s okay!

Matt Poe

You may have encountered the rich aroma that’s been radiating from millennials and those ready to graduate at Kent State and elsewhere from college.

It’s a pungent odor that reduces the most well-put-together and soon-to-be college graduate into a blubbering baby in need of a baba and blankie.

It’s the realization that graduation is here in a couple of weeks and — lo and behold — you don’t have a job!

Whatever will you do?!

A good deal of my friends at Kent State and back home are graduating this spring, entering the realm of life where you’re neither a full-fledged independent adult nor an adolescent who can continue to skate by on their parent’s checkbook.

And while you will be joyous to have that degree in hand, done with exams and showered with praise for all your hard work the past four plus years, a sudden realization will hit you upon leaving that graduation ceremony: I have no job.

I’m screwed.

The end has already taken me.

It’s an attitude that far too many of us millennials have, this idea that you’re supposed to have your degree in hand one day and a well-paying, comfortable job the very next day.

And if for some reason this isn’t your reality, you bear it as a failure of your own doing and shortcomings.

I’ve got a little secret I’d like to share with you. Come closer and lean in.

OK, not that close; buy me a drink before you get that close to my Brent Burns-like beard.

The secret?

It’s okay to not have your life figured out the day of graduation.

Far too often, I’ve come across friends and colleagues who feel like they’re staring at the end times since they don’t have some employment lined up already; it’s virtually the same story, regardless of whose mouth I’m hearing it from.

I think our generation gets way too much flak for being self-centered and entitled as if all generations before didn’t face similar criticism.

That being said, I think we’re much too entitled when it comes to searching for that first big boy or big girl place of employment; we act as if there’s just jobs on jobs waiting to be dished out like beers at a frat kegger.

This line of thinking certainly doesn’t apply to everyone graduating, but I feel that it is the predominant mentality for most.

Take it from a guy who appears to be cooler and more carefree than Steve McQueen, yet is really more like Woody Allen in “Annie Hall.”

Employment will come, and hopefully it will be in the form of your desired career path. And if it’s not right away, that’s not a bad thing! Your first job is rarely your most desirable job or last place of employment.

Trust the process, my friends.

At this age, the fear of the unknown needs to be embraced rather than the reason for long nights staring at the ceiling wondering what comes next.

I know that from experience, and I know that’s much easier preached than it is practiced. Trust me on that one.

But eventually, the bills will come and life will settle down in both exciting and mundane ways. You’ll be in rhythm and routine which may — but hopefully doesn’t — border on predictable.  

And I guarantee that part of you will long for the day when you were this ripe young age and didn’t know what would happen next, unaware of where you might be or what you might become, with an endless line of opportunities at your fingertips.

Patience, my young Jedi. The Force will guide you (accidentally cuts off own finger with lightsaber).

Lastly, some full disclosure: I don’t graduate until August, so I have a few months to get my ducks in a row and hang on to what fleeting adolescence I have.

Come talk to me in August and see if I’m as optimistic and cheerful as I am now when I conduct my own job hunt.

Hopefully, I’ll remind myself of all I’ve laid out here and remind myself that this all part of the plan, just one part of the fascinating journey that we often dismiss and overlook because the destination blinds us with its aura.  

Don’t become entranced or engulfed by it. Smell the flowers along the path, but take your Claritin first! Allergies are no joke.

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].