I’m 29 years old and it’s time to grow up. I’m not saying this as if I’m immature, I’m saying as in my real world experiences. When I graduated high school I spent about six months in the same job I had for the past two years before going to college. What happened was when I graduated I wasn’t accepted into any of the colleges I applied for. I only remember applying for the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University.
That was a tough time for me because I didn’t know where my future was heading. I didn’t have a car so going to a community college wasn’t an option. I needed a college with dormitory. Through Facebook I saw some of my high school classmates going to Lane College. I Googled the college and saw that it had dormitory and would accept my graduating GPA. I applied and got accepted. I had never heard of the college before. I just knew that it was historically Black and five hours away from home. My parents and I were just happy that my life was moving forward in a good direction.
I spent a year at that college then transferred to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I was completely oblivious to the real world while in college. I didn’t have a part time job or a car, so all my experience was spent on college campus. Life looks pretty good in college especially when you’re an English major and most your classes are about reading fiction that you’d read on your own time.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with an English degree. The only thing I thought I could do was become an English teacher, but that required to go the Education route and I didn’t want to change majors. I merely focused on having fun my last semester in college. I didn’t seek any internships or resources to help me build a resume. I figured that I’d just graduate, go home, and figure life out after that. I had no idea how the real world worked.
Once I graduated from college and rode back home with my parents I started to feel high anxiety. I was no longer in the comforts of being a college student and not having to worry about real world problems. I had to find a job, pay rent, buy a car, and other responsibilities.
I didn’t have a resume put together. I put one together by myself through some online template and hoped I landed an interview somewhere. I thought about working at Target and working my way up that chain. I liked shopping at the store and I felt like they took good care of their employees.
Working at target would have satisfied me at first, but I thought about where would that job lead me? I wanted to work in an office, 9 to 5, and wear business casual clothes to work. I figured Human Resources would be a good fit because it’s a job that’s always in demand. I didn’t have an HR degree. Although, now I know plenty of successful HR professionals who don’t have HR degrees but were able to find themselves in the position.
Well, at the time I thought doing HR in the Army would later give me the life I want. My goals were to get a M.S. in Human Resources online while on active duty and get promoted to Sergeant so I could say I have management experience.
Fast forward six years I got promoted to Sergeant and I have my M.S. in Human Resources Management. I have six months left in the Army and yet I have been experiencing as much anxiety as I had when I graduated from college. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of fear in service members who planned on ETSing this summer or fall and many civilians who are currently not getting paid because they cannot work.
It would be so much better if I had the choice to extend my contract for just six months to a year, but I got DA selected for recruiting, which is a three-year assignment. That means either take the recruiting position which could put me in a location other than Maryland, and possibly have to take my wife out of school for the next three years. Or, sign a deletion of orders statement and take my chances on finding a civilian job during the U.S. first virus pandemic and while 16 million Americans have filed for unemployment. No big deal, right?
For the past few weeks I have been applying to jobs in such a panic frenzy you’d think I’m currently unemployed. My ETS date is September 27, 2020. Despite the traumatic news posted everyday that makes this pandemic seem like it isn’t getting any better, I still believe that Americans will go back to work by no later than late May.
I mean I really don’t believe that the economy can be closed all the way until September. But even if the economy opens again in April or sometime in May, I’m still nervous about the job prospects. Will companies hire immediately, or hold off to give them time to recover from the financial lost from the social distancing?