After Peace Corps: What Are We Doing?
Everyone is very busy. I keep up with the lives of my Peace Corps family even after Peace Corps is over. I watched several of my PC family members prepare for their GRE and even apply for programs to get their Masters. Many within the 20th China group actively worked to secure good opportunities for themselves once PC was over. I’m proud to see the majority of them end up in fantastic jobs, most of them out east. I’ve seen some of them accept jobs at DC’s Peace Corps headquarters, become program managers, consultants, and work for NGO’s. It warms my heart.
Why is it Important?
If you’ve joined Peace Corps, are about to join Peace Corps, or plan to join Peace Corps, I want to give you one piece of advice: always be looking for jobs or opportunities for after your Peace Corps service.
One of the things I didn’t do before I left Peace Corps was consider all opportunities for life after Peace Corps. I wanted to shoot straight to the top of the job market and get the very best because that is what I feel like I deserve. And I do deserve it, the only difference is this: I’m essentially entry level, which means I have to start at the bottom, especially being a writer with virtually no writing experience.
After my hiccup around going back to China, I started applying for jobs during my flight back from Thailand. I applied for over 300 jobs and internships between LinkedIn and Indeed. I was really shocked with how many opportunities were out there and how many I had never considered because I didn’t consider all options and I was too selective. I spent a lot of time building a decent resume and isolating what skills were valuable and relevant.
That being said, I was desperate to get a real job because I didn’t want to end up at a restaurant again to survive.
But guess what happened? I ended up serving at a restaurant. I’ll tell you why it’s a good and temporary thing.
Working at a restaurant means, I can replenish funds quickly, I can work nights and write mornings, it’s easy and requires very little commitment so that I can focus on developing as a writer, and it is perfect for me until the real deal job comes along.
Before I got my job at the restaurant, I also got an unpaid and remote internship working with the music promotional company out of New York called, PRO MOTION. For over a month now, I have been taken under the wings of PRO MOTION. I write 2-3 musical news articles per day and contribute my support for promoting dance-hall musicians as they rise to the top of the Billboard charts.
Over a month ago, when I started the internship with PRO MOTION, I had only 7 published articles under my belt, and they were from three years ago.
In the past month, I have added 40 articles to my online writing portfolio and I couldn’t be more proud or satisfied with this incredible opportunity to write. I have been broadening my writing styles and even learning valuable information about marketing and social media.
Although I am working at a restaurant, which I didn’t expect to happen after Peace Corps I am still writing every single day and I definitely call that a win.
In addition to my efforts with my internship, I received a few interviews with some people I never expected to get calls from including the NBA and Notre Dame University. These were the incredible opportunities I have dreamed of being a part of and I learned a great deal from the interviews alone.
Back to how this relates to life after Peace Corps.
Pro-actively look for jobs and opportunities even if you are 2 months into your service. Why? Because it’s nice to know what is out there for you once Peace Corps is over. It doesn’t mean you have to accept the job or find something better than Peace Corps and then quit.
By doing this, you will manifest a job of your desire in the near future, and you may not have to experience the unemployment gap like some of us do.
The skills you develop as a volunteer will be incredibly valuable to your future. If I had thought about it earlier, I could have been doing a remote internship right from China and getting that writing experience!
That being said, if the dream job doesn’t get to right away, have faith, keep diligently working to find a job, don’t give up, and stay positive. You will be found, people will recognize your skills, and everything will work out, despite the current situation.
Be thankful in the moment. Life after Peace Corps is intimidating but it doesn’t need to worry you too much.