May 8, 2020
Graduating in an economic downturn
David Tubbs (BA ’08) struggled to start his career during the Great Recession, and asks alumni to help the class of 2020 as they face similar challenges
David Tubbs (BA ’08) struggled to start his career during the Great Recession, and asks alumni to help the class of 2020 as they face similar challengesBy David Tubbs (BA '08) Alumnus
I 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 startup as a Social Media Manager.
My career took nearly two years to get back on track.
DAVID TUBBS, Alumnus
I urge you, reach out to Waterloo’s alumni network and see how you can help.
Help me make sure this doesn’t happen to the class of 2020. We are going headfirst into another time of a significant economic downturn, this time in very different circumstances. We will make it out onto the other side, but during that time countless new graduates will be nervously waiting to see what their career prospects will look like. I urge you, reach out to Waterloo’s alumni network and see how you can help.
Be a mentor. If you hire full time, contract, paid interns, anything that can provide experience and a paycheque, don’t forget about those new graduates eager, willing, and able to be your go-to person.
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 startup? The CEO was a Waterloo grad. I didn’t know it at first but there is power in our numbers.
David Tubbs has been ingrained in the Kitchener-Waterloo business community for over a decade with marketing and communications experience in the non-profit, higher education and tech sectors. David is currently the Associate Director of Executive Communications at the University of Waterloo. Prior to his joining the University of Waterloo, David spent nearly five years at the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce helping businesses connect and grow with one another and four years serving in digital marketing roles in the tech sector. Outside of work David enjoys giving back to the Business & Education Partnership of Waterloo Region and Junior Achievement Waterloo Region, helping guide both organizations as a volunteer Director.