ATHENS, Ga. (WRBL) – Autumn Venson-Roscoe planned to spend the summer applying to jobs and preparing for her upcoming move to California. Now that coronavirus-related shutdowns have brought her job search to a standstill, Venson-Roscoe is concerned that her career goals could be put on for the foreseeable future..
Venson-Roscoe, 22, graduated from the University of Georgia in May. Instead of celebrating with fireworks in Sanford Stadium, she watched UGA President Jere Morehead’s video commencement speech and had her name printed in the digital graduation bulletin.
“My graduation felt very mild compared to the hardship of earning a four-year degree,” Venson-Roscoe said.
Now, Venson-Roscoe’s chief concern is her impending cross-country move. Her fiancé, Rayshawn McCall, accepted a job offer from Amazon’s Irvine, California office in 2019. In January, Venson-Roscoe and McCall began planning their move and scouring job listings for possible positions for Venson-Roscoe. Initially, many of her applications were rejected due to her location.
“Most of the callbacks ended after I told them I wouldn’t be relocating until August, which made me pull back from applying until a month or two before the move,” Venson-Roscoe said.
She planned to quit her part-time position at Plato’s Closet, a secondhand clothing store, in April and completely focus her efforts on her job search.
“You often hear the joke that applying to jobs is a full-time job, and I planned to devote my full efforts to applying,” Venson-Roscoe said. “However, COVID-19 abruptly changed those plans.”
Venson-Roscoe first began to worry about her job prospects when UGA transitioned to online instruction and halted on-campus operations.
“Once UGA shut down, I knew this might be a long-term issue. I knew that job hunting would be so much harder with everything shut down,” she said.
As shelter-in-place orders dragged on and many businesses remained shuttered, Venson-Roscoe noticed a drastic decrease in updated job listings. While she hoped to obtain an entry-level public relations position at a small firm, she expanded her search to include larger firms and entry-level jobs in other fields.
“Seeing the halt in positions and the extremely competitive job market, I’ve begun to apply to more attainable positions and positions I might not have considered before,” Venson-Roscoe said.
Still, most of her applications have been rejected. Venson-Roscoe often receives notices that companies are no longer looking to fill positions, and several companies have notified her that they have halted their hiring process due to coronavirus concerns.
Venson-Roscoe and McCall are increasingly worried that Amazon will delay McCall’s start date, interfering with their budget and moving plans. They are also struggling to find housing, concerned that a delay in income might leave them unable to pay rent.
“The pandemic has added an extra layer of anxiety. I’m unsure about how a lot of things will play out, such as how I’ll find housing, how Amazon will handle the shutdown, and when California businesses will be back in full force,” Venson-Roscoe said.
Even as she combats constant uncertainty, Venson-Roscoe is hopeful for the future.