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Saturday, September 28, 2013

You Can Have Any Job You Want, as Long as It's Waitress

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You Can Have Any Job You Want, as Long as It's Waitress
Photograph by Marc Spector

It’s almost 6 p.m. on a Friday, and the tables near the bar at the Hamilton in downtown Washington are getting crowded. That means Victoria Honard is busy.
Honard, 22, who graduated from Syracuse University in May, works about 25 hours a week as a waitress at the restaurant while she looks for a public policy job. A dean’s-list student, she moved to Washington four days after graduation with the hope of finding a position at a think tank or policy-related organization. She’s applied to about 20 prospective employers.
“The response has been minimal,” says Honard, whose academic work was in education, health, and human services. “There are two ways of looking at it. I could be extremely frustrated and be bitter, or I can make the most of it, and I’m trying to take the latter approach.”
Unemployment data appear to show big advances for women. The jobless rate in August for females 20 years and older was 6.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, compared with 7.1 percent for men. As recently as January, the rate was 7.3 percent for both genders, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The downside is that the gains for women have been largely in low-paying jobs such as waitressing, in-home health care, food preparation, and housekeeping. About 60 percent of the increase in women’s employment from 2009 to 2012 was in jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour,...
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