Personal Finance

Living and paying off school loans on minimum wage.

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  • Aug 14th, 2014 3:13 pm
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[OP]
Member
Oct 16, 2010
309 posts
161 upvotes
Toronto
florch wrote:
May 29th, 2014 9:42 am
You can't take rejection seriously from any job you were hoping for. Cast a wide net and take the best you can get on the day you graduate. Once you have a job, spend your free time looking for a better job with a narrower net - there's no point moving sideways. Apply, rinse and repeat. I don't see how you can help but move beyond min wage.

I have never had a minimum wage job since before I finished high school, and I've never been unemployed for more than a couple of weeks, during which time I worked harder to find a job than I did working 40 hours a week. ATTITUDE - yours sort of sucks. You have all these people on here pumping your tires because we all know you can do better and should expect more. Now go drink some cement and harden up (don't really drink cement, it's just an expression).
I may have a bad attitude about this, but it's incredibly difficult to not feel this way if all you've been facing from the job market is constant rejection. I don't doubt you worked hard, but you probably had some success early on and that justified to you to continue to plug through. If I knew that I was at least getting somewhere and making some progress, then of course I would continue trying to get an interview somewhere. But, after countless resumes sent and tailoring cover letters for each position and with no response, that's enough evidence for me that I probably have about the same chances of getting a job as I do of getting struck by lightning.

When I see the people around me are struggling to get anything but a minimum wage job, I know that my experiences are not some extremely isolated case as a few in this thread are trying to suggest. Given the above post, I'd guess you graduated in a skilled or regulated profession that is consistently in demand. For most university graduates, this is simply not reality and they could easily find themselves applying for thousands of jobs for years on end without a single interview being granted. This is just the new reality. I'm surprised so many in this thread are sheltered from this and appear shocked that university graduates are working minimum wage jobs.
Sr. Member
Apr 6, 2007
506 posts
59 upvotes
attire wrote:
May 29th, 2014 4:32 pm
I may have a bad attitude about this, but it's incredibly difficult to not feel this way if all you've been facing from the job market is constant rejection. I don't doubt you worked hard, but you probably had some success early on and that justified to you to continue to plug through. If I knew that I was at least getting somewhere and making some progress, then of course I would continue trying to get an interview somewhere. But, after countless resumes sent and tailoring cover letters for each position and with no response, that's enough evidence for me that I probably have about the same chances of getting a job as I do of getting struck by lightning.

When I see the people around me are struggling to get anything but a minimum wage job, I know that my experiences are not some extremely isolated case as a few in this thread are trying to suggest. Given the above post, I'd guess you graduated in a skilled or regulated profession that is consistently in demand. For most university graduates, this is simply not reality and they could easily find themselves applying for thousands of jobs for years on end without a single interview being granted. This is just the new reality. I'm surprised so many in this thread are sheltered from this and appear shocked that university graduates are working minimum wage jobs.
I never said it was easy, and it wasn't for me either. I sure as hell feel like I paid my dues, several times. Something has to give, and you may have to sacrifice something like where you live. Different regions of Canada have experienced this where their young people have had to move away to find work - Saskatchewan, Maritimes... Maybe this is Toronto's time. I know a family where a Uni grad is facing a situation like yours, but his 2 cousins are in High school or Uni and always seem to have a good job. Why does the older kid turn into a Stay at Home Son?

Your net isn't wide enough. You're smart, and you'll start at the bottom, but you don't have to stay there. I swept floors and went back to menial jobs during downturns. Have you tried a temp agency? Might get you a foot in the door while you keep looking for somewhere to apply your skills.
[OP]
Member
Oct 16, 2010
309 posts
161 upvotes
Toronto
arkroyal wrote:
May 29th, 2014 10:11 am
You are absolutely correct - welcome to the brave new world. Years ago companies were flush with money, the economy was good and a guy like you could probably be hired to operate excel and analyse numbers. Now it's all been automated by specialized software. The political science grad could get a job processing applications, writing letters, etc. Again - all automated. I won't even get into outsourcing.

So you find yourself competing with thousands of other grads....all with absolutely no practical skills and lots of useless academic knowledge. Woe is me. Guest what? No one can afford to pay you to learn how to do the job they are hiring you for. HR filters out your application because why would they bother taking a chance on you when there are probably 100 other perfectly qualified CS degrees applying?

You can resign yourself to failure and a life of misery by looking for a minimum wage job and toiling away for the next ten years. Or you can hustle and use your superior intelligence. Based on your education and experience, you clearly have the ability to make yourself extremely employable in a short amount of time. Learn a programming language that’s in demand, something used for mobile app development, big data, web development, whatever. Read the tea leaves and predict where the market is going. While you are teaching yourself in your spare time, also write software that you could send to someone to prove know what you’re doing. You won’t get hired by IBM off the bat, but there will be a lean startup looking for your skill set.. or maybe there won't. Maybe you'll have to network, meetup with enthusiasts first. If no one wants to hire you tell them you’ll work for free. And if that doesn't work, build your own apps. If you have to do all of this WHILE working a minimum wage job, that's fine. But to plan for 10 years of minimum wage.. what a waste of life and intelligence.

You have to hustle in this new world. The only thing that can't be automated or outsourced is creativity and ambition. If all of this sounds too hard for you and you just want someone to pay you to fill an office chair with farts.. then yes, you're F'ed.
Finally. You actually do understand the reality of the job market out there. It's incredibly difficult out there, and the good jobs are not nearly in abundance as they used to be. For every job, there appears to be 100+ qualified applicants that HR has to screen out by using filters and reduce the number down to a reasonable number that can be interviewed. Not too long ago, these software development jobs were in great abundance and there weren't even enough CS graduates to fill all of them up, which is where the math/physics/engineering people would fill in the remaining jobs. Now? There aren't even enough jobs for the CS graduates, so I could forget about getting anything software development at least for the time being.

I do plan to keep applying for jobs sporadically, keep my knowledge/skills sharp over the years, and pick up new skills on my own time. I just don't expect any of that will have any realistic pay off anytime in the next 10 years, so I'm not keeping my hopes up. Maybe I'll strike it big and get an interview, though at this point it seems more like a delusion to me than actual reality. That is why I'm mentally bracing myself to tighten my belt and prepare to live like what was described in the OP for the next decade or sooner depending on when I can fully pay my debts off. That may be considered worst-case scenario on here by many, but it's honestly not that and is the lifestyle for many university graduates out there, which something I know you're fully aware of.

Good and practical advice in the post, thanks.
Jr. Member
Dec 4, 2013
193 posts
15 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
KingKuba wrote:
May 29th, 2014 4:03 pm
50% of canadians make $15 or less...

A lot more than that have post secondary eduction.

There's no shortage of university graduates...who all have no real experience.

The few lucky ones will land a big job right away but there's only so many of those positions.

It will only get worse since canada does not invest in to the future or technology. Just thousands of graduates each year with no where to go piling up and more immigrants coming.

Only hope is most of these people live with their parents. A trend that is only going up.
I don't believe you, source?
[OP]
Member
Oct 16, 2010
309 posts
161 upvotes
Toronto
abulia wrote:
May 29th, 2014 12:42 am
Believe it or not I'm doing this right now (I graduated two years ago). Obviously I intend this to be very temporary, and I have had much better paying jobs since graduation, but I was unemployed for nearly 7 months. EI ran out and I had to take SOMETHING. It's true that it can be very, very difficult to find work out there. The job is somewhat related to my field but pays minimum wage because the company I work for is broke (basically I work for a company contracted out by BC Parks... the same job with Parks Canada pays $20-25 per hour, but I get $10.25...)

I'm managing to make payments on my loan only because my housing here is subsidized. Otherwise, I would have to go on repayment assistance, or make much smaller payments.

Take a minimum wage job but... put in every effort to get into better circumstances, don't accept minimum wage as your fate forever. I definitely relate to your situation though. It sucks out there.
Alexstrasza wrote:
May 29th, 2014 3:15 am
I'm in a similar situation, but I can't even find a minimum wage job. I would relocate to another province just for a job at Mcdonalds. University was a waste of time and money.

I understand exactly where both of you are coming from and the terrible situations you find yourselves in. Hopefully it will get better out there one day, but in the meantime many of us will have to make sacrifices and tighten our belts to get through this. Many people have lost their good paying jobs, and unfortunately it seems this trend is only to continue. They are lucky ones, seeing as there are many of us who will probably never know what it's like to have a good paying job. It's the new reality. The only thing that is really soul crushing about this is the debt and being unable to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time without working 60+ hours, but that's just the way it is I'm afraid.
Sr. Member
Feb 5, 2009
548 posts
65 upvotes
attire wrote:
May 28th, 2014 11:20 pm
I want to live in the GTA seeing as most of my family lives around here, and I want to be close by.
You want to work for the next 10 years at minimum wage to be near family? :facepalm:
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Oct 26, 2003
31108 posts
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Winnipeg
blai4754 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 5:20 pm
You want to work for the next 10 years at minimum wage to be near family? :facepalm:
op is probably depressed, if not, he should be
Penalty Box
User avatar
Aug 19, 2008
1924 posts
497 upvotes
attire wrote:
May 29th, 2014 5:07 pm

They are lucky ones, seeing as there are many of us who will probably never know what it's like to have a good paying job. It's the new reality. The only thing that is really soul crushing about this is the debt and being unable to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time without working 60+ hours, but that's just the way it is I'm afraid.

Instead of this "woe-is-me" tale about how your soul is crushed trying to find a job, why not go with self employment?

I'd suggest getting your realtor licence and selling properties. I realize you're broke, but it's not terribly expensive to get your licence. There's a great business plan laid out for low budget realtors - - as you would be - - from "Captain Ron". He's pulling between $200k to $300k in just his fourth year as a realtor. Surely you could make $50k following his model?
[OP]
Member
Oct 16, 2010
309 posts
161 upvotes
Toronto
blai4754 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 5:20 pm
You want to work for the next 10 years at minimum wage to be near family? :facepalm:
Right, because working at minimum wage in a city where I don't know anyone is a lot better than working in a minimum wage in a city that is familiar to me and where most of my family reside in? :facepalm:
Sr. Member
Feb 5, 2009
548 posts
65 upvotes
attire wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:18 pm
Right, because working at minimum wage in a city where I don't know anyone is a lot better than working in a minimum wage in a city that is familiar to me and where most of my family reside in? :facepalm:
I did not indicate you'd be working for minimum wage if you left Ontario. How bout working for more than minimum wage outside Ontario? How about broadening your horizon on where to work. Limiting your job prospect just to stay close to family and then complaining about it when you can't find a job. See where this is going?

And is not knowing anyone in a new environment that bad? Maybe that minimum wage job in a different province will open up more opportunities than GTA.
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Oct 26, 2003
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blai4754 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:28 pm
I did not indicate you'd be working for minimum wage if you left Ontario. How bout working for more than minimum wage outside Ontario? How about broadening your horizon on where to work. Limiting your job prospect just to stay close to family and then complaining about it when you can't find a job. See where this is going?

And is not knowing anyone in a new environment that bad? Maybe that minimum wage job in a different province will open up more opportunities than GTA.
fort mac
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Aug 14, 2012
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attire wrote:
May 28th, 2014 11:35 pm
I think many of you, who can't understand the truly unfortunate position many of us new graduates find ourselves in, are people who graduated many years ago when there were many good paying jobs or in a profession that is consistently in demand. Math is a great subject, but no employer is going to pay you for your advanced knowledge of real analysis and topology. The main options are either get a PhD and become an academic or become a math teacher. There are some options in industry such as operations research, optimization, cryptography, quantitative/mathematical finance, etc. but almost all of these positions typically require an MS in math at the very least and prefer a PhD. I want to do the PhD, but I am just too burned out for it right now.

I've applied for a lot of the software developer internship positions, and nearly all of them required a computer science degree. If you didn't have a CS degree, you're deemed "unqualified" by HR even if you can do the job. The reason is because HR themselves are people who don't have the technical expertise and knowledge to understand the required skills for the job, and hence, they need to go by the credentials rather than the skills. I go into this more in my other thread, so I'd recommend you read it.

I don't know why people in this thread are acting as if there are a plethora of 50K/year jobs that will pay people who simply have any degree. Maybe it was like this in the distant past, which only further strengthens my initial assumption that a lot of you graduated in a completely different time and economy. There are quite a lot of people with BA's/BSc's that are working minimum wage jobs. I'm not some isolated case, this is just the new reality.
honestly stop applying to companies so large they have HR in the first place

I worked for a startup finance company as a web dev in the old shoe factory in Toronto with no degree and even learned a little photoshop on the job. I could yell over the wall at the CEO and only 6 people worked there. regardless I was payed 21/hr starting rate

find a small company there are thousands who want your skills

apply proactively don't wait for job postings like everyone else
[OP]
Member
Oct 16, 2010
309 posts
161 upvotes
Toronto
blai4754 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:28 pm
I did not indicate you'd be working for minimum wage if you left Ontario. How bout working for more than minimum wage outside Ontario? How about broadening your horizon on where to work. Limiting your job prospect just to stay close to family and then complaining about it when you can't find a job. See where this is going?
The reason is because the lion's share of the jobs for people with my skills/knowledge exist only in Ontario. Every other job outside of Toronto either boils down to the resources/energy energy extraction sector or some professional service, neither of which are jobs/industries that I am qualified to work in. Despite that, I've applied for the handful of jobs out there that I could do and qualify for, and absolutely no response. They probably have an oversupply of people with my credentials in their own province, so there's no need to go through the expenses involved with hiring someone out-of-province.
blai4754 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:28 pm
And is not knowing anyone in a new environment that bad? Maybe that minimum wage job in a different province will open up more opportunities than GTA.
When you have the financial insecurity of a minimum wage job, I would imagine that it is. You are only one financial setback from being out on the streets. Without family as a safety net to help quickly get back your feet, you're essentially screwed. All for what? Banking on the vanishing possibility of getting one of the few handful of jobs that exist? In the long run, family or not, I'm much better off staying in Ontario.
Sr. Member
Feb 5, 2009
548 posts
65 upvotes
attire wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:55 pm
The reason is because the lion's share of the jobs for people with my skills/knowledge exist only in Ontario. Every other job outside of Toronto either boils down to the resources/energy energy extraction sector or some professional service, neither of which are jobs/industries that I am qualified to work in. Despite that, I've applied for the handful of jobs out there that I could do and qualify for, and absolutely no response. They probably have an oversupply of people with my credentials in their own province, so there's no need to go through the expenses involved with hiring someone out-of-province.



When you have the financial insecurity of a minimum wage job, I would imagine that it is. You are only one financial setback from being out on the streets. Without family as a safety net to help quickly get back your feet, you're essentially screwed. All for what? Banking on the vanishing possibility of getting one of the few handful of jobs that exist? In the long run, family or not, I'm much better off staying in Ontario.
Ok. Stick with that optimistic view. Good luck paying off that loan.
Newbie
Jun 26, 2014
2 posts
Etobicoke, ON
turkey9000 wrote:
May 29th, 2014 6:49 pm
honestly stop applying to companies so large they have HR in the first place

I worked for a startup finance company as a web dev in the old shoe factory in Toronto with no degree and even learned a little photoshop on the job. I could yell over the wall at the CEO and only 6 people worked there. regardless I was payed 21/hr starting rate

find a small company there are thousands who want your skills

apply proactively don't wait for job postings like everyone else
This is a good idea, but how would you find these startups?

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