Young & Recessioned: Jason Jeansonne -- An Engineering Degree Gets You Work At A Movie Theater

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Today's installment of Young & Recessioned features Jason Jeansonne, a 24-year-old Texas A&M grad whose engineering job didn't work out as planned.

I got this job at an engineering company back in October of 2008. That was before any of the real bad financial stuff happened.

I got hired on to start after I graduated in January. They were like, 'Oh, we have all this work to do. We're expanding the company.' It looked really promising, so that's what I went with.

When I started, there was just no work to do. The projects they had talked about all got cancelled. I was basically reading training manuals.

I kind of went to work, surfed the Web, but there was no work coming in.

We had a round of layoffs in March, and they called us into a big meeting and talked about what happened. They said at that meeting that this was it, they didn't do layoffs, this was a once in a lifetime thing and not to worry.

I was laid off a month later.

It was a rough experience. I was pretty depressed. I had really planned to stay with this company, to make it work out.

The whole time I was in school, they always told us that now was the best time to be a chemical engineer. There was the whole baby boomer generation that was going to be retiring.

I started looking for engineering jobs, but there weren't a lot. At all. After a couple of weeks, I started broadening it pretty wide. I'm a chemical engineer, so I started looking for lab jobs and anything kind of related to chemistry or anything related to chemical engineering.

The first three or four months, I didn't hear anything from anyone I applied to. Zero response. Near the end of the summer, I got some real interviews. Most of them were from lab jobs. But I'd get down to the final couple of people, then just not get it.

I started working as a projectionist at the movie theater, as just a minimum-wage job, just to get some kind of income. I had been called back from Target and a couple different places, but Cinemark just accepted me first.

I had been working at a movie theater since high school, so it was pretty depressing to graduate from college then go back and do what I had been doing in high school. It was motivation to get something better.

I got a job at Exxon, and I'm working there right now. I'm not doing engineering work, but I'm a technical writer there. I'm writing training manuals. It's a good job, and I'm happy with where I'm at. It's something I could see doing long-term.

It is rough out there, and it took me almost a year. But as long as it can be bad, it can also turn around just as fast, and you can be back in the saddle again.

Got a tale to tell about being Young & Recessioned? E-mail Paul Knight at

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