When Class Ends, the Real Test Begins

It’s been nine months since I received my Master of Science in Human Resource Administration. I have a job in my career field, a cushion in my bank account, and the ability to pay Sallie ahead of schedule. It sounds like I’m strutting through life, Right?

Well, I am taking strides but not without tripping. I was blessed to obtain my Bachelor of Science (shout out to all psychology majors) in three years and my Master’s degree (tuition-free) in one. Getting both degrees in four years was a major accomplishment that I am proud of, but, the question what’s next circles through my mind every day. Take a glimpse of my post-graduate life:

July-August 2017: A Practice Test

I began my first big girl job! Located in Lincoln Park, I expected to excel in my career and have a fun life after 5. While I enjoyed my role as a Recruiting Coordinator, there were a couple of hurdles along the way:

1. My commute took 2 hours to get to work, and 2 hours to return home to the suburbs. I was out of the house by 6 am and back home around 7 pm.
2. Parking was terrible. Paris (my car) car got towed on my first day of work, resulting in an hour-long trip to the tow yard and a $218.50 fee. When I finally figured out where to legally park, I paid an access card activation fee plus $155.22 month for a spot in a parking garage located two blocks away from the office. Eventually, I upgraded to a spot connected to the office building for a lower price.
3. I was hired on an hourly basis, which, isn’t always a bad thing. When I went home, I left work at the office, and I did not worry about it until the next day. However, I was making $3 less than what I made in an internship, and the job lacked benefits such as holiday pay, PTO, and 401k.

September 2017: A Test of Endurance

One month into this position, I was excited to be in the work world despite my long commute. A recruiter from my now second-ex-big girl job contacted me via LinkedIn. I was not actively looking for a new position, and my LinkedIn account was not fully developed, so I felt it was a bit odd. Long story short, a phone screen and an in-person interview later, I was hired as a Technical Recruiter. Upon resigning from my previous company, I was offered the opportunity to work remotely 100% of the time. However, the new position offered $10,000 more in salary, benefits, and aligned with what I wanted to do in my career…so I thought. Let’s talk about my most recent ex-big girl job; life as a recruiter.

1. I worked in a call center environment. We were to be on the phones for a certain number of hours per day cold calling candidates that may or may not be interested in roles that we may or may not have.
2. Work hours were from 8AM-5PM, with the expectation of working through lunch in addition to nights and weekends without overtime pay. The ability to take home our tablets made us accessible 24/7, which lead to a lot of stress and anxiety from work.
3. It was a hostile work environment. Here are a few examples so that you don’t feel like I am dramatic:

• “You either love this job or hate it; there’s no in between. If you don’t love it, then leave.” -My former boss
• “Why the f* don’t we have help desk people?” -Also my former boss
• I was pulled to the side and asked about what a co-worker said during lunch. My boss asked if I went to lunch with them and if a specific co-worker made negative comments. She said she sees this person as the “ringleader of negativity” in the office. I said my co-worker was not, but brought up when they said they felt defeated in our Monday morning meeting and stated that they might be depressed. Instead of showing empathy, my boss rolled her eyes and said that my co-worker needs to grow up. In a team meeting that week, she said that she knows that we went to lunch together to unwind and threatened to “put an end to it” if she hears anything negative said about work during our lunch hour.

There are more examples, but I will save those for a later post dedicated to verbal abuse in the work place. Needless to say, I began applying for jobs. While applying, I caught the flu, got my wisdom teeth removed, caught an infection in my gums, and had an additional oral surgery after a trip to the ER to remove the infection. Since I had to use a few days of PTO to take care of myself, I stopped applying for jobs (because jobs require interviews which require time off work) and decided to keep my head down and work hard.

February 2018-Present: A Test of Faith in God’s Timing

I recieved an interview invitation for a position that I applied to three weeks prior, for a role that I wanted since I graduated nine months ago. In my mind, it was horrible timing, but, it was God’s perfect timing. I wrestled with how I would tell my boss because I did not want to lie about being sick to go on an interview. Prayer after lengthy discussions with family led me to quit my job on a Tuesday, an interview the next day, a second interview on Friday, and accepting an offer the following Tuesday. Won’t He do it?

My new position will obviously have its challenges, but I am grateful and excited for the opportunities and tests ahead. I believe that it is important to share career stories so that people won’t get discouraged when they are seeking answers in times of uncertainty, so,  I’ll be sure to share posts like these in the future.

Hold on to your crown during the test,

Tiara

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