Cultural Musings · Open Letters

Another Cog in the Jobless Machine

Dear Me,

Who knew a job search would be so hard? My first real hunt in the digital and concrete wilds has failed. I started in March and over 2,467 applications later, I’m still deprived of that essential weapon to survive the concrete wilds.


Apparently, a Junior looking for a paid PR internship for 10 weeks is too much to ask. All I wanted was the experience for my career development, but I also didn’t want to starve. So, unpaid internships were out of the question. It seems most employers in my field only care about you if you’re a senior/graduate and can work through the school year. I’m committed to working at a Writing Center with actually flexible hours, so working through the year wouldn’t work either.

I know I am hireable because many have complimented my resume. “This is a beautiful resume,” one company director exclaimed, “I’ve been in HR for five bajillion years, so I’m genuinely complimenting you.” I thought I hit the ball out of the park with the interview too. Yet, I wasn’t hired. I couldn’t even get a job through a networking lead.

When I had the they-only-care-about-seniors/graduates epiphany, it was already May. My dignity and self-esteem crushed, I spiraled into a hate-filled apathetic state. The existence of unpaid internships became the object of my hate. Tuition costs are through the roof, but college students are desperate enough to sacrifice less debt for career experience. Unpaid internships are no different than indentured servitude. I saw one company list unpaid as a job benefit. Despicable.


Now that I have pulled myself out of my funk, I started seeking other options. I really wanted to do something for my career development, so I looked into doing freelance writing to build a writing portfolio. Armed with the knowledge of existing freelance resources, I was ready to take on summer.

Then cue the mother. With her motherly motherness of caring about my future, she quickly criticized my decision. “Freelance writing?! That’s a side job. Haven’t you been applying to jobs?” Why yes, I’ve applied to 2,467 jobs I said. She seemed unimpressed. Feeling guilty, I go back to the drawing board. I wished for some encouragement, but I guess that’s too much to ask either.

I got another networking lead, but this time the company has already done their hiring for the summer. Now I’m too late to even land a part-time position.


I’m careening down the self-loathing slide again. I’m angry at my apathy, unpaid internships, and job searching. I understand that not getting hired is not a reflection of me. In fact, there are many factors that conspire against me. I can appreciate the complexity of this struggle that countless people experience every day.

Especially when you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience.

– Another Cog in the Jobless Machine


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