Trayton White '08
I have been working on this blog entry for about 2 months, and it has taken a great deal of effort to finish it even now. For some odd reason, my post-graduation experience has been filled with events making me feel like I am on some sort of weird life roller coaster. For this first blog, I decided to include a couple of detailed stories of my adventures as a Wabash College graduate.
As a brief overview, the weeks between graduation and my anticipated start date at an office job were filled with a lot of activities. Immediately following my last final, I headed towards Tennessee to move my grandparents back to my hometown of Bluffton, Indiana. The trip had the typical hiccups resulting in a broken down semi, renting of two U-Haul trucks, trailer and a car hauler, and me arriving home two days behind schedule. In addition to helping move my grandparents, I helped move a fraternity brother’s stuff from Crawfordsville to Chicago–fortunately, this trip had no mishaps and was quite uneventful.
I also kept busy assisting my wife with the planning for our wedding, which successfully took place on June 7th in Panama City Beach, FL. My important tasks included stamping RSVP cards and sticking address labels on envelopes. In between all these other tasks, I decided to take advantage of my situation and do something I will likely never have the opportunity to do again–farm.
Every May, my dad takes about a week and a half off of work to help a family friend get corn planted in time so it will be ready for harvesting in the fall. They needed extra help this year, and I enjoyed having the chance to work outdoors for a few weeks. To begin, a farmer’s day is much longer than a typical day. I found it odd that I would be out at the field by 8 in the morning and would be over 3 hours late. I am not sure how this happens, but it has something to do with taking advantage of every single bit of daylight you can by foregoing as much sleep as you can.
During my month of farming, I learned that this lifestyle can be dull at times, but somehow can keep me captivated and unaware that I had been driving a tractor for 12 hours. Things break and you have to fix them. Machinery gets clogged and you have to dig out whatever is stopping them from working. And the rain comes… And it goes. I greatly enjoyed the time I spent in the tractor cab working the ground, waiting to get married, and start my new job.
Unlike the typical fairy tale, my wedding did not end with “And they lived happily ever after…” As I said before, I was getting married on Saturday, June 7th in PCB. My job was expected to start on June 16th. Doing the math, my wife and I decided to move into an apartment before we got married in order to get everything settled, enjoy a week-long honeymoon, and then return the Saturday before, ready to start work. The Monday before we got married, we moved into an apartment. Everything went great–we even went out to dinner to celebrate.
On Wednesday, I was packing for Florida and the honeymoon when I received what I would think is one of the worst calls a soon-to-be husband can receive: the company I was working for wasn’t going to honor my start date. Even worse, they could not give me a definite start date in the future. Here I was: a fresh graduate, about to get married, and no job.
The week before my wedding was very stressful. Not because of the wedding, but because I was in a frantic dash trying to get my resume to as many people as I could before I went away to the Smoky Mountains–far removed from any form of communication. Fortunately I contacted the Career Services department within minutes of receiving that unfortunate phone call. They were a tremendous help to me and offered up plenty of job opportunities that I had a shot at getting.
When I originally agreed to blog for The Graduate, I figured I would be providing funny anecdotes of being a newlywed and sharing stories about office life. I guess for now, my first entry will end with advice about how to handle being fired, laid off, or whatever else you want to call it.
My best piece of advice–be professional. On a couple of different occasions, representatives of my former employer contacting me about severance stuff have commented on my level of professionalism. Besides the big boost to the self-esteem, these compliments also mean that if I choose to attempt to again work for that company, I have not burned any bridges that would prevent me from doing so.
One might ask how you “be professional.” For a Wabash gentleman, this is easy and should come naturally. You are courteous. You don’t argue. You don’t yell at people–especially the ones bearing the bad news since they likely had nothing to do with the decision. You especially don’t “dirty rush” the company when you are talking to other employers. All these things seem like common sense when you read them now, but I can tell you it takes a conscious effort to prevent your emotions from getting the best of you.
As I am writing this, I am preparing for interviews with a couple of strong leads. I hope my next entry will consist of what I originally thought my blogs would be about.