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Dear Shan Tell ‘Em,

I am a 30-year-old woman that recently graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice.It has been over a year since graduation and I still haven’t been able to get hired in my field. All I am hearing is “we are looking for someone with more core experience.” Since I wasn’t a traditional college student at a traditional university, I wasn’t able to get an internship to gain any experience in my field.

I am getting very frustrated. How in the hell am I suppose to gain any experience? I am currently working at a nursing home just to provide for my children and I am not happy, but I have a family that I have to provide for. I want to go back to school to start on my Master’s Degree, but I am skeptical about doing so because I have one degree without working in the field of study and what will I do with another one.

I guess my question to you is, how should I go about getting people to give me a chance when I am a smart, educated woman with a lot of potential but no one is able to see it.

Educated & Frustrated

Dear Educated & Frustrated,

You’re in a position that many Americans are finding themselves in. Educated, of a worthy skill-set, but still unable to find work. While statistics show that the workforce is improving, it’s still not quite where it used to be. While the frustration that you feel is very much warranted, do not allow yourself to sink into the land of pity and discouragement. It’s a very dark and unproductive place to be that is difficult to escape once entered.

You mentioned that you have a degree in criminal justice. What do you want to do with that? Those who practice law usually obtain that degree, but it’s just a starting point for their career. They go on to get their law degrees because that’s what you need to successfully and legally practice law in the country. So you’re correct to want to pursue a degree beyond that of your Bachelor’s degree.

Also, you must realize that you are facing adversity. Adversity is simply a means of testing how bad we desire to obtain something. I’m not going to tell you to be thankful for the job that you have despite being unhappy. I believe that we all deserve to be able to do what we love regardless of circumstance. But I will say that just by being employed you’re slightly ahead of many.

Here’s what I’d like you to do. Consider ALL of your options. You have a degree, so you can get internships. No, they may not be at a prestigious top-tier law firm, but someone will take a chance on you. You can be what many call an “unofficial intern” or volunteer. People rarely turn down persistence and free work. Also, ask yourself, “what can I do to get closer to my dream?” There’s always something. The illusion of obstacles just makes it appear as if we’re defeated. But you have to know in your heart that this is just the beginning of what could be an amazing success story.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

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