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By now, it goes without saying: The college graduates of 2009 had the extreme misfortune of graduating into the worst economy in decades. Not only are they competing with their fellow classmates for jobs, they’re also going up against professionals who should be further along in their careers, but are being forced to apply for entry-level jobs due to lack of anything else. This recession has taken the image of starry-eyed post-grads with their entire, exciting lives ahead of them and turned it into a picture of desperate young adults taking on part-time positions just to make some money. It’s incredibly scary and disheartening.
Why do I care so much about this unfortunate state of affairs? I’m one of those poor graduates—my four years at New York University ended in May. Up until a week before graduation, I thought I was the luckiest girl with a communications degree in New Jersey (maybe even New York too). Despite the terrible economy, I had managed to secure a full-time job with the small public relations firm that I had been interning at for the past year. As an added bonus, the offices were less than 10 minutes from my house and I was going to be making more money than I thought was possible in entry-level PR. What a surprise—it was all too good to be true. The company lost some important clients in a short amount of time, and they regrettably had to let me know that they couldn’t take me on full time. Gone were my dreams of Tory Burch flats, my very own iPhone, and an unreasonable amount of Juicy Couture.
I’m not writing this to make you feel bad for me for missing out on all those terrific things. I recently got hired at a terrific and exciting agency in Manhattan, so things are definitely looking up. Instead, I want to offer you my perspective—it’s an understanding and sympathizing one. I know there are many more of you out there just like me. I wanted to start my column on PR Breakfast Club called F.I.T.: Flack in Training, so I could take all the other recent college graduates (and anyone struggling in the industry) along with me on my journey to becoming a full-fledged PR professional. I spent the entire summer searching for a position in PR, so I have a lot to say about the process. Additionally, I’m hoping to learn a ton about the industry and my profession from my new job. I think it’ll be interesting to explore the unique position I’m in as someone who is entering the business at a time when PR is going through some major changes, including the growing importance of social media and the struggles of most print media. I’m definitely looking forward to writing Flack In Training, and I can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts and opinions.