Unable to find work after graduating from Georegtown University last year, Mercado decided to get creative. Armed with a master’s in business administration, she decided to write and illustrate a children’s book. And what was the topic? Her job-hunt nightmare, obviously.
"There were a number of times that I had come close to landing my dream job, only to get rejected after a number of grueling interview rounds," Mercado told The Huffington Post. "There were also a few times I applied for awesome jobs, only to have the company announce months later that the jobs were being pulled due to lack of funding."
After getting my master’s, I also had a few close brushes with dream jobs. But rather than write a book, I ended up (miserably) working as a barista for eight months before taking a slightly better (but still not great) job. If I hadn’t been freelancing at the same time, I would have likely been completely depressed. Luckily, my long-term freelance contract kept my spirits high enough to do well at Starbucks and in my administrative job that came next. That said, I still felt completely dejected, despite knowing how tough decent paying, full-time jobs were to come by in 2008 and 2009. Things have not improved much.
As a stress reliever, the unemployed Mercado decided to take up painting. She started creating episodes starring “Bunny,” a character that represented Mercado herself. Each episode was about the job search. After receiving positive feedback from other job searchers, Mercado used her experience in marketing and project management to raise the funds to self-publish.
Mercado says that “You Can Do It, Bunny,” is a cross between a kid’s book (think Berenstain Bears) and a funny kid-style book for adults. Not only has the book garnered some press – it is being sold in some bookstores, on Mercado’s website, and on iTunes – but Mercado was also able to find a full-time job because of the experience. In her current role, she is responsible for marketing and project management for a serial entrepreneur.
"This experience also changed my idea of 'success,'" Mercado said. "Creating this book has been one of my proudest accomplishments. I really believe that if your basic needs are taken care of, there are other things to be proud of besides how much money you make."
This sounds like a real cool idea to me. At the very least, it’s a productive use of an unemployed young person’s time. At best, it’s a creative way to tell an all-too-common story and make a few bucks at the same time. I have a feeling that my entire generation can identify with this tale, and others probably can too.
What do you think about “You Can Do It, Bunny”? Would you read a funny book about a job search? And do you know any recent grads having a tough time finding a job right now?