The job hunt

Marketplace Staff Sep 15, 2006


KAI RYSSDAL: For college grads who took the summer off, time’s up. Gotta get a job. There’s the resume, the cover-letter, the follow-up calls, the first interview, the “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Pretty tough stuff. But Youth Radio’s Latifah Muhammad says she’s trying to stay positive abut the hunt.

LATIFAH MUHAMMAD: I thought I was doing everything right. Long before graduation, I focused on “my future” by writing for the school newspaper, attending job fairs, juggling two internships, and keeping my GPA at or above 3.0. I knew all this would add to my job experience and impress employers.

At least I thought it would. Honestly, I’m starting to think I’m on some kind of prank reality show. I apply for at least three media jobs a day. Editorial assistant, entry-level reporter, public relations associate — if it has something to do with media, I’m game.

It’s been over a year now, and I haven’t gotten anything back. Nothing! Except impersonal e-mails that say things like: “After looking over your resume, we have decided to go with another applicant . . . Good luck with your job search!”

My dream is to write for a magazine in New York. So, a couple weeks after graduation in California, I packed up, sold my car, gave away all my furniture and moved to Northern Virginia with my older sister.

Now that I’m only four hours away from Manhattan, I’m more anxious than ever to get there. So I’ve decided, by mid-September, I’m kicking Virginia to the curb and moving to New York, dream job or no dream job.

In the meantime, to make some money, I started working for a GPS tracking company. They monitor criminals who wear ankle bracelets. On my first day, the manager sent me home with one of the ankle-bracelets so the system could track me overnight, giving me a “better understanding” of the product! While charging my ankle bracelet at one in the morning, the reality of yet another unforeseen twist in my life occurred to me: I went to college so I could get paid $12 an hour to act like Martha Stewart.

I quit the tracking company when I found an administrative assistant position with a small janitorial supply firm. The money is good and the people are great, but since it’s not in my field, I’m only about 50 percent satisfied.

Since I’m only a 45-minute plane ride away from Manhattan, I have been able to visit the city without breaking the bank, but the next time I fly to New York, I’ll be buying a one-way ticket.

I know New York won’t make me a writer. But writing will. And moving across country for life after college is giving me something to write about.

RYSSDAL: That’s recent college grad and aspiring writer Latifah Muhammad. She came to us from Youth Radio.

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