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Judith Lyle, Young & Recessioned: From Creative Writing To Yeah, I Do Know The Difference Between A Debit And A Credit

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Today's installment of Young & Recessioned features Judith Lyle, a 28-year-old University of Houston grad -- she graduated in December -- who gave up her dream of being a writer for a more practical career path. That hasn't worked out as planned. 

The stuff that interested me was writing courses, creative writing. I had all these dreams of churning out novels left and right from my laptop. But I know a lot of people who have majored in English, or some sort of arts-related, liberal arts degrees, and now they're servers at restaurants.

My step-father took me under his wing and mentored me and told me to do business, do accounting, because it's so versatile and flexible that you'll always have a job. So that's what I did.

Looking for a job, everything is over the Internet. It's like, 'Don't call us, don't come by here.' If you do, it's weird. They just want to make sure your resume has the correct buzzwords in the correct order. There's nothing real about it.

I've sent out more than 100 resumes, and I've had five or six responses. I asked [an employer] how many people they had apply, and they told me more than 50 today, just for the one position.

The interviews that I have gone on have asked like, 'Do you know the difference between a credit and a debit?' Of course I do. Or, 'Do you know what depreciation is?' I wouldn't have a degree if I didn't.

I applied at a trash place. They picked up your garbage, and I applied to be an office manager. I've managed an office before. It was a one-person office, like the smallest operation you could think of. I got no response.

I'll be your secretary, I'll make your travel arrangements, I'll be your personal assistant. That's stuff I don't want to do, but I would do it.

I do part-time accounting, and when I say part-time, I mean like ten hours a month. It's with my step-father's firm, for a non-profit. I do all their books. But it's not paying the bills.

Money is tight for sure, it's extremely tight. But you just have to keep going. If I think about it, obviously it affects me, and I'll get upset.

I've tried to wait tables, but I'm bad at it. I've even thought about working at a garden or nursery, someplace where I can just water plants all day. I've thought about cleaning houses, really honest work. That's next, if I don't see anything in the next couple of weeks.

Got a tale to tell about being Young & Recessioned? E-mail Paul Knight at paul.knight@houstonpress.com.

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