A College Degree & an Uncertain Career Path
May 13, 2011
When I graduated college I was still only 21. I didn’t embark on a road trip. I didn’t back pack through Europe either. I took a job in June at a regional insurance company. I got the gig by a career fair held that spring at my university. I had no idea what an underwriter was or what I would be doing. Needless to say I was very disappointed. The first days were very uneasy. I was the youngest person in the office by about 25 years. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or relate to about my experience. All of my co-workers thought I was very young, and I was really young.
I took the position because I really did not know what I wanted to do post college. I thought the pay was fabulous and I jumped on board. I went shopping and bought myself a professional wardrobe only to find out that everyone would be in khakis and wrinkled shirts in their cubes. I wore all of my goods anyway. I felt that I needed to be excited for something in the morning.For the first couple of months I was in training, which consisted of reading books. I really didn’t have any interactions with any customers or co-workers for that matter. The woman assigned to be my mentor was my one saving grace. She was classy, smart and fun. I did learn things from her that I wouldn’t take back.
The one good experience was going up to Boston for a month and meeting all of the other trainees in the country. I related to them much more and I had a good time. Although I was apathetic to insurance and everything I was learning, it was good for my spirit at the time. My roommate was from Georgia. She was fun and hated insurance too. So we instantly bonded.
I was not very happy with this job. It didn’t help that all of my co-workers were telling me to run as far as I could from insurance. I wish I listened to them that September. It took me another seven years until I decided to go back to school and make a career change.I graduated Rutgers in 2003. At the time the economy was just recovering from the economic downturn after Sept. 11. I don’t think it was the best time for a new graduate, but it certainly wasn’t the worse. The graduates now are in much more trouble than I was. I feel bad for them because they are going to have to take whatever they could get. I took the highest paying job I could get, not knowing that money wasn’t everything. These grads are really going to have to take anything, even a really low paying job that they aren’t even interested in. I wouldn’t want to be in their position but I would love to be in my position eight years ago knowing what I know now.
—Dana Marie Skrocki is a Jersey girl in transition. After graduating from Rutgers in 2003, she pursued a job in the insurance industry and was laid off in June. She's now pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling full time.