Working in your 20’s

I started my new job on Monday and the week just flew by.

I’ll have you know I already know most of my coworkers’ names. This is a huge accomplishment, since I rarely remember people’s names–especially if I only met them a few times. Yes, I will remember every little detail you tell me, like a stalker, but I will not for the life of me remember your name.

Looking forward to waking up in the mornings, getting out of bed, getting dressed, and going to work is a huge game changer. I just feel like I have more energy to do things at work and after work. I’m also pretty excited by how new everything is–my office, the work, the commute, the people–everything. I feel like this is my chance to plant roots and show my value. 

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I keep track of my monthly income in an Excel file on my computer. I’ve been doing this since I graduated a few years ago. I started the log as motivation to work harder and of course, to track my spending. I dipped into my savings a few times to make rent, but I wanted to make sure I’d be able to get on my feet soon. So, I kept track.

I couldn’t find a good job for the first 11 months out of school. Seriously. I should probably admit that I didn’t put together the best resume, and (shocker) didn’t tailor the resume to the jobs I was applying to. I spammed so many companies with my generic resume looking for a job–ANY JOB. Obviously, I didn’t find anything substantial.

In the meantime, I decided to take advantage of my skill set and earn some money. All I really knew at that point was how to do well in university. So I made an ad on Kijiji and scoured the internet for clients. I did readings, put together notes, combed through research, and wrote essays. I worked with highschool, college, undergrad, and post-grad students. Some were here–in Toronto–and others were across the country. I stopped looking for full-time work and devoted myself to my students and their classes. They got A’s. I learned new things and improved my writing skills. 

Then I got a full-time job and tutored on the side. A handful of my regulars just wouldn’t let me get away. I was looking through my income log and realized I made over $20,000 in those 11 months after graduation. I couldn’t find work so I created my own work, and earned a modest income as a result. Awesome.

If you’re down on your luck or a recent grad entering an unwelcoming market, I urge you to sit down and make a list of your skills. What are you good at? Then, think of ways to market those skills to potential clients. I was good at researching and writing essays, so I marketed those skills to students. Take advantage of local ads and word-of-mouth to attract clients. It’s free.

Don’t shy away from a challenge–I once helped a Master’s student put together a thesis in a topic I had ZERO experience in. Those two weeks were fucking terrible. “Crunch time” is an understatement. I wanted to hide from him. I wanted to die. I ended up learning a lot from that experience and I made a tidy sum, too.

And don’t give up. I made $337 one month. It was my lowest point and I felt really shitty about it.

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4 thoughts on “Working in your 20’s

  1. Hey Kat,

    Thank you so much for that post. It has now been 10 months since I started job hunting and not reaching my goals has been frustrating. And to see suggestions on how to work things out is helpful. And congrats on your new job 🙂

    • Hey Catryn.

      Thanks! I’m so glad to hear my suggestions were helpful. I know it’s hard. Those 11 months were ego-crushing. I felt like such a loser for not being able to find a job. But it’s normal and happens to everyone. Looking back, I kind of regret not travelling during that time, or learning a new language.

      “What colour is your parachute” was a good read, and helped me improve my job-hunting strategy.

      What industry are you trying to enter?

  2. wow, what a great experience for you in the end! You’re amazing! Really great words of wisdom too 🙂

  3. Whoooo! I’m a bit late, but congrats on landing a job you like!

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