It's Been A Year Since I Graduated And I'm Still Working A Dead-End Job

by Danie Menke

One year and three months later, I am still sitting behind the same desk and answering the same phone I have been answering for the last two and a half years.

I have fallen into the worst trap a "recent" graduate can fall into; I'm stuck and I'm too comfortable. I have used just about every excuse possible: "I'm just trying to pay off my loans," "I don't have any experience," "I don't want to commute," "I'm just enjoying not having to go to school"... The list can go on.

Even worse, many of my friends are in the same boat as me. We're stuck in the same town doing the same thing many of us have been doing since we started college.

At my current job, I have a set schedule, I work with the same coworkers and managers I have for years and I have developed great relationships with them. So by comfortable, I literally mean that I'm not uncomfortable.

However, my job isn't 100 percent stress-free. I know I could be making more money in a field that I studied for in the long run and I am very much ready to move on. So every day that I put on my uniform to go back to the same job, I ask myself, "Why the hell am I still here?"

Why is it that we spend at least two years in college to receive a degree that costs thousands of dollars to achieve and then stay at the same dead-end place that we have been working? It's easy: We're scared of the unknown.

It's terrifying for a person with very little to no experience to apply for his or her dream job, or even worse, to apply for an entry-level job that will be paying less than he or she was paid before.

In 2011, Rutgers University released a report entitled, "Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle In A Troubled Economy."

In the study, 517 respondents were surveyed, and "30 percent said their jobs were not very closely related or were not related at all to what they had studied in college.

For 27 percent, the first job was 'just a job to get you by.' And 40 percent said their first jobs didn't require a college degree."

Think about it: Why leave a job you do well at and know like the back of your hand for a new job that may or may not work out?

Whatever you choose should be worth it in the end. Last year, I would wake up early in the morning to commute to college for classes, and every evening when classes were over, I'd commute straight to my job. It's the same part-time job I still have now.

When I think about how little I have progressed since graduation, I can't help but feel like I've done nothing but waste time.

I've wasted over a year at a job that worked well for me because of the evening hours when I was in college, but is not working out for me now that I have the time and skills to get started in my field of study.

I want to be a kick-ass magazine writer who covers everything from celebrities to real life events, and I know I can't get there by answering the phone and directing calls to the next available manager at my catering job.

So from now on, I am going to wake up with an objective to just do better. Yes, I want to pay my student loans on time every month, and yes, I still want to be able to afford to go out every once in a while, but I'm ready to start thinking in a more realistic way.

I have decided that there is no way that I am going to let those all-nighters in college go to waste. So I'm done with making excuses; I'm ready to get myself together, put myself out there and just try.

I'm ready to wake up and only have to ask myself, "What should I wear to kick ass in today?"

Photo Courtesy: NBC/Fresh Prince of Bel Air