Required: 3-5 Years Work Experience

It’s on every job application–so, er, how do you get it?

It’s on every job application, entry-level or not, “Required: 3-5 years of work experience in a related field.” What’s a post-college grad to do? Work full time through college in a job we’re not yet qualified for? This dilemma, in my opinion, sums up the mid-twenties, post-college drama that seems to be slowly unfolding on my twitter feed and facebook home page.

Our anniversary this past weekend caused me to consider all that has been going on for the past year. Someone told me that if we survived the first year and were happy, still excited to be together, then that was a good sign for a long and happy marriage. I thought everything went swimmingly, so I guess that’s good. We’re still crazy in love.

But not everything went swimmingly. For us, and for our close friends in their twenties, the year came with it’s own messes.

We [my friends and I] are in our mid twenties. We have good educations from esteemed institutions of higher education, we are people of faith, we dream big, live within our means, and we work hard. But we struggle [to varying degrees] with unemployment, underemployment, finding health insurance at an affordable rate, we struggle with paying bills, divorces, life-threatening illnesses, falling-down-houses, broken families, broken churches, broken cars, and infertility. We didn’t know life was going to be so complicated or so hard.

Only a few of the aforementioned things apply to me. But, I can assure you, that to a greater or lesser degree they apply to all of the mid-twenties that I know.  I don’t know if we were taught that it would be easy. I think I was taught that it wouldn’t be. We keep waiting for the day when we’ll have the All-American white picket fence and a savings account. And while we wait, we work 2 jobs each, coach soccer, volunteer our afternoons, pay our college loans, and hope against hope that the smoke we smell in the car is actually the car in front of us, or someone burning leaves

I’m not sure what my conclusion is yet. I’m not sure if these struggles are things we will grow out of. Will we have two-car garages, 2.5 children, and life insurance by the time we’re 35? Maybe. But whether we have those things or not I know that we’ll have one thing by then: that elusive “3-5 years of work experience in a related field.”

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