Remember That Time You Graduated College Without a Clue?

#TheStruggleIsRealGirl Power

After graduating college the world is your oyster. You can go where you want and be whoever you want to be. It’s as easy as packing up and moving to the city of dream, right? That’s my plan. A fresh college graduate still living out her early 20s, I’m packing up and taking my dreams to Chicago.

By Chicago, I actually mean a suburb. While I am searching for jobs over a wide radius, it pales in comparison to looking for work all over the country. In my last post here, I discussed how everyone around me seems to have wedding fever. Considering my skepticism as to whether or not getting married so early is wise, the reason I am limiting my job search to a specific area is love. Yes, my friends, my heart lives in the suburbs of Chicago. If it didn’t, you can bet I would be aiming to live in the heart of the city.

While I am not ready to marry, I am apparently ready to make life-altering decisions based on love. My wiser 30-somethings can tell me whether or not that is a good idea. I’ve rationalized my love life. We’ve been together for over three years and both share the burden of our long distance (I’m in Iowa). They do say that love is blind, and I admit, I am stubbornly insistent on finding employment no more than an hour drive from where he lives or where he works. Luckily, he works an hour away from where he lives, so this is actually a pretty big area.

Although I only graduated a month ago, I find myself frustrated over the job search. As I plan on moving out to Chicagoland, job or not, the career search has been very stressful. Nothing has made me doubt my choice of major more than graduating. I’ve actually written about how there are plenty of opportunities for me. Low and behold, I put on a gown and walk across a stage. Now, I struggle with doubt.  I do have a gig over the internet earning me about $400 dollars a week. Surely that will be enough to afford the smallest apartment. Being near the jobs I want will certainly give me a better chance at actually getting one, right?

I could go on about how this is a flawless idea, but the truth is, I have already seen the error of my ways.

In all my rush to move out of my college town and into the city of my dreams, I am working my butt off. There are a lot of initial expenses I have to consider. My pay is only so-so, meaning I’ll have to work long hours to pay rent. During the summer, I planned on working 40 – 50 hours a week to get used to the amount of work I will have to be doing.

Let’s look at this another way. I am spending 40-50 hours a week doing something other than looking for a job. I am planning on being stuck with that work load or else I won’t be able to pay rent.  How can I ever expect to find a job that way?

Much to my dismay, I saw the flaws in my plan. I don’t want to be like the majority of college graduates who move back in with their parents, but that is where I’m headed. With my original plan, I would move to the city of my dreams, spend all my savings and return to my parents house with my tail between my legs. It is with a heavy heart that I admit, I cannot do everything. The world isn’t quite like an oyster. It’s more like trying to catch a snapping turtle. You can do it, but it will require hard work, risk and maybe a few injuries here and there.

Admitting to myself this is the right course of action, I have now cut my hours of work and put more attention on finding my career. The more jobs I apply to this summer, the more likely it is I won’t have to move back in with my parents.

With that said, who knows how long it will be before I find the job of my dreams.

Here is the part where I humbly request my dear 30-somthings to bestow upon me knowledge beyond my years. If I have my heart set on a career in Chicagoland, is it better for me to move their right away or to sit in Iowa until I get a job offer? Am I making a mistake in limiting my job search to the Chicago area? Any advice on how to land a job in this economy?

Guest Post: Tonya Vrba

Tonya Vrba is a passionate writer. Her work has been published in newspapers and blogs. She writes frequently about health, career and dating issues. Tonya currently writes with Online Dating Sites. Learn more about her work at her personal website.

Dirty and Thirty


  1. It took me six years get out of college. I was 25 when I graduated. I lived at home for three years after college. I moved out to LA after that, I have been out here for six years. About a year ago it was do or die for me, either cut my self off from parents financially or move back to Cleveland from LA. I couldn’t go back to Cleveland. I waited until I was 33 to do it. I am a late bloomer. I needed to get on with my life because my dad was very honest and said, “Adam, I am going to be dead one day, you gotta figure this out for yourself.” Yes, I will be honest, I it has been a rough year, and I have asked Stuart and some of her friends to hold my hand along the way. You know who you are and thank you. In the end I am glad I am here, I look at it like going to the moon, I have had a couple of Apollo 13 style, “Houston, we have problem.” moments. I am at the point where I am orbiting the moon, just waiting on the go-a-head from Houston. So light that candle and hang on. 🙂

    • Tonya says:

      Believe me, I’m holding on. I can’t wait to finally find employment. I’m amazed at how frustrating the job search has already become. Luckily for me, I also have a number of friends who I can lean on for support when I need it. Thank you for reading.

  2. Tonya says:

    I have great news! I won’t be moving in with my parents after all. I got a job offer! For now, it’s a 3 month internship, but if they like me enough it has the potential of being something more. Here I go on my road to real adulthood. Wish me luck.

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