Guest Post: Gwendolyn Heasley on The Post-Grad Experience

Guest Post: Gwendolyn Heasley on The Post-Grad Experience

Gwendolyn Heasley, Author Photo

Gwendolyn Heasley

Most of friends got “real jobs” immediately out of college, but I spent a year lifeguarding and selling greeting cards before I went back to graduate school for two years. By the time I graduated, I was 26 and ready to have a paycheck and a “real” job.  I wanted to know what it was like to dress up for work, have work friends and be an adult.  So I moved to NYC (with my Master’s in Journalism proudly in hand).

I somewhat naively thought that I could get a magazine job based on my educational experience alone.  I thought that by Halloween, I’d have a low paying job at prestigious magazine, my own shabby chic shoebox Manhattan apartment, and a life. But within my first week (it was October 2008), New York went into panic as the stock market crashed.  New York (and the US) plunged into depression over the economic crisis. And I did too.

Before the recession, my friends would tell me how terrible having a job could be. After the recession, everyone (everyone who still had a job that is) become completely grateful to hyst have a job.  It used to be that postgrads thought there was nothing worse than ending college and starting a job. But then everyone found out there was something worse: ending college and NOT finding a job.

After many months of difficult unpaid internships and long life talks with myself, I thought about going back to become a teacher. Simultaneously, I worked out my frustrations while writing a novel “for fun.” I was not trying to write my way out the recession, but that is what ended up happening. People related to the book and the heroine’s struggles in the recession, and it got published. A total modern day fairy tale. Now, I am working to promote my novel, writing a second novel, and teaching as well.   There were many difficult bumps on the road (and there still are sometimes), but I feel professionally fulfilled.

I would recommend all the postgrads out there to take whatever job is available to them- whatever comes closest to paying bills and loans! BUT I say that with caution. Just because you can’t get your dream job now- don’t lose your dream passion. Connect to others who have your dream job and ask to have lunch. They probably can’t get you a job, but they can give you advice. AND read book and blogs (or write blogs and books) that explore your passion. Stay connected to people who do what you dreamed of doing and also people who have your same dream. Taking a job that’s not in your dream field isn’t the end of world. And who knows it might even inspire a new dream.

Want to know more about Gwen? Well, check out her web presence:

Gwen’s website:
Gwen on Twitter:

Where I Belong, Gwendolyn Heasley, Book Cover,

Where I Belong

Where I Belong is currently available for purchase at recessionista pricing!

You can also check out my review here!

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I love your message. I’m not working in the field that I have my degree in, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that – it’s too easy to get caught up in the every day stuff that I forget where my passion really is.
    Heather @ Geeky Reads recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday 28My Profile

  2. I got my Master’s degree in August 2008 and already the jobs were drying up. My first job postgrad was doing data entry and cleaning medical equipment for a pharmacy. I was fortunate a few months later to get a temporary job in my field and then I was unemployed for eight months before finding my current job which I love. I count myself one of the lucky ones. During my time of unemployment I stayed in touch with my field (libraries) by becoming a book blogger and reading and reviewing books!
    Christina T recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday 41My Profile

  3. What a fabulous post! Even though times were tough, it’s kind of cool to see how Gwendolyn found her passion in such a rough time.

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