Help me overcome my past and stop being so mediocre.
August 18, 2009 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Help me overcome my past and stop being so mediocre. Compared to my peers I can't seem to measure up, and I am looking for ways to change this.

(I wasn't sure what category to put this in, but here goes)

During high school I never thought I would amount to anything. I smoked pot every day, did the bare minimum at school and was happy working my cleaning job at nights to pay for my addiction to junk food, pot and dvds. I come from a very poor background and went to a poor high school so there was nothing in my group of friends or my family life to indicate this was a particularly bad choice of lifestyle. My parents my both unemployed or had minimum wage jobs for most of my childhood, and my father disappeared to service his drug problem when I was a teenager, so I have not exactly had great role models to start me off on a good foot.

For some reason I decided to enrol at university straight after highschool (mostly out of an inability to find anything better to do), and found that I gelled with it perfectly - the material interested me and I worked hard, with all of my grades in a reasonably good range.

Fast forward to my second year of uni now (doing a double degree in law and arts) and I am still getting good grades and have a great group of friends who all look as though they have bright futures ahead of them, but apart from the papers I am doing at uni I can't help but feel I have nothing going for me.

I don't have any extra-curricular activities to speak of - and I have no idea where to start if I were to take one up. The only interests I seem to have are reading books, watching movies and partying - which satisfy me but look crappy on paper.
I am still in a shitty part time cleaning job. A lot of my friends have good jobs in nice retail stores or legal firms, or as bartenders etc, and it makes me feel inadequate in comparison - all of my work colleagues seem to resent me for going to university, all of them are high school drop outs.

I have not got my drivers licence as I haven't been able to pay for lessons or car, where as my friends (who all seem to come from comfortable middle class backgrounds) have had all this handed to them.

Everybody seems to care about whether or not you went to the "right" schools and lived in the right parts of town, and I definitely don't fit the bill in this area. Not only did I go to one of the worst schools in town, I managed to underachieve there, where it would have taken almost no work to be top of the school.

On top of this I speak with quite working class inflections (despite how hard I try to hide where I came from), which I feel makes people underestimate me and disregard me as stupid. So although I don't have trouble speaking to small groups of people, things like running for student government or something like that at university seem out of my reach. I often feel like coming from a poor background is some sort of a crime, and I am always desperately trying to hide it.

I resent a lot of my new social network to some degree (as much as I don't really want to because they have accepted me despite my differences), mostly because they seem to have had everything handed to them and they don't understand how somebody like me, who they consider to be reasonably intelligent, cannot seem to advance further up the employment ladder or get internships etc.

When I try to apply for decent part-time jobs and internships I never get any replies, I guess because I mostly look useless on paper, compared to my friends and peers in general who seem to have a plethora of interesting and useful things to pad out their resume's with. I never used to care about this but now I do want to get ahead in life, and I feel like my attempts are futile, and that even with a degree I won't stand a chance against the couple of hundred people in better positions who also have the same degree.

So basically I am looking for ways to overcome this and get out of the rut of only being able to find cleaning/house keeping jobs, and also to stand a chance when applying for scholarships and other things like that. I am still over 19 and have 3 years of uni left, so I feel that I do still have time to improve my chances. My grades are just above average and I am happy with that, but I fear that because they are not all A+'s and because on paper I definitely not the "full package", I don't stand a chance.

I have considered lying on my CV about past work experience, because I know how to look the part and could bluff my way through job interviews I think, and I have also considered trying to find volunteer work to fill my CV out (though I have yet to find a place to volunteer in my area that doesn't need somebody who has a drivers licence/is not intensely christian/ or has anybody volunteering under 50).

Any ideas as to things I could do to improve my situation and look better on paper would be greatly appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (27 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Lying on your CV is a horrible, horrible idea. Not just because it's morally bankrupt, but because it will almost certainly be found out.

It won't kill you to volunteer somewhere where only old people volunteer, and it will look good on your CV. You don't have to do it forever: eight or ten weeks is a reasonable stint of volunteering for a student, and you can stand eight or ten weeks with olds.

Also, if you want to consider this like a heartless pragmatist, it's probably wise to start pitching yourself as the "dead-end kid made good." Include stuff about your go-nowhere parents and pinched economic circumstances in your essay. It will differentiate you from all the middle-class pony-owners and Jet-Skiers you're up against.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

What country are you in? Most of my advice would probably be US-centric, but your use of "uni" and "CV" suggest to me that perhaps you're located elsewhere...
posted by Jacqueline at 6:25 PM on August 18, 2009

You write clearly and directly. I'm not sure where that will take you, but it seems to me that 90% of the planet can't communicate effectively. I'm similar to you in some ways - good writer and prior goof-off - and I've found that my work is most valued where I'm explaining complex ideas or concepts to people that don't have an immediate grasp on them - for instance, distilling hundreds of pages of complex legislation into a form of a few pages that people without much formal education can extract the critical points from. I've also done quite a bit of manual labor, and I see it as only a positive because I have a better sense of how people in others line of work manage their time and how different jobs fit together in an overall project.

I'd suggest looking for internships - nonprofit or otherwise - that involve working on a publication or web content of some sort, even if they aren't in the field you want to end up in. Resumes display skills in addition to displaying experience divided into individual jobs. Toward that end, you can learn a lot from people over 50, even if you curse them on the commute home for standing on the right of the escalator.

And don't lie on your resume. Things get really ugly when people find out.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:28 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

With three years to go, you just have to keep at it. Your grades will probably come up as you start to get the hang of it.

In the mean time, volunteer, which not only looks good, but will help you meet other people who volunteer.

You've just pulled yourself out of the hole you dug for yourself. Don't feel bad if you don't get caught up with everyone else right away. Impatience is how you got yourself in a hole. If you keep at the hard work, you will catch up and pass most of the people in your age group, who aren't necessarily working their hardest.
posted by musofire at 6:40 PM on August 18, 2009

I'm going to second working for some kind of publication. If you do well writing papers and you like to read, it seems like working for or interning with either a campus or local publication would work well for you.

Also, it seems like you're extra hard on yourself for your background - none of which you can change now, and little of which you had control over. The idea that you're looking to improve yourself now, shows that you are from a better material than you give yourself credit for.

I wish you a lot of luck.

(One more thing: Have you checked with the student activities office of your school? They probably have a comprehensive list or even a website of activities, clubs, groups and student employment on or near campus - which would help out with your transportation issues.)
posted by Kimothy at 6:42 PM on August 18, 2009

Find out what kinds of student job placement help your university offers. There's probably a career counseling and placement office that can offer you advice on opportunities for current students as well as how to plan for a career after you graduate. I don't know what university you're attending, but a little googling indicates that several universities in New Zealand list this type of service for students on their website. Unless "career services" means something wildly different where you are compared to where I sit in the States, that office should be able to offer advice regarding your current cv, volunteering opportunities to enrich your work experience, and new strategies for your job search. So, don't lie on you cv, but do meet with someone who can give you guidance on improving it legitimately.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:53 PM on August 18, 2009

Best answer: You're in your second year at University--that's still not that far along! Your life isn't nearly ruined yet.

Have you tried getting a job through your University? I'm not sure about NZ, but in the US, professors often hire students for research projects they're working on. There are also the menial jobs like residence hall monitoring and alumni relations and such, and most of these places understand that, as a student, you're not going to have a huge amount of experience. If your university has a career services/job placement office, take advantage of them!

I'd work a little harder in your classes, to get above "Just above average". Or at least find the classes you really like and work hard, get on good terms with the professors. They can often be the best leads for internships and jobs that you can find.

I think part of the problem of not having the middle-class background is not your abilities but being unaware of some of the awesome resources that the middle-class people already know how to take advantage of (that don't cost any money!). Being able to search for and find good scholarships that are tailored towards their specific circumstances (i.e. the John McCay Scots-Irish New Zealand Heritage Scholarship for Girls with Red Hair and Two Sisters), which allow them to have better chances at getting the money. Using career services and being willing to be pushy about getting a job. And talking to the professors! They're there (or should be there) to help you out and get you to advance. If you have problems, go to office hours and ask questions. If you don't have problems, go to office hours and ask questions that go further than the homework--let the professors know that you're interested and enthusiastic, so that they remember and like you. People relationships are hugely important in getting good jobs and internships. Essentially, you can either be completely awesome academically, or you can be pretty darn good academically but have made the right kind of personal connections to get the jobs that you want. For scholarships, a glowing recommendation letter can make all the difference in the world. For jobs, too.

So make friends! Those volunteer jobs you can get with the people over 50--they have had over twice as long as you have had to make personal connections with people who have had the time to move up the corporate ladder. If you can prove yourself in a volunteer position in front of these people, they may just want to tell their friends "Hey, this sartre08 has been really awesome at helping NPO X reach their goals through supporting us Y the Z, I think he would be a great addition to your team which also Ys Zs!" Also, people over 50 can be pretty cool, and you may even find some that have gone through the same situations as you have.
posted by that girl at 6:58 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am in the US, but have a somewhat similar background. Especially the working-class bit, and the driving! Wow, what a deal that was...

You are a self-made person. Adopt this view of yourself, not in a superior way or a chip-on-shoulder way, but squarely, positively, and matter-of-factly. Be proud of it. Others will be impressed.
posted by jgirl at 7:00 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Start with joining clubs, work your way up to an officership, and then use that experience to apply for internships. Freshman year, I joined two clubs as a regular member, and by the next year I was an officer in both. In my case, I became graphics editor of a publication and props assistant for a drama club, both due to my interest in art. Two years after that, I got an internship that was largely design-based, due largely to my experience in those clubs. (My only actual work experience is in retail.)

I bet there's a movie club and/or book club on your campus that you could get involved in. And if you like music at all, consider becoming a college radio dj. I've heard good things. Any publication is also great- there's nothing like saying you've been published!

In my experience, getting an officership in a college club is as simple as showing up and caring about what the club is doing. Nine-tenths of people will not do these things. But, the thing is, even if the position is easy to get, it looks mighty good on your resume.

Also- NO employer cares what you did in high school. My adviser made me take every reference to high school clubs off of my resume, that's how irrelevant it is.

Finally... I attended 3rd through 12th grade with classmates whose parents mostly made probably three times what mine did. It was hard to know that other kids got karate and swim class and piano lessons and summer camps, and I didn't. But the ones who became my friends were the ones who recognized their privileges and didn't take them for granted. Those people liked me for who I was and never judged me for not having sweet birthday parties. You'll find them at your school too.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:13 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here in NZ people just aren't hung up on extra curriculars in the same way as, say, the US. Even I feel inadequate when reading about what Uni students in other countries need to do to get a job and get ahead but in reality it's never held me back in this market. My undergrad career was very similar to what you're describing except I didn't even have a job most of the time. My grades improved when I got to Masters level because I was more focussed but I didn't get first class/distinction and I still got a very good research job with that degree, and I'm now doing a PhD. I've never experienced any kind of snobbery about where I come from but then maybe I just didn't notice? (I also didn't learn to drive til I was 28 *shrug*) So while padding your resume is always helpful I don’t think it's worth losing sleep over for you.

However I think you do have a few things holding you back. I agree with Inspector.Gadget that you write clearly and directly but your question is also full of negativity. You should be proud of doing a good job at Uni despite your crappy high school experience, of managing a difficult double degree, of holding down a job to support yourself and of being able to ask for help in such a thoughtful manner. Instead you seem to have a lot of hang ups and they'll screw you up much more than how you speak. It sounds like Uni is a very different environment to that one you grew up in and it's fine to struggle with that, but an inferiority complex comes across as off-putting to employers and suchlike.

Fortunately there is support available to you. Your university will have a counselling service which is free or very low cost, go talk to them. I'm not suggesting you need therapy exactly but their job is about supporting you at University in a bunch of different ways, including how handle stress, develop some self esteem and to make the most of what you've got going on. You may only go once or you may find that having an outside perspective really helpful, either way it's a very low cost investment so give it a go.

Your Uni will also have a careers office and/or teaching and learning unit. Make an appointment with them to go over your application letters etc for internships. If you're not coming across well they'll tell you and help you improve, that's what they're for. The careers office will also give better advice about what kind of volunteering or extra stuff will be worth doing and should be able to give you a more accurate picture of the employment market. Knowing what you're up against always makes for less stress. The TLDU (or whatever it's called where you are) can also help with study skills and the like to improve your grades (or even just make getting the current grades easier) if you want to go that way.

For a better job go to student job search and become a regular. They may have short term or small jobs that will give you experience doing something different to cleaning and help you get a foot in the door somewhere better. Again it doesn’t cost anything, just the time to go try.

Lastly consider joining a university club of some sort. It adds that line to your CV and will help you meet a wider range of people. You'll probably find less snobbery in, say, a tramping club than in a competitive classroom.
posted by shelleycat at 7:14 PM on August 18, 2009

You are a self-made person. Adopt this view of yourself, not in a superior way or a chip-on-shoulder way, but squarely, positively, and matter-of-factly. Be proud of it. Others will be impressed.

As someone from a shitty rural town who practically failed out of high school, I can't second this enough. You have what a lot of your friends and colleagues don't: an interesting story, an edge, an element of surprise. Own this.

As for finding a way to apply your intellectual rigor, I agree that volunteering or working for a publication would be helpful to you, at least in the eyes of others. But don't be afraid to pick something that really calls to you, no matter how frivolous it seems. You're the one putting in the hard work on your future, you get to shape yourself into whatever you like. Stop worrying that people are judging you -- they're not.
posted by hermitosis at 7:26 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Stop measuring yourself against other people who's lives were/are substantially different from yours. Nthing the disadvantaged kid made good theme. Measure progress/success against where you started from instead. It's a lot easier to get ahead when you have generous family support (not just money) and other advantages. Aim for what you want, and count every step as a success while you're getting there. And don't give up if it takes a try or two to get along the path. Not everything works exactly as you want it the first go, not for anyone.
posted by x46 at 7:52 PM on August 18, 2009

A big hint that I learnt after leaving Australia. No one cares about what suburb you come from in Australia or NZ. No one cares if you went to private school or not. Outside of whatever city you're from people won't have heard of any of the suburbs or schools. This gives you perspective.

You will have an arts / law degree in 3 years. This opens huge doors everywhere for you. You can make very good money with it, you can work for international aid agencies with it, you can go and work in the public service and shoot up the ladder, you can work for legal aid or some very, very useful kind of legal assistance to the poor.

I've known people who have scraped by in law/arts in Australian Unis who now have careers that are better than most people who got great grades in other subjects.

As for now, well, keep at it.
posted by sien at 8:04 PM on August 18, 2009

What you've written about bumping up against the complications of studying on the university level with a working-class background--and I agree that you've expressed it very clearly--resonates strongly with the interviewees in the book The hidden injuries of class by Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb. I think you would find insights there, and at least take reassurance in the fact that you're not alone in going through what you're going through right now.
posted by umbú at 8:17 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Before I try and give any advice I have to admit it. I am one of those middle class kids who got everything handed to them. I didn't have to pay for the 2 years I spent in university and I left even though I didn't have to in order to become a ski bum. This is the caveot on my advice.

1) Lying on your CV constitutes as fraud which can lead to jail time and a criminal record in extreme cases.

2) Even if you have trouble speaking like a rich kid, you can emulate some of their behaviors. You can even structure your conversations like them. Try reading "Emily Post's Etiquette 17th (I think it's still the most recent) Edition". It's a comprehensive guide for proper etiquette for everything from job interviews to emails to weddings. (Skip the part on the weddings). If you still feel that the way you speak is dragging you down, try increasing your vocabulary (from what I read it sounds just fine BTW, it's just a way to make people think you're educated)

3) Appearance: Have short hair and be clean shaven (even a goatee or moustache is too much) No visible piercings or tatoos (some piercings can be covered temporarily by a bandaid). When attending your interview, dress a little bit nicer than you have to but don't overdo it. Basically, look nice but don't stand out. I know it's bullshit but it works

4) I'll bet you are capable of working *much* harder than kids like me. (I'm writing this at work) Get printed referances from your previous employers stating this fact. When in an interview, make sure they know this (without complaining).

5) Use your self-made status to make yourself memorable but whatever you do don't rip on the rich kids because that will just make you look like a douchebag.

That's about it. Just remember, you have something all that free money can never buy. You have more experience providing and fending for yourself than they do and every once in a while they will wish they were you.
posted by Pseudology at 8:34 PM on August 18, 2009

Don't be so hard on yourself dude, it's totally cool to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

It's so easy when you start hitting your early twenties, to see these over-achieving little bastards who seem on the road to entitlement with nary a thought that it's not the natural order. You find yourself nauseous, and simultaneously wanting to both become padewan to their jedi, and brain them with a text book. Guess what? They feel the same way.

Don't worry about it. Life, thank god, is not a race, and there's really no prize for success if it doesn't make you happy. If you compare yourself to others there'll always be people you're better than, and people you're worse then, but it's a pretty meaningless metric at the end of the day.

More concretely. Start volunteering. Somewhere you want to work, or think is interesting. Call, drop an email, let em know you're out there and are happy to stuff some envelopes etc. etc. Now is the perfect time to line something up for summer holidays. You'll no doubt get a few "thanks, but we don't have any work" but someone will respond with a yes. Go along, enjoy yourself. Don't expect to do 'important' work as a volunteer. Just do what they give you with a good attitude, and everyone will be happy. You'll make new friends and get the kind of cv stuffer that looks way better than great grades upon graduation.
posted by smoke at 8:36 PM on August 18, 2009

And don't pretend to be something you're not. It didn't work for Jay Gatsby, and it won't work for you. Be real; people love genuineness.
posted by smoke at 8:38 PM on August 18, 2009

Actually, Jay Gatsby was hugely successful. He was crazy obsessed over a woman and he was murdered in a case of mistaken identity, but he went pretty far from his humble beginnings. He just needed to get laid so he could get over his ex. Unless your point is, "don't lie on your resume or fate will strike you down."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:00 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The greatest lie ever is that there is a certain age when you should have everything together. I know plenty of happy, wonderful, well-loved people who are now in their 50s or 60s and are only now figuring out what their life path should be.

You don't sound like a type-A personality, and there's nothing wrong with that. You don't need to be accomplishing many things. The fact that you are succeeding in university is already a great accomplishment.

You are making friends. This is actually a very good indicator of future life success. Even from a purely mercenary standpoint, the people who are going to be successful are going to be the ones who are good at setting up meaningful relationships with other people, so this is already a good indicator. I can't personally relate to your upbringing since I was lucky enough to not encounter hardships like yours, but I had many friends with messed up backgrounds who were relatively poor, and what I noticed is that their outlook and friendliness counted a whole lot more towards how people treated them than their possessions or background. This may be different in NZ.

I suppose if you really want to fill out your CV you can volunteer, but seriously only volunteer in something you enjoy. You're in law and art, so maybe volunteer with a legal non-profit or a museum. If you can't get opportunities there, figure out activities you enjoy and find someplace that could use you doing those things for them, for free.

By the time you hit your third year, intern opportunities might pop up. These often won't pay but really are great for getting your foot in the door. Try to keep your expenses down now so that you can save some of the money you're making now to offset any lost income from switching to an unpaid internship for some of the time.

If you're feeling down on yourself, go ahead and throw yourself a pity party. Sometimes it is healthy to piss and moan in private or with a close friend, and gripe about your crappy life. Then, wipe yourself off, shake it off, and keep on going.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:03 PM on August 18, 2009

Great answers so far, I just want to add one thing.

While it is a Good Thing to be forward thinking and trying to develop strategies for how to better yourself and improve your lifestyle, take a moment.


You're a second year University student. You have time. You also have access to all the knowledge and resources of a University. This is a really special thing.

Soak it in. Enjoy it. Really, really sink your teeth into your classes. This can be an incredibly wonderful journey for you, and while it's good to plan, live in the moment too.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:19 PM on August 18, 2009

I just want to make one addendum: If you really want to be like everyone else, then by all means modify your speech and read ettiquete books. However, I would not recommend that path. Be yourself. If you want to have a certain speech pattern or mannerisms or vocabulary, do that because you choose that for yourself. Don't emulate the behaviors of others for their own sake. If you do that, do it because it's what you want.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:21 PM on August 18, 2009

Don't pretend to be something you're not, but don't under-sell yourself either.

A low-level cleaning job isn't wonderful, but, you kept it, didn't you? Presumably you turned up on time and all that? Didn't lose the keys, didn't get caught stealing or anything? You have a boss who'll say decent things about you?

I had a friend who worked with job-seekers and she could make three months behind the counter at Kentucky Fried Chicken sound like a lifetime's experience: there's "working to strict deadlines", there's "people skills" and "dealing with drunk and angry customers", there's "working in a hazardous environment", there's "cash-handling and banking duties"...

I don't know what stuff you've actually done, but I bet if you dressed it up a bit and put a good face on it it would look a lot better than "shitty cleaning job". So maybe get someone who knows you to help out and re-draw your CV in a positive light.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:23 PM on August 18, 2009

Don't spend another minute agonizing about your background or what kind of class you come from. It doesn't matter. It's not like you're living in the middle ages where if you were born a serf you were destined to stay a serf. You have a lot of opportunity and freedom. Your background is not your destiny. And, at a certain age, or whenever you move out of the house, your parents' money is just your parents' money.

Even though my background might be considered 'middle class', I put myself through university. I paid for everything, took out loans, took out multiple jobs, whatever I had to. They didn't help me financially. I took my first job at 15 by handing my resume to the owner of a gas station. Don't even think about lying on your CV. You can nail a lot of cool jobs (like the ones your friends have) by walking into the place you want to work at and handing your resume to the manager. Have a positive attitude. At this point, your negative outlook is holding you back way more than your CV is.

Why don't you spend some time learning a new skill? Pick something, anything. Learn how to woodwork. Like someone mentioned above, getting involved in community radio is a great way to learn millions of skills while meeting really cool people. Same with writing for the newspaper. Just do something with the focus on learning something new. Show up regularly some place and you'll make new friends in the process.

Don't give up. Figure out what you want to do, make small goals, and just do it. Maybe it's working in a retail store. Hand your CV out to wherever you want to work, be positive and friendly, and make it your goal to get whatever job you want. You can do it!
posted by Flying Squirrel at 2:02 AM on August 19, 2009

Your past is simply your past. You should be so excited about the future and unlimited possibilities. Here is an idea.. Once you graduate uni apply for a UK working holiday visa, move to London, be a bohemian, read and soak up the culture there, travel all throughout Europe (it is incredibly cheap with budget airlines), have exotic European romances, see the treasures of antiquity, and see the world. This will enrich you in innumerable ways and you will come back to NZ a man of the world!

(I left Australia 8 years ago and am still traveling!)
posted by avex at 6:12 AM on August 19, 2009

dude, I'm from *Mosgiel*

Heh. Your question struck a real chord with me, but I'm reading it after a whole load of good advice, so I don't have much more to add other than I was you, down to the starting university because I didn't have anything better to do.

The best advice is that *nobody* outside of NZ cares where you are from. I've lived in the USA for 9 years. People are hazy about where NZ is, let alone whether you went to Otago or Auckland or whether you grew up in Huntly, or wherever. (no disrespect to Huntly.)

I think also that people have identified a major thing, and that's not being aware of opportunities. And if you're anything like me, you don't want to push yourself forward (because you think you're not worth it?) Talk to career people, lay it all out there and say that you would like help to make your university experience and career track as productive as possible. They will be glad to help.
posted by gaspode at 6:39 AM on August 19, 2009

Don't overlook the fact you've got a community of tens of thousands of amazingly diverse people from all over the world backing you up, pulling for you, and giving you advice. When in history could you have had that kind of support? Go for it, man!

About CV: Don't lie.

About background: Where you were matters nothing; where you're going is all anyone is interested in.

About speaking: there are currently 244 Toastmasters International speaking clubs in New Zealand. There may be one or two close to you, and in my experience speaking practice will make all the difference in your comfort level in speaking to people regardless of accent. It's the content that matters as long as you're understood. Helping people be comfortable speaking is what they do.

About motivation and employment: Figure out what you have a passion for. This can be difficult, but it is essential. Make it a priority. Once you've figured this out, search opportunities to be close to that. Remember that you don't have to pick the perfect job or the perfect pursuit--just make it better than what you're doing now. Volunteering is traditionally the way people get past a lack of relevant work experience, and it works well.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:28 AM on August 19, 2009

Use your friends as connections, ask them to help you get a job or an internship.
posted by kathrineg at 12:04 PM on August 19, 2009

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