The Blade will feature periodic columns from area college students as part of our new Campus Corner feature. David Morin is a doctoral student at Bowling Green State University.
A college town like Bowling Green is not immune from the economic downturn, and it is especially difficult in the summer. Without the students and their disposable income, some shops have decreased business hours while others have reduced staff. Some stores that have had a hard time staying afloat throughout the school year may have to take even more drastic measures just to survive for the next three months. Whether you are a human resources manager with more than 20 years of experience or a graduate student trying to make ends meet, it is difficult to survive, much less thrive in today's economy.
I have a job, or at least I had a job. A graduate assistantship usually lasts for only nine months. From the middle of August until the middle of May, I can count on a consistent paycheck every two weeks. My stipend is not much, but it helps cover living expenses. Since August of last year, I have relied on my salary to pay for food, take my girlfriend out, and appease my landlord. I am thankful to Bowling Green State University for paying me for the last nine months for something I love to do (teaching), but for the next 12 weeks I will be without an income. Unemployment insurance is not an option, and since I don't have a trust fund, I must find a job.
I am not alone. In addition to the usual crowd of summer school students, today's job applicant has to compete against those with more experience and sometimes a more comprehensive skill set. How can a sophomore in college obtain a receptionist position over someone with a decade of experience working in the real estate business, for example?
Jobs are not easy to find, and even more difficult in a town like Bowling Green. It can be difficult for a small business to expand in a campus community, and the summer only makes things worse. A “hiring” or “employees wanted” sign usually attracts dozens of applications for just a handful of positions. It is an employers' market, and workers understand that to quit a job is to risk being unemployed for months on end. Employees, both students and nonstudents alike, have to postpone trips and other activities because it is not guaranteed that their job will be there when they return from a vacation.
A few days ago I was walking around Bowling Green and I noticed how fast the storefronts change. There will always be a plethora of bars and restaurants, but niche boutiques and shops sometimes have a short lifespan. It's a tough environment to make a living, and without a sound business plan, the next big thing in downtown Bowling Green will fizzle out in a blink of an eye. It is evident that the recent recession has not been kind to northwest Ohio. Jobs are scant and competition is fierce.
But there are pockets of inspiration. Recent graduates are finding jobs, and although it may take months, it is possible to obtain employment in your chosen field. It is in no way easy, but through education, networking, and luck, it is possible to find a job and make a living.
As for me, I am not picky when it comes to a job. I have done, and can do, almost anything. Do you want me to tend bar? I have done it. Serve? I have done that as well. Drive around an ice cream truck? I have even done that (it was actually a lot of fun).
I am also not picky when it comes to pay. I come cheap. I guess what I am really trying to say to anyone reading this is … are you hiring?