Post-Graduation: Job Hunting while Feminist

By Rachel Dupree
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Congratulations to all the graduates wrapping up their college careers! I think I speak for most of us when I say, “Damn, that was ridiculously hard and I only feel enormously lost.” The transition period is rough. For those of you with jobs coming out of college, you probably feel a little less lost. For those still looking, and still fabulously feminist, it’s hard out there. From someone who is still job searching, I hope this list can help.

Personally, my bank account is not stacked. However, I’m lucky and privileged enough to have some financially stable parents to help a sister out. I know not everyone can say that. Still, as I job search, I have to make some strange and sometimes uncomfortable decisions. This is what I’ve realized so far:

First and always, mental health is important.

If you don’t know already, y’all are fab. You cried, you sweat, and you spent more than one night “sleeping” over in the library. You know the skills you graduated with. You know your abilities.

This is job hunting, not judgement day. You’re trying to find the right fit just as much as these hiring managers. Your level of productivity does not define you. The interviews you get and don’t get do not define you. Your education does not define you.

Capitalism sucks.

Unfortunately, capitalism puts a lot of power in the employer in determining a salary or hourly wage. As a rowdy feminist, it’s time to do your duty and take back a little power for yourself. My advice is to do your research beforehand and decide if what they offer is average and/or competitive for your field. If not, it’s okay to be honest and ask questions. That’s what an interview is for, right?

I’ve found the majority of the universe uses Glassdoor to do this. Glassdoor houses organization reviews from past employees, average wages and other neat things for you to compare corporate cultures and salaries. Get that interview, and go in armed with some knowledge.

Resume struggles are real.

I have some pretty radical things on my resume. I was a student activist and interned at the Feminist Majority Foundation for a summer. I’ve talked to a lot of people and they always ask me if it stays on my resume when applying for corporate jobs.

I’m uncomfortable to say that these items sometimes disappear, but for me, it’s time to own it. I learned some serious skills being a rowdy feminist and I shouldn’t be afraid to express that to an employer. We shouldn’t be ashamed for listing our professional experiences.

However, as always, this is a choice that you’ll need to make based on your financial situation and how immediately you need to take a job. I recognize that it might take me a while to find the right organizational fit, but I have a lot of luxuries in this world. For those that can, though, I encourage you to own your resume.

 

Moral of the story: Know your values

One of my professors gave me the best advice for job hunting. She said, “Never go against your own morals. You should proudly campaign for your organization, or not at all.” As a feminist, that’s some bold advice. I’m mad at least 80% of the time at some political or cultural nonsense. How do you expect me to not question the status quo, even at my place of employment?

However, the point is to find organizations worth working for and worth bettering. Ultimately, that’s what employers want— someone who asks questions and who can improve operations.

If you have to take a job outside of the realm of what you want, find the values in the organization that align with you. Is that hard to do? Try thinking about the places this job can take you, and know that you’re taking this time to develop yourself for the causes you care about. If you still can’t shake that gross feeling, and you’re in a semi-financially stable situation, you should decline the job offer. Honestly. You deserve to be happy and your employer wants someone who can do the job. It’s not the right fit.

My professor’s message has really become a point of ethics for me, and will probably get me called a dirty millennial scoundrel later, but whatever. The fact is, choosing not to take a job (if you can) is not an act of entitlement. It’s good business. Not only do you deserve to be happy at the place you work, your employer deserves a happy employee—or at least wants one. So don’t let the boomers get you down, friend.

These are just the lessons I’ve learned, and I’m sure I’m going to realize a lot more as I go through the motions. After all, I have five months until student loan payments start… Good luck out there, Feminist Fam!

 

By Rachel Dupree

Rachel is a recent graduate of Drake University who studied International Relations, Global Public Health, and PR. She was a Summer 2015 Global Rights intern at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has a lot of opinions and feelings.

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