Applications in an Apocalypse

By Michael Young, Account Supervisor at Publicis Hawkeye

“Michael, please get out of the car and help me with your bags!” my mother screamed repeatedly after each of her trips to and from the trunk of her 2002 Mazda Tribute.

It was June 2012. I was 22-years-old. Loyola University Chicago and my graduation were a distant memory. I stared through the garage wall, jobless and without prospects.

At that time, moving back to my childhood home and falling asleep in my old twin bed felt as low as failure could go. The insult to injury was my parents (without even consulting me) had redecorated my room from heavy metal posters to something between Leave It to Beaver and stock photography. That first sleepless night was spent wondering what I did wrong in college while trying to find some familiarity in what used to be my room.

By most standards, my college experience was a success. I graduated with a strong, parent-approved GPA, found lifelong friends, and completed a number of internships. I even spent a year working for one of my guitar heroes, Mark Tremonti. It seemed like all the boxes “they” tell you to check were checked, and yet there I was. Diploma in hand but no offer letter to match.

I’ll spare you the emotional rollercoaster that was my summer and skip ahead to the point.

Three months, 273 applications, and five “mom pep talks” later and I finally secured my first job offer! For 24 hours, I was the grand marshal of my own parade around the Young household. Picture a crowd of thousands complimenting me on how I negotiated that extra $3k in salary and how I’d be running that company in no time. It was a sight to see…or at least to imagine.

It was September 2012. I was 22-years-old and employed.

A few years prior, my father told me that during someone’s career there are the jobs you need, the jobs you want, and the right situation. You may be lucky and get all three. Depending on family, money or whatever else life throws at you, you may have to make decisions based on necessity.

My father’s words are more relevant now than ever. Colleges and universities around the world are sending students home, and unemployment numbers have risen to record highs due to the COVID-19 crisis. Through no fault of their own, many students (just as I did) may find themselves jobless, about to enter a very tough job market.

To those college students or even those who have unfortunately lost their job as a result of economy, which card will you play?

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