I went six weeks after graduation with no job offers. Not one. In that time I applied to about 25 positions across the East Coast. When I finally got one — hired on the spot — it was as a host in a new restaurant…which is not even remotely my field. But I took it, because I was bored and because I was running out of savings to pay for basic life necessities like rent and food. Not to mention my student loans. I took the job, with the private understanding that it would be a transitional, temporary thing to help me get by until I could find something closer to what I really want to do. (Full disclosure, I’m not entirely sure what I really want to do. But that is beside the point.)
Anyway, it’s 3 months later and I’m working 35-hour weeks (sometimes less, sometimes more) at this restaurant, where I have somehow ended up as the lead hostess/administrative assistant to both the general manager and the special events coordinator. I’m there 5-6 days a week — it was more in the beginning, I think my longest stretch was 16 days without a full day off — making $11 a hour. I’m good at it, I like my bosses and my coworkers. But at night and on weekends I’m still applying for other, more career-type jobs. Still no offers on that front.
…Enter a rep from the Literacy Lab, who finds me via the AmeriCorps website, where I still have a profile from back in undergrad. They send me a generic email, ask me to fill out an application to be a literacy tutor in Washington, DC. So I do. Think nothing further of it, because that is the way things have been going for me.
Then last week I get a call during my break between double shifts. It’s the rep, asking to set up a quick phone interview. We set it up for this past Monday evening. It goes well (despite the dodgy cell phone service due to a thunderstorm here) and she asks me on the spot to email her with my availability for a final interview. We arrange it for next Friday morning (eight days from today).
…Enter my boss this morning, who comes up to me and offers me a position as an official admin/office assistant. It’s essentially a management position, with a pay raise and benefits like free meals and a key to the office where I would basically be running the show in the mornings until he gets there. I tell him I’m very grateful for the offer, but I will need a few days to consider it because I have a final interview for another job next week (which I had mentioned to him in passing last week) and I don’t want to accept and then have to quit in two months to go to this other AmeriCorps position.
Assuming the best-case scenario and I am offered the job at the Literacy Lab, here’s a pros and cons list of both offers.
- pro: gets me to DC, which would make it easier for me to find another job/internship there once my service is over next year; great networking opportunities during and after my service
- pro: education award for my student loans at the end of my service; benefits are included (which I will need when my dad’s insurance kicks me off in November)
- pro: gets me back to working with kids instead of stupid adults where I have to smile even when they yell at me about parking meters
- pro: closer (if not completely compatible) with my desired field of IR/politics/foreign service/whatever
- con: I would have to move again on a very tight budget, to a city I’ve not visited for over a decade (semi-pro: I have friends there and family nearby)
- con: it doesn’t pay that much (semi-pro: I have a second, part-time online job lined up to start in September regardless of what happens with either of these)
- pro: a raise ($15 an hour) and more responsibility (but not so much that I would be drowning in it), with guaranteed hours and free food
- pro: it’s comfortable and secure and I could do it until I find a job in my field (someone has to call me eventually, right?)
- pro: I don’t have to move again for a while (since I’m living with a friend, my rent is insanely cheap) and I’m finally sort of getting used to living here; plus, Marie just moved to Philly and Marc is moving here in September
- con: I really dislike living in the suburbs and I don’t really have any friends around here (see my other post)
- con: I am terrified of getting complacent and stuck in an industry that I know won’t fulfil me professionally or personally…I didn’t go to grad school in the UK to end up in the restaurant business
So…what to do, what to do. Obviously I can’t give my boss a final answer until I find out the results of my interview, which wouldn’t be for another two weeks at least. However I don’t want to put him off for too long, because that’s rude and unprofessional. I’m at an impasse, with nowhere to go at the moment. And I hate that — I hate the waiting. I’d rather just make a decision and deal with the consequences and outcomes. But I cannot in good conscience pick one or the other without all the relevant facts.
I guess I’m going to do what I always do, for now, since I can’t do anything else.
Call my dad. And call my best friend. Maybe not in that order.