Is This Really Happening? Entering the Job Market During a Pandemic

Written by Madalyn Brown, Contributing Writer

1/12/2021

Unfortunately, the workplace is competitive regardless of the field, and that was before a global pandemic.  But for many of us undergraduate students, living during an unprecedented pandemic, we aren’t completely sure how this will affect our ability to find jobs that suit us well.   Additionally, there is the possibility that we will be stuck doing hard jobs that we don’t love for low pay. Did you know that most undergraduate students did not receive stimulus checks because they are dependents of their parents? If their parents make too much money, they did not receive the payment either. 

Not only did many of us miss out on stimulus checks, we were also denied unemployment for months because we didn’t qualify since many of us only worked part time as we’re also full-time students.  We needed to wait months for the government to find a way to allow for self-employed workers, part-time, or gig workers to be qualified for pandemic pay. 

When businesses started to slowly open back up in the summer, many places were hiring, but after taking the blow of closing for the winter, they weren’t able to offer much pay.  People were actually making more money staying on unemployment than going to work every day. Personally, I served in an all black uniform, a black mask, and worked outside dining for less than four dollars an hour for 12 to 14 hours per day.  I was relying tips that people didn’t have to give.  Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t worth it – especially with school starting up again.

When it comes to graduating college, students already feel the pressure of what they’re going to do after graduation, or what kind of job they’ll find, but for many of us, thinking about graduating during a pandemic feels like someone is keeping a heavy boulder strapped to your chest at all times.  So many jobs are remote right now, which is ultimately very nice, but it’s harder to train that way, and you don’t get the hands-on experience you would normally receive. Not to mention, a lot of younger graduates want to move away after school, and this pandemic makes it feel as if you are stuck where you are because everything is so expensive.  The real-world workplace has always been scary, but adding a global pandemic to that fire of fears just makes it worse. 

If you are having a challenging time, thinking about graduation, seek support from a therapist, a career coach, or a career counselor.  Many colleges have counseling centers and career centers equipped with professionals who can help support you and work through some of the difficulties.  Yes, thousands of us are graduating during unprecedented times, but we certainly are not alone.

Published by Counseling With Leslie

Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LPC is a North Carolina and Virginia board certified licensed professional counselor. She owns a successful practice in Carrboro, North Carolina. Through Counseling with Leslie, PLLC, she helps individuals navigate stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Additionally, she has been a leader, speaker, teacher, mentor and administrator for over 15 years.

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