I’m going to be completely honest with you – the way the working world works kind of sucks. It stacks all of the odds against the people trying to break into new careers, and life after grad can be really hard.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but to break the cycle, you’re probably going to have to do a lot of work for free – or dirt cheap – before anyone offers to start paying you.
I know it’s discouraging, and I know you have enough expenses as is, but it pays to pay your dues. If you’re good at something do it for free a lot for powerful people.
The problem with being new, is people don’t like taking risks. If you have a good reputation and you’ve been in the working world a long time, things get easier, but just coming into it, no one knows if you’re a good investment. So help them along and initially do things for free.
Don’t do it so long that they begin to feel they can take advantage of you, but show them how much of a benefit you are. Blow them away with your professionalism and skillfulness, and at the end of your agreed upon free work, politely tell them you’d love to work with them again – for pay this time.
Odds are, after they get to know you, and have proof you’re a good investment, you’ll be paid what you deserve.
But until then, sometimes you’ll just have to stick it out, be patient, and work for free.