Category Archives: advice

Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job

Okay, I know I promised somewhere that this would be a “life after college” blog. Here’s my first real chapter in “life after college”. It’s been a while since my last post because shit basically hit the fan. I sacrificed my B.S. degree to take a paid internship, and now have a B.A. in Geology. I moved from California to Michigan. I am now living in a state that I’ve never been to, let alone the time zone. I have no friends here. I have no connections. No networking opportunities. I have since had a BBQ blow up in my face, got rid of half of my belongings, and I am currently a part-time cashier at a grocery store.I am so desperate for friends, I made a missed connection post on Craigslist with a person who I asked where they got their shirt. No reply yet. sad face

So. I have complied a list of steps of what I have done, and what I expect to do, with some major venting in between. I hope that it works out in my favor, because that means it may help out someone else in the same position. Maybe they can learn from my mistakes. This is what I hope for. Ready for Step 1?

Step 1: Accept that the university you attended isn’t getting you in the place you wanted to be.

Yeah yeah, I know it totally sounds like I’m trying to place blame on anything but myself, but I’m really just looking at the facts here. The university I attended was very heavy on the “Just look for our alumni! They are all across America, you won’t have a problem!” Well, here I am. All the way across America, about 9 states away. Guess what? Nobody has ever heard of my university, and nor do they care about that university because guess what again? Nobody cares unless you have oil related classes, and mine didn’t have a single one. In fact, the university wanted us to sign something saying we would never involve ourselves in environment-destroying jobs.

Really though, you actually want me to hold off on paying for $50,000 worth of debt because it makes you look more environmentally friendly than other universities? Fuck off.

Also, I’m realizing that the department is more set up for pushing out “basic” geologists and funneling them into grad schools so that those schools can deal with giving us the experience we need to move up in the world. The professors, I eventually noticed, only went out of their way for students who also wanted to go into academia. Forget the ones who actually want to work after school. So at this point, I am going to be forced to go to grad school. Not that I have anything against grad school mind you, this is just what’s going to happen instead of finding even a mildly related job in my field. Unless I volunteer. Which brings me to Step 3.

But first…

Step 2: Take any god damned job you can get your hands on. Even if they are just place holders until you get that career you’re hoping for.

This is the place I’m at now. Say hello to your newest (and cutest!?) part-time cashier at your local grocery store. AWESOME use of my degree, right?

This is my life right now. Part-time cashiering at a very expensive, but large and REALLY SLOW, grocery store. Grasping at any opportunity to do anything productive. Anything but stand there. Anything but play with a rubber band for an hour, waiting for the next customer. Can I at least straighten the candy? Come on, let me leave my post!

Okay I’ll stop whining…here’s my point: This step sucks. This is the arguably the worst step. This part is so un-fulfilling and depressing. The part where everyone around you seems to be doing exactly what they went to school for. Universally…this part really sucks. This is the step that starts to make you feel worthless, your degree worthless, your rock collection doesn’t mean anything to you anymore…it’s gets sad. You get sad. But you just have to remember, don’t stop applying. Don’t be afraid to take a part time job or three just to get by. Don’t be afraid to drop those part time job like flies if anything better pops up (but don’t let them catch on to that…).

I’m going to side step real quickly and elaborate something about step 2.


Step 2 is dangerous. Step 2 is what scares me the most, because I am currently stuck on step 2. I really think Step 2 is where you can really get stuck in an endless cycle of shitty retail jobs for the rest of your life. This honestly applies to anyone, not just geology people of course. I am a good cashier, okay? I’ve done almost nothing but cashier jobs since I was 15. I worked through high school, and I worked after high school, and I worked through community college clear up until I went to university. I have almost 12 years of retail under my belt. Do you know what that gets me? Endless retail jobs. Not geology jobs.

I honestly thought that having any work experience would really help with finding geo work, because I know that there are fresh students with absolutely no work experience under their belt. I thought for sure that would be my leg-up. I thought for sure that showing I was able to work 3 different jobs with no days off for 4 months straight showed that I had drive, and was willing to do just about anything to hold a job….but it’s not enough. Thanks to the gas price crash, geologists with years of geology experience under their belts are taking any job they can get, thus leaving people like me competing with people like them.

I know that what I have now is not enough, and I am no longer competitive.I have come to terms that I have to take a different approach to this.

Cue Step 3


Step 3: Volunteer

Here is the next step I’m taking to try to be competitive. I’m hoping that ANY work experience and good references in the geo job sector will get my a leg up, and help me find that career I’m looking for.

After talking to a few geologists in my new town, it sounds like I’m not even going to land a volunteer gig. My landlord’s oldest son is a geologist, and I finally got to speak to him last week. I told him many of my colleague’s were finding junior geologist jobs with consulting just months after graduation. These people were my good friends, and I know that they didn’t just use connections to find their positions. One hadn’t even graduated yet, and wasn’t the best student in the department, and landing a very awesome gig in the bay area. She said she just watched interview help videos on youtube and nailed the interview. Yeah but…how did you even get an interview? What the fuck am I doing wrong? Anyways…He didn’t believe me. He actually didn’t believe that my colleagues were finding jobs so fast. He thought that I was just saying that to make myself look better….which I don’t know how that works. Running into him is going to be awkward at the least. “Oh yeah, remember me? The desperate lying recent graduate who will say anything to get a job.” Uuuggghhh.

BUT!

I did not let him get me down. I got dressed up today. I dressed up my resume. I did some major google-fu and found a couple of geology companies. I walked into the one that was my first choice and tried to talk to the geologist there about volunteering and just tagging along. I only talked to the receptionist, and she went up to the geologist’s office and was there for some time. She comes down and says he was about to leave for the day, but here is his card. Email him. He is great at responding quickly. Cool. Now I have his name. Commence Facebook search.

Step 3.1: Networking…kinda.

This is like a subsection of Step 3….because this is experimental on my part. Here’s how this is going to go in my head. I checked his facebook to make sure he drinks. Of course he drinks. He’s a geologist. But I’m in the Midwest and needed to double check and make sure he wasn’t one of the religious fanatics around here. USE FACEBOOK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE PEOPLE! Anyways, I shoot him an email. I tell him I don’t know how to say I want to volunteer without making it sound like I am desperate. I really just want to tag a long and see what kind of work  this sector entails, as it is really different from the area that I am coming from.

After shooting off professional yada’yada’yada, I leave another paragraph: “On a less professional note, I am very new to the area and have no friends or colleagues. It would be really nice if we could get together over a beer and talk geology, if nothing else.”  I bet he sees right through that bullshit. I don’t want it to be bullshit, though. I REALLY DO want to have a beer with him if nothing else.

Honestly, I”m not at my “desperate for a job” point yet. I am, however “desperate for friends” point. I would be just as ecstatic over making a new geology friend over a geology job. Kinda.

Okay. I will leave it at this, because this is as far as I’ve gotten. No reply from geo guy. No landed geo interviews. No new geo connections.

Stay lovely, my WordPress strangers. Cheers.

Every Student’s Dilemma

Every student goes through this. Probably every year like I do. Stuck somewhere between being a poor college student, and willing to spend a large amount of money on something, anything, that will help you get better grades. 

I’m actually having this dilemma right now. I’m stuck somewhere between needing to pay off my credit cards (gee thanks, field camp), and trying to prepare technologically for the future. I had this dilemma last year as well, and this is what I’ve learned:

Don’t get caught up in wanting NOW NOW NOW

Last year, I needed a new PC because mine was 8 years old started to fritz out. I couldn’t run Battlefield 4 or Titanfall on it, so it had to go (it didn’t help that Office wasn’t working either, because you know, school. Also, don’t judge me). I could have upgraded it, but because it was the type of computer it was, and the way bundle PC’s work now, it was cheaper to get one that was already built, then to try to rebuild my old one. If you’re looking to upgrade your old computer, make sure you’re not going to have to upgrade every component after upgrading one item. This was the case for me, so I just went ahead and spent $100 extra on a more powerful computer that I didn’t know how to build, and would be far easier to upgrade in the future…and some cool accessories that I wouldn’t have even thought to put in my old computer. So I got the new PC. 

I should note that I spent a good 3 months researching building vs buying, debating on what I really wanted vs needed, and pricing. The other thing I learned? That CameCamelCamel is your BEST. FRIEND. It really helps you decide WHEN you should buy. The only draw back is that the item has had to have been on the market for a little while before you get decent information. Thanks to the program, I knew that the PC I was buying was the lowest price it had been and/or was going to be. Thank you CCC!

Now, onto the classic dilemma when deciding it’s time to get a new computer…

MAC or PC?

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of MAC. Sorry, dudes. So you’re probably like, well why was this even a dilemma for you? You already knew what you wanted! And you’re right, I knew I what I wanted, but in my case it may not have been what I needed. So far, my experience is that geologists LOVE Mac’s. Most techy geology programs have been designed for MAC’s. There are not even that many students in my department that I know of who don’t have MAC’s. They are the cool kids who get the cool programs because their professors give it to them for free because school licences or whatever. Well I wanna be a cool kid with an in with the techy professors! It also crossed my mind that if this what all my professors (and by all, I mean every single professor) use, what if a MAC is what’s preferred in the industry? I should really invest in one. 

I still decide on a PC because I realized that if an employer really needed me to use a MAC, they would give me one. So PC it is. 

At this point in time, I’m needing a new laptop. When I started community college, I got this tiny little Acer One notebook. I used it for biology and typed all my notes, and it was the BEST THING EVER….until it completely crashed two months into the class and I lost ALL of my notes. I got it fixed, no longer trusted it, and just used it for media. 

That was 4 years ago, and it has since had a dead screen, and I didn’t touch it for a year after that happened.  I fixed it a couple weeks ago, and I’m like yeah I’ll use it for Chem! But then when I think back to biology and I nearly have an aneurysm. 

So…on to the next lesson.

Cheap or Durable?

This one is hard to go over, because it’s really up to the person and their experiences. What are you willing to deal with? You have to keep in mind that, more than likely, you would have to constantly replace something cheap. If you get something that is cheap AND durable, awesome! If you are looking into something that has both options, like I am, ask yourself: If for some reason I have to replace the cheaper item, is it going to cost me the same as buying the more expensive item? 

I’m currently looking at a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It’s VERY comparable to the Macbook Air. There are several versions of this tablet/laptop Frankenstein. Ranging from $200 (I would rather have a Kindle Fire? Does the same things. Had one, didn’t use it, sold it…so this is obviously not what I’m looking for.) to $600. So if I wanted to go for cheap(er) I would look for something in the $500 range. Most of these are refurbished, or older versions. The pricetag for the Pro 3 (Intel i5/128G) is going for $849 student offer from Microsoft.com and is so far the cheapest I could find. Not sure if that comes with the keyboard or not, which is also a major selling point. You should look into it. It’s pretty neat.

For me, it’s my senior year. I’m getting thrown into the real world in T-minus 11 months. I need something that is going to be able to keep up with me, my life, the rest of the world, and withstand the constantly upgrading technology. It would be in my best interest to get the Pro 3. It would also be replacing any need I would have for physical books (save  money on the chiropractor AND electronic books are starting to get cheaper than physical books!), no more printing out the slides for the lectures, and would take away at least 3 notebooks that I would have would buy, thanks to the pen it comes with. 
For me, based on my traumatic experience from my $250 netbook, I can’t deal with worrying about losing my information. I have to go with the safer bet.

I think for the next blog I’m going to talk about how I save money and give advice for those who are super low income like me. (Funny to say when I’m  looking at a Surface Pro 3, eh? Thank goodness student loans exist.)

 

 

Side note: Please don’t get my way of thinking confused with someone who just wants top-notch band-name gadgets. I am a person who will spend a large amount of money for something that I will not replace for years. I dealt with my broken laptop for 4 years without buying a new one because that’s how long I felt it should have at least lasted for.

I hope this helps in some way. I’m happy to have any feedback,  advice, or recommendation on other laptops, ect ect.

 

 

Cheers