Drowning Slowly (The Millennial Trap)

As I wait for responses from the queries I’ve sent, real life continues to happen around me. There’s laundry and groceries and the occasional shift at the bakery. It’s nice to distract myself by diving into my writing, starting up on other half-formed manuscripts. But, I can’t always ignore reality and I certainly can’t ignore what’s happening.

I graduated from my Master’s program in May. It was a crowning moment for me, a monumental achievement as I walked across that stage in my polyester cap and gown, the one with the wizard sleeves. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt, ready for the next stage of my life’s journey. Namely, a job.

That’s proving to be problematic.

I’m in the same exact boat I was so desperate to avoid two years ago. And now, like so many of my peers, I find myself adrift, over-educated and underpaid. I’m slowly bleeding funds, but surely enough. It’s like that story with the boy and the dike, his fingers jammed into the cracks to hold back the sea. It’s effort against inevitability, and I’ll be drowning at some point.

I’ve sent out something like fifty applications at this point. Most I’ve qualified for. Some, not so much. So many are tacked on with that dreaded phrase “One to three years of experience” that has my stomach knotting. Because I don’t have that. I was in school. I was writing research papers and proposals and engaging in class discussions. And, even if I wasn’t, I certainly didn’t have that experience when I graduated from undergrad. 

This isn’t a groundbreaking story. It’s not particularly new and it’s not particularly exciting. It’s the story of so many other twenty-somethings, desperate to keep the ocean at bay and breathe a little while longer. I just hope that, one of these days, I’ll find my head above water.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at renmartinez.com or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

3 thoughts on “Drowning Slowly (The Millennial Trap)

  1. I really understand this. I graduated college a year ago, and this is why I debate whether or not I should go to graduate school. Either way, I’m still only bar tending right now! Feeling deep in a rut. Nice post!

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