David TubbsI graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2008. I was leaving school and entering one of the worst job markets in history.  

I graduated unemployed. I had spent months leading up to my convocation applying to jobs, interviewing, and generally doing everything I could to land my first job post-university. I would graduate only to find out a week later that my top three prospects disappeared. I didn’t lose out to someone else; the jobs simply were no longer available. 

There was no basement or old childhood room to fall back on. I was unemployed for nearly three months. I needed to work no matter what it was. I was able to hustle my way into full-time work running the back room of a bookstore. I spent the next 18 months underemployed. 

I was not the only one who experienced this situation nearly 12 years ago. It was traumatic both mentally and financially. Rather than fall into a state of complacency working paycheque to paycheque I worked on what I felt I was good at: writing. I wrote for online magazines on the side, making a little money here or there, but more importantly building a portfolio of work and leveraging the power of social media. I would eventually find my way into my first career job working for a start-up as a Social Media Manager. 

My career took nearly two years to get back on track. 

I’ve spent nearly a decade doing my best as an alumni mentor within the Faculty of Arts and I’ve seen the power of giving advice and connections to those not yet entering their careers. And, if you’re facing a challenging situation due to the loss of your job, don’t hesitate to tap into your network and ask for help. We’re all having a difficult time and the only way we’re going to get out of it is to work together. 

I forgot to mention. That first job I got with that start-up? The CEO was a Waterloo grad. I didn’t know it at first but there is power in our numbers. 


-David Tubbs, Alum and Associate Director, Executive Communications at University of Waterloo 


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