The time period immediately after my May 2018 graduation was surely an eye opening experience. By officially becoming a college graduate and transitioning into a job seeker, I had to learn in real time the realities of what it took to gain full-time employment. I was preparing myself by making sure my resume was tight, my cover letter succinct and my portfolio impressive. Immediately after graduating, the job application process officially went into full throttle and many lessons were learned on the way. Things seemed promising early on but I knew this was going to be a long arduous process.
As 2020 looks to be a difficult year for those looking for unemployment, specifically for the 2020 graduates, I caught myself reflecting on my college and post grad experience. As someone that interned and volunteered heavily on campus and off, I always had it in my mind that I needed to come out of school with real world experience. I needed to not only tell people that I received a degree, but I needed to show them what I could actually do with one. Although my experience was strong, and I had achieved tangible results for the organizations I was interning/volunteering for, it was still extremely difficult for me to land that first job. I received interviews consistently, and as a strong interviewer, you can imagine how confident I came out of each one and how I let down I was after each rejection or radio silence. After the first few months, I began to doubt my value, my worth, my skills, my achievements. The constant fairytale story we are told of receiving a higher education to get everything we wanted in life felt like a lie.
The seven month process culminated in two tangible full-time offers, one was much lower than I could accept and they were “unable to negotiate”. The second offer was slightly better. At the time, I didn’t know much about negotiating my salary but I decided to do so, and ended up with a slight increase. Nevertheless, I felt proud that I pushed fear aside to negotiate for my first full-time job.
It never feels good to feel like you’re underpaid or undervalued, and it’s even worse when companies, organizations, and entities feel like they are doing you a favor or that you should be grateful. My single, “Pay Me What You Owe” reflects these sentiments. The song emphatically demands any employer to pay workers what they’re worth and what they deserve.
Due to career trajectories varying amongst individuals, I thought it would be interesting to hear from people who have done it, are doing it, and are just beginning the hustle of landing their dream job.
Beginning the week of July 6th, I will embark on a four week Instagram Live series titled the “Pay Me What You Owe Series”.
In this series, recent college graduates and professionals at varying levels will share their experiences and lessons learned upon graduating college, finding a job, negotiating their salaries, growing their career and more.
The only way for us to progress to the highest heights is to learn from those who have been there and those who are currently going through it!
Listen to “Pay Me What You Owe” by Agyakomah HERE!
About the Author:
Agyakomah is a TANTV content contributor. As a first generation Ghanaian being raised in New York, Agyakomah utilizes her cultural background and unique upbringing to create music that reflects her life. What she categorizes as ‘Afrofusion’, not only represents her West African and R&B/Soul blend, but the outcome of a fusion of different lifestyles, languages, experiences and generational stories that is highlighted in every part of her artistry. You can connect with her on Instagram: _agyakomah_