Yelena Shuster graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in May 2009. Sometimes, she can afford underwear.

Over the years, she’s written political features for The Moscow Times, celeb-studded party reports for New York magazine, and tongue-in-cheek personal essays for HuffPo.  (See more resume fodder and my portfolio.)

Her parents in San Francisco want her to get a job or go home still want her to go home.

10-year (!) update: Yelena now runs her own business as a copywriter and Admissions Essay Guru. If you’re looking for a college essay editor, she helps edit student admissions essays, resumes, waitlist letters, and more at TheAdmissonsGuru.com).

If you too are Ivy leagued and Unemployed (or just want to schmooze), please share your thoughts (rants, haikus,  letters of complaint) here.

43 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Yelena,

    Wanted to let you know about a phenomenal resource I think your readers would find interesting – I recently launched a website called Urban Interns (www.urbaninterns.com) which connects small businesses, entrepreneurs, and other employers with people seeking PT jobs and internships, local and virtually. It’s free for job seekers to post their profiles and apply for jobs thru the site. We’ve been featured in WSJ, Crains NY, BusinessWeek, etc. Let me know if you want to hear more – would love to spread the word to your community!!!


    Lauren Porat

  2. Perhaps you and your readers will be interested in my group – the Forgive Student Loan Debt Movement?

    I am the Promotional Writer and Dir. Of Social Media Marketing, and wanted to share here. . .

  3. Just stumbled upon your site — great stuff. I represent The 405 Club — hopefully you’ve heard of us? If not, we’re the unemployment support network that’s based in NY, hence the $405/week reference for our namesake. Let’s chat! Drop us a line at 405club@gmail.com or find us at http://the405club.com.

    Talk soon!
    The 405 Club: $405/week but rich in talent!

  4. Came accross your blog, and yes, I can now carry my head a little higher knowing I am part of group of intelligent, unemployed wanna-be workers. Like your tag line says, its not me, “its the economy stupid”

    …maybe we should start a union.

  5. Hi
    We where decimated as a family by the recession and are now just getting back on track. Keep up your blogging and freelance submissions and you to will get back on track. In our case it was a completely new track at jobs way below our old pay-grade but its a JOB. You may want to consider changing what track you are aiming for; it turned out to be the best thing for us. Who knows it might turn out the best thing for you. Just a thought.
    Good Luck

  6. Ditto here- thanks for writing this blog. Ivy League=expensive in most manager’s minds… it’s tough to get started when you just want to get working and get your hands dirty (metaphorically of course!)

  7. I’m a freshman at Columbia right now, and although it’s still acceptable for me to be unemployed, all my friends clamoring for any available internship this summer make me thoroughly enjoy this blog.

    I want to graduate and be Ivy Leagued and unemployed, just like you– all of those I-Bankers and consultants have jobs, but they don’t have cool blogs.

  8. You’re ridiculously witty and fabulous. Thank you so much for doing this!

    I got my Master’s from Columbia last fall, and I’m happily blogging now. Support group?

  9. Thanks for the great site Yelena.

    Hate to moan about employment after a degree from a great institution, but I’ve faced a similar situation about a decade ago. I muddled through over the years, but life hasn’t been quite as smooth as I would have hoped. Likely a product of poorly managed expectations.

    That said, Career Services was terrible then. The alumni affairs PR crew claim great improvements, but I have my doubts. They seem to focus a bulk of their resources on placing a hand-full of people at banks and consulting firms. While these are great places, a great many more work in different industries or smaller firms. There was little support, guidance, or leads for this silent majority. I know an old classmate who is still drifting after all these years (fortunately, his family is rich). This is probably a contributing factor to why my school has such a low alumni givings rate (and endowment per capita).

    Some advice: (1) Internships are essential for landing a good first job, and that first job sets the trajectory for your future career. (2) Go to a function at an organization that is central to their mission/purpose. You are treated much better, offered better experience, and there are more exit opportunities. (3) Good things often come to those who wait. Most every org has something good about it that you can learn (& earn) from. These plum positions usually go to ‘party faithfuls’ who have demonstrated their loyalty over the years.

  10. You should try to be exciting, not boring, but then, perhaps you are actually boring. You present yourself as being talented and smart. Be so.

  11. You are quite attractive. You could marry wealthy. The is a proven method to gaining wealth. You could also be a dancer for a few years.

  12. Pingback: Hi, I’m a graduate from Yale and I’m unemployed! « EUphemistin

  13. Hi Yelena,

    Thanks for the blog- interesting stuff. I’m an “Ivy+” recent MBA grad myself (UVA, Duke) and just launched a web platform called 31Projects (www.31projects.com) which is an online platform that connects companies and nonprofits looking for help on their projects with top MBA and graduate students interested in working on them. I think your readers would find it very useful- it’s a great resource for students and recent grads to gain some experience, build connections to companies, and earn some money while doing it (and it’s completely free). Check it out and if you want to learn more let me know, I’d be happy to tell your readers more about it!


    Jon Reifschneider

  14. I feel everyone’s pain but realized I’m not alone lol. I really enjoy this blog and will continue to follow. I went to Vanderbilt for undergrad and Emory for graduate school, multiple internships and have yet to land a full time job (unemployed for eight months now). Both of my degrees sit unframed in boxes lol. It is frustrating since Citibank is now knocking on my door and all I want to do is a find a job that allows me to affordably pay debts and feed myself and my beagle.

  15. HA! My name is Yelena too. I found this blog through the google alerts I set up for people searching for my blog but it only keeps on bringing up other people’s blogs….
    I think yours is the first one I’ve stopped to read, and I actually read the HuffPo article that led me to this site. Although I am NOT an Ivy-Leaguer, (but perhaps a public school Ivy-Leaguer) it still makes me feel better to read this blog as I remain unemployed after college…..Thank goodness I didn’t go on to grad school!

  16. I think that this blog paints a bad picture of the economy. Yes it’s difficult but not impossible. I graduated from a state school with a degree in Finance and Chinese. I’ve been out of college for 5 years and currently make 6 figures because I worked hard and got my degree in something with value. A degree in literature has the same value everywhere.

    • John…You are an idiot,man! Who cares if you make 6 figures or not….It’s obvious that you are a complete loser despite the fact…you graduated in 2005…it was a little easier back then…so shut up…people like you would sell America to China for cash….

    • I would have to say the same thing. I don’t make six figures but I’m not that far away from it. 😉 I went to an HBCU and all the professors in my program really stressed interning and getting certain skill sets as well as gaining knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry. They also encouaged us to have a minor in a foreign language or business. I minored in Asian Languages and cultures and even studied abroad to Japan. I an learning that others in Ivy league schools however did not make the best use of their time an resoucres.

  17. I graduated with no student debt and had internships and an undergrad in Bacteriology with a 2.63 gradepoint. Because of my internships and “great attitude” at the time I had a fab job before my classmates who were pre-med.

    After that fab job I got another “fab job” from a liar who made my life miserable because he was miserable. I figured I could go work for another miserable sob or become self-employed.

    Being self-employed seemed like a logical thing because I figured it was a complete waste of time to explain to some moron why I could do their job or why I would do their job.

    30 years later I have A students doing telemarketing for me. The ones who actually work make an easy $50 and hour. OK this is not a hundred grand but it’s a PT job and they can set their own hours.

    Do I love what I do? I love being the boss, I love not having to deal with politics and worrying about whether my boss will be an sob. I love worrying about being creative in my work and not having to answer to some idiot. I lot “firing” suppliers who are Fortune 500 companies who do stupid stuff so I write them emails telling them “where to get off” and “stay out of my email”.

    People think I am something as I am “the man” or in this case “the woman”. I want to move to Switzerland. Vaguely back when I was in college I thought maybe that would be fun so I took a year of German then and got C grades both semesters and now I have built up my renewals enough to where this summer I am going to check out Switzerland and then buy a chalet there.

    I don’t make a hundred thousand but I have four homes free and clear and a dog that loves me. I needed to figure out how to make money in Switzerland so now I have figured out 3 ways to do that too….one way I will plan to make a living, and the other two ways are back up plans. I learned from a radio announcer Lee Rodgers on KSFO do do WHAT I CAN.
    Seems to work.

  18. I am about to graduate from one of the Ivies too. Don’t be offended by what I say, because I totally agree that the Ivy League (or any other top school that belittles subjects like business or accounting or medicine or whatever) but my advice to you is if you’ve graduated, study something useful. Study for the AICPA or something – it might be a good addition to your liberal arts education. Also, doesn’t liberal arts education teach you to be humble, not to be baselessly condescending, like you are doing by making this blog? I’m not saying you are intentionally, but still, we were able to attend, and that says something about our basic skills and at least our parents’ ability to finance us. But still, as one of those students like you who are potentially F***ed by the hype about academic prestige, I know how we all feel — we worked our butts off in these insane and expensive universities, and now we are thrown out into the world of jobs without any preparation whatsoever.

  19. it seems I left out a whole sentence up there…the Ivy League….is too age-old and is now more like a hole than a producer of the most useful people that the world needs. Save the few precociously money-loving people who applied to the top 10 Law or Business schools and…actually did get in.

  20. Ivy League or not, the real question is whether the unemployed ones have a real degree or have majored in theater, drama, literature or some similarly Mickey Mouse area. Get into business, law, econ, or medecine…very few people with those degrees are unemployed.

    • actually, business majors are largely unemployed by the numbers, but accounting or econ are certainly one of the best majors to have to avoid unemployment (given your grades are good enough).

  21. I graduated in 09 too, from a “public ivy” but luckily I still had my retail job from high school. I recently got a fast food job as well to supplement, but at least I am now able to save some money to chip away at my debt, as well as not starve. Your website makes me feel a lot better, at least i am a step up from unemployed.

  22. I really like this blog! Its very informative. I graduated from a highly ranked HBCU in 2009; I have still not found a job. I owe about $21,000 and counting in loans (grad and undergrad). My mohter thought it would be smart to continue with my education so that I can “impress” employers. I am beginning to think that this is a waste of time as well. I have a Political Science degree so this is probably the reason why I cant get a job. I surveys people and businesses for $10 an hour. At least its a job in my field. Before that in 2010, I verified Census forms and sold haircare products at the local Sallys. So members of my HBCU graduating class went on to the Ivy League. But in this economy, I dont think its such a great idea to go into major debt for a degree that may not even help you in the long run. Oh yeah, I contemplating getting a second job to cover costs. Keep up the good work!

  23. Yelena,
    I came across this blog while searching for a job in the magazine industry. Although, I am not an Ivy League grad (I went to the University of Miami, which was recently ranked #38! Movin’ on up!), it made me feel a lot better that I am not alone in this crazy job search. In fact, there are a lot of really smart people who are right here with me!
    Since I was thirteen I knew I wanted to work in the magazine industry in New York City. I’m slowly realizing that that might just be a pipe dream. 😦 It is very depressing and hard to stay upbeat when your full-time job is applying to jobs. Thanks for the blog and reminding me I’m not alone.

  24. Having this website makes ivy leaguers seem retarded. If you want a job, you shouldve double majored in biochemistry and economics at Harvard. I did, and now I’m in the MD-MBA program at Harvard Med. Plus, it’s so dang easy. Liberal arts degrees are more worthless than garbage. Suck it up. Go back to school and study for a real career.

  25. Yeah—you either GO TO THE MARKET or CREATE THE MARKET…..the market is not going to come to you just because you graduated from an IVY.

    The world does not revolve around you—-you have to find the opportunity
    and make use of that opportunity.

  26. Anonymous and Sliver, although I agree with some of what you’re saying, I too have a degree. A business degree and cannot find a job. A degree I chose because of its supposed flexibility in the job market. I have applied to everything. The responses are always we’ve found someone better suited qualifications. Translation: “We found someone willing to work for minimum wage which your degree and experience tells us you will not”. It’s not always about finding the right opportunities, I’ve applied to any and all opportunities. We all cannot afford to obtain Masters degrees. The fact of the matter is there are Masters degrees and PHd’s who cannot find jobs IVY or otherwise. Thank you.

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