That Magical Diploma

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

After spending countless hours consuming gallons of coffee and having at least one anxiety attack a week for 3 years, I finally graduated with my bachelor’s degree, with honors even. Now, in my mind, graduating with such top grades and honors, I thought surely I would snag that magical decent-paying writer’s job. Potential employers would look at my resume and my shiny new diploma and transcripts and be in awe of my greatness, hiring me on the spot. (hahahahahaha) Excuse me; I had to get that off my chest.

My delusional dreams are far from what reality has posed for me. Granted, I have a great work history in the IT world, but as a writer, most see me as still wet behind the ears. This is even with 14 years of technical and business writing under my belt. Here’s a fact for you, writing jobs are highly competitive, I mean cutthroat. So, if you’re like me and have less experience in the creative arena, the likelihood of getting a full-time gig is almost impossible. At this point, I’m hoping to get a few contracts to cover my rent.

What’s my point here? First, just having that degree doesn’t make you entitled to have the best position, with great pay. Having that piece of paper doesn’t even guarantee you a job. It takes a lot of work, perseverance, thick skin, and even a sense of humor. You will see tons of rejections before landing a job or contract. You may end up switching positions a few times, but having the tenacity not to give up will be your best skill. That and the right attitude. I’ve experienced the downside of writing contracts for entry-level noobs like me. They pay pennies on the dollar, but like anyone starting out, you have to take some low-paying jobs to build that portfolio. The more you add to your portfolio, the more you’ll be able to negotiate for later on.

Don’t be like me and be lulled into a false sense of security. I was overconfident about getting a job even before I graduated. Now that I’ve had that cold slap of sense knocked into me, I’m a bit more serious in my job search. My advice is to keep applying. Apply often and apply to jobs that you may think you aren’t qualified for. There’s always that chance that someone will see that diamond-in-the-rough and want to help you shine.

Originally published June 11, 2018

Lisa Mildon

Lisa Mildon is an offbeat geeky wordsmith, storyteller, and founder of Creatively Caffeinated. She has extensive editing and writing experience in non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and technical writing. In 2018, she graduated Summa Cum Laude at SNHU in Creative Writing and English. Lisa loves PC gaming, science fiction and is obsessed with traveling. A self-professed Whovian, she aspires to write for the TV series and in books. With her husband, they have 3 rescues, 2 adorable Rat Terriers, and 1 fat cat.

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