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What Do You Do for Money, Honey?

Submitted by Monica Connaghan on May 21, 2010 – 7:55 amComments

I always suspected that after college, my job would provide me with as many opportunities to learn as my classes and extracurriculars did.  Turns out though, when an economic collapse forces everyone down one rung on the job ladder, recent college grads get pushed off entirely, finding themselves lucky to land event the most banal of part-time service industry jobs.  Who knew? 

On the bright side, I have learned an incredible amount in the past year.  It just hasn’t been through anything I got paid for.  I used to scoff at the endless craigslist posts looking for indentured servants, um, interns, but since moving to Los Angeles in February, I’ve bought into the game, spending hours upon hours working in the entertainment business for nothing more than a pat on the back and the promise of a free beer after a show.  I’m still scrounging to pay my rent, but the work I’ve done for free in theater and film has challenged me, and made far more bearable the meaningless work I do to keep myself financially afloat.

My tale may be set in the dream factory of Tinsel Town, but I suspect that twenty-somethings across the country and in all sorts of industries are finding themselves similarly semi-employed.  A few months ago, a friend in San Francisco relayed to me what a colleague told her about breaking into the field of environmental consulting:  Expect to spend a year working for free. 

What do I do for money?  Not a whole hell of a lot.  The mantra that keeps me going is this: It’s still a career, even if you’re not getting paid.  Here’s to three months down, nine to go. 

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