What It’s Like in the Real World After Whitworth, and Some Advice to Go With It

By: Emily (Church) Michelbrink

I won’t pretend that at six months post-graduation from Whitworth I have my life together and that everything worked out exactly as I planned, because it didn’t, but in accessing where I am now, I’m okay with that. I think that’s something that needs to be said, even if Whitworth students (especially seniors) are reminded that it’s a rough world out there and post-grad life won’t be a walk in the park. While we’re told this over and over, a small part of ourselves holds on to the idea that it won’t be me. I’m freaking awesome, so of course I’m going to get into the grad school I want or get my dream job. Sorry to break it to you, but you aren’t the only awesome human being that exists in this world. Quite a few other people want the same things that you do and may be feistier about getting those things. You might not get into that school and you might not get that job your interviewed for and really wanted, but there are still millions of opportunities out there.

After receiving my “diploma,” shaking President Beck Taylor’s hand, and walking off the stage, I spend the next four months searching for a job, and I must admit it wasn’t the funniest thing I’ve ever done. I’m now at a job that I had never even considered. I graduated as a double major in English writing and Sociology. While at Whitworth, aside from my majors, I was also managing editor for this blog, got involved in Rock & Sling as a reader and non-fiction assistant editor, and was manager of the BELIEF program as part of the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement. I began my search out of college looking for positions that would allow me to work with non-profit programs or would put my writing and editing skills to use. So, where am I now? Microsoft.

I currently work in University Recruiting (UR) at Microsoft as a recruiting coordinator (RC). Basically, once Microsoft recruiters determine that a candidate is worthy of a first-round interview, I am responsible for making sure my candidates are able to sign up for an interview slot and that an interviewer (IVer) is available to conduct the interview whether they be one of our UR interviews or a volunteer from a specific Microsoft team, like X-box. We really like acronyms in UR, can’t you tell? I serve as the middle-man between candidates and their interviewer. I am the one they contact when the have questions or need to reschedule. My position requires lots of written communications, data tracking, and problem solving, which are skills I’d like to say that I really honed in on through obtaining my English degree. While this may not be the most obvious job to come from an English degree, it’s a good beginning and proves that English majors can make it in any field. I also know that this isn’t my end all position, but it does serve as a good beginning for me.

I knew going in that this job wouldn’t provide me with a way to practice the type of writing and editing that I really enjoy doing and aspire to do as a career, so what did I do? I sought out ways to explore my interests and build community with writers as kind of a “side gig.” I joined Odyssey, an online publication community, as a content writer. It pushed me to meet deadlines and think of new content every week, and now I have recently been promoted to contributing editor for my community. Frankly, I’m enjoying the chance I have to develop professional skills and experience working for a large corporation like Microsoft while still ensuring that I do the thing that allows me to call myself a writer: write.

From this process of finding myself after undergrad, the advice that I can offer to current Whitworth students, and perhaps anyone else that finds it applicable is this: while it may feel like you’re lost, you never know what opportunity is waiting just around the corner. I also can’t stress the importance of building relationships with people in your desired field and of getting involved in activities and experiences that will build your skillset for your desired job or career.

Emily Michelbrink (’17) graduated with double major of English writing and Sociology, with a minor in Psychology. She currently works as a recruiting coordinator at Microsoft, is serving as a writer and contributing editor for Odyssey, and lives with her husband and one-eyed cat in the greater Seattle area. You can go read her Odyssey articles here.


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