I'm a recent college grad who has been playing the "unemployment blues" for the past 5 months and have had no real success finding full-time work. However, I've recently had two excellent interviews for an entry-level administrative assistant position at a small non-profit organization in New York (where I currently live with my parents). I'm not sure if this is the kind of work I would be able to do for more than a year (well aware that most people don't necessarily enjoy their jobs and generally have to haul ass in the early stages), and the pay is mediocre, but I am entering student loan repayment soon ($80k+ worth of debt) and need a steady paying job ASAP. Please offer me some perspective from your experiences in this situation, and help me determine if I am making the right decision.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First of all, I like what the organization is about (enriching people’s lives through music; I am all about music), which is why I was drawn to the position in the first place. However, I have been told straight up that I would be doing almost entirely support work, and that I should not delude myself into thinking that I would be directly involved in the mission of the organization. Room for advancement appears to be non-existent, unless someone in the organization leaves and they need to bump me up. The salary is only okay for paying off my bills, but I envision that it would be difficult trying to save for my future and have some semblance of a social life (which is currently practically non-existent as well, because I am broke as hell, I broke up with my girlfriend almost a year ago, and because everyone else I know is busy and broke as well).
I still linger onto the hope that someday I would be able to do what I love for a living (which is music), and perhaps foolishly believe that I can continue to do it on the side at night with as much passion and dedication as I had for it during my four years of college, when I practiced, wrote and performed as often as I could. Alas, music is not something people pay much money for or pay for at all, so that’s why I have reluctantly decided that the best solution for me is to take a job and secure myself financially before I delve back into the realm of music, possibly by heading to music school.
I am past the disappointment and resentment stages of being unemployed and feeling useless and unproductive. I feel very driven to work towards my future and I have laid out a ton of goals for myself, both simple and lofty, but it’s been a challenge and I feel like I’m slowly and voluntarily surrendering myself into becoming one of the cogs of the real world.
Thus, I am leaning towards taking the job and pursuing other options on the side, but am concerned about forcing myself into a position just so I can make money to survive. If I find a better position (which obviously entails more meaningful work, higher pay, etc.) while working at this job, I would most likely entertain an interview and accept the job if offered. At the same time, though, I do not want to be flaky and leave after just a few months of work… then again, how much of that would be a regrettable consequence?
Here are a few of the pros and cons I have thought of off the top of my head:
+ I would have a lot of responsibilities and constantly be involved in some kind of work
+ I would develop a lot of marketable skills, which would make me more versatile as I look for other work
+ Presumably less office politics to deal with
- Potentially very repetitive tasks, menial work
- Lots of cold calling (bleh, I'm good on the phone but I'm not a big fan of this; ideally I would like to eschew this part of my work but understand that I can’t)
- Very small office... I felt a bit claustrophobic when I visited
- Unsure about how I would expand my network, then again, my supervisors would probably be able to put me in touch with members of other organizations if I do exceptionally well in my work
- I would not be directly involved in working towards my career goals
I am probably making a big deal out of a little thing. I mean, this is only an entry-level position, I only just got out of college, I shouldn’t be expecting so much, so why should I stress so much over this? Sure, maybe it’s because I’m part of the generation that likes to see results and have things happen right away. But I’m trying to think. Why is it that I’m not currently doing what I love for a living? Is it because of internal factors, the external circumstances around me, or a combination of both? How can I reconcile these issues so that I am in control of my life?
1. I graduated with a B.S. in business administration (marketing emphasis) but over the past several years, have only had internships at non-profit organizations. How would you compare and assess the quality of your work and social life working in a non-profit org. vs. working in a for-profit org (e.g. a bank or marketing firm)?
2. How would I transition into the for-profit sector (say, marketing work at Nielsen) if the only experience I have on my resumé consists entirely of non-profit work, despite my business education?
3. Are there positions in the U.S. that would allow me to put or fuse the following skills and passions of mine into productive use? I apologize in advance if I’m asking for a “trophy wife” of a profession but I figured I would ask.
- Performing, Teaching, Composing, Arranging, Transcribing Music
Please forgive me for sounding naïve and the rambling nature of this post. I am very inexperienced in the nuances of the “real world” and that is why I have come to you for help. Again, I am leaning towards taking the job, but I wanted to gather some advice and perspective from the hive mind. I would very much appreciate your responses to my questions and your ideas on an actionable, prioritized plan to take for the next six months, next year, and even a little beyond if you would be so inclined.
Thank you all in advance!