{ I Donít Have a Job }
Rehan Nasir

[After graduating in August from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelorís degree in mechanical engineering—after having spent all summer finishing coursework and submitting my resume online—I was still unclear about my future. So: I was in the same boat as about half of my fellow graduates.
   I spent the fall online—posting resmues, looking for jobs, and writing emails to friends for support. What follows are several discourses to my friend Adam. He was studying sound recording technology at the time and always told us heíd never get a real job after graduation. I figured it would be nice to comfort him with stories of a jobless, directionless engineering graduate.]

September 5, 2001
i don't have a jobHow have things been? After all that collegiate freedom, it figures Iíd end up in Lancaster for a while to look for a job. I was kind of hoping to have something in place by the time I graduated, but such is life. Since you asked about interviews, yes, Iíve had one. It was with a group in New Jersey that makes water treatment systems for pharmaceutical companies. It was nice talking to another mechanical engineer as opposed to a human resources person. But then again, that was about two weeks ago. What they need to do is just call me and give me a damn job.
   The place is up near New York City, which is the greatest thing in the world. Looking at the map, I think itís only about a half-hour from Manhattan. Maybe that would get more of my friends out to see me—knowing that a day trip to New York is a possibility.
   Oh, I finally washed the car, and it looks like the parents are keen on my painting my own room. Did I mention this? Theyíre on some sort of kick wherein all the rooms upstairs will get repainted and probably recarpeted. So that means that between aimlessly searching on the Internet for a job, Iím moving furniture. I would have thought four years of college would have gotten me a bit more, but hey, Iím not paying rent and the expenses are few and far between.Iím also very intrigued by this next stage of my life. Iím slowly coming to grips with the fact that Iíll never have to sit in another classroom, take notes, take tests, or study all night long.

Iíll be in touch,

September 12, 2001
Man, this sucks. I was talking to some of my friends from Pittsburgh whoíve never even been to the top of the World Trade Center. Have you been there? I went last year on that editorial trip to NYC, which was a lot of fun. I dunno. I donít really know what to think about all of this. I told my mom to wake me up early yesterday, and I turned on the TV when I was getting ready. At first, I thought it was just a fire.
   The most surprising thing yesterday was getting a call for a job. Yeah, this company down in South Carolina called to set up a time so I could fly down there. Itís a packaging company—another one that my dad knows of. Heís much more help than all those online places.
   That place in New Jersey still hasnít called. But after all this stuff, Iím not sure they will. Iím sure theyíve got bigger things to worry about right now, and I understand that. One of my dadís friends told me not to worry too much about the job. He said that, while I may be rejected time-after-time, it only takes one "yes" to make it all better.
   The painting around the house is pretty much done. So now itís a matter of carpeting the rooms. My mom was asking me about getting a retail job or something for a while just to keep busy. I donít think so. I like having large chunks of unstructured time lying around. And besides, theyíd want me to work on the weekends or something. Weekends are made for travel.

Trying to have fun,

September 17, 2001
Dear Adam,
I went to Philadelphia to talk to a headhunter-type fellow. I saw his ad on Saturday, and it said to call on Sunday. So I did. Seems like theyíre a little bit desperate, donít you think? But it was a good trip. He looked at my resume and offered a few changes that Iíve already made. He also told me that he was my "guy" and to remove my resume from the larger Web search engines. All right, buddy, Iíll take that leap of faith. So now what can I do? Iím just going to rely on him. Thatíll give me more spare time to do nothing.
   Iím a bit peeved because this headhunter guy seems like the way to go. And I should have thought of that much earlier, I think. It was a bit weird to see middle-aged men in the lobby as well, filling out the same forms as me. Hope that isnít me in twenty years.


September 25, 2001
Dear Adam,
So I had an interview yesterday in Connecticut with an engineering firm. And no, my headhunter didnít hook me up with it. Apparently, I had applied for it online a while ago and the guy called me. And yes, thatís the first time thatís happened. So that says a lot about the Internet.
   Anyway, I drove the five hours up to Connecticut to have an hour-long interview. They called me last week for a phone interview and during this one, in person, they asked me basically the same questions all over again. Fun. The one good thing was seeing their operation. I actually found myself saying, "Wow, this is pretty cool," a few times. I guess thereís an engineer in me after all.
   Also—you know how to make someone feel really special in an interview? You sit behind your desk and make it real obvious that youíre reading e-mail while the interviewee is answering some inane question like, "So, you live in Lancaster. Will you be willing to move to Connecticut?"


October 15, 2001
Dear Adam,
Well, that place in New Jersey basically said that after 9/11, many companies arenít sure what theyíll be doing. A friend in Pittsburgh, after attending a recent job fair, said the same. I can understand that, but itís not too comforting. I went back to Pittsburgh again last weekend, to watch the football game and take part in the homecoming festivities. Quite a lot of fun. I wish I could just get a job there, and make it socially easier.
   Iím trying to keep busy, so I donít think about how I probably wonít get a job until after Thanksgiving. And then itís practically Christmas, which is practically the new year, and well, I should get back to painting or something.

Still sending out resumes and resumes and resumes,

November 8, 2001
Dear Friends:
Hey everyone. Don't worry. Until I send the marriage e-mail—in several years, I assure you—I won't be mass e-mailing again. But I thought I'd let you all know that I've finally got a job working at CDI Corp. It's a company in Philadelphia, thatís doing consulting work in Marietta, Pa., near Lancaster, for Wyeth Ayerst.
   So that means I'm going to be saving money and living at home. My dad, who works in the pharmaceutical industry, helped me with some contacts who were looking for help. Iíd still be putzing around the house if it werenít for him.Oddly enough, when I begin work Monday, that'll be almost exactly three months since the end of the summer term in Pittsburgh. I'm going to spend my last few days of freedom shopping and getting myself a new cell phone.
   Other news includes the fact that my brother will be getting married, in Pakistan, in early March. So if anybody has any vacation plans, I'll have to say no. My vacation days are limited and already taken.

Do keep in touch,

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