This writer is loath to admit that graduation is scary and job hunting is exhausting. After all, these are the very tribulations the writer is going through right now. But did you know that these struggles have a striking resemblance to the Regency Period?
Don’t believe me? Allow this article to convince you, my dear readers.
With the release of Bridgerton Season 2 just earlier this week, let’s explore why being a fresh graduate is just like being a Regency period debutante.
This article will also point out the struggles women used to face and still face today, into the lens of the job hunt – showing that we all must fight for equality in order for these societal hurdles to be taken down.
Listen to this playlist of Regency music to provide some atmosphere, And click here if you want to read the thoughts of young Chinoy women this Women’s Month! Without further ado, let’s go through the eight reasons graduation is like Bridgerton!
1. You debut into Society
“You have no idea what it is to be a woman, what it might feel like to have one’s entire life reduced to a single moment.”
While grades do not define anyone, your grades at college graduation do feel like they will affect your life forever – especially since most big companies are looking for top students to join their ranks.
Not unlike Daphne Bridgerton, fresh graduates put on a fancy garment and announce their eligibility to the adult world. (or in this case, the workforce)
While the debutantes were scrutinized by the Queen, fresh graduates today are evaluated by their schools. And exactly like in “Bridgerton,” your value may skyrocket or plummet depending on the governing body’s comments about you.
Whether you were a shining Diamond of the First Water (Cum Laude) or not, don’t let it define you! Your first steps into society will definitely affect your career moving forward, but it is your actions that will define you.
2. You go to events to meet future prospects
Ah, networking night! Just like those coveted invitations to society balls, networking nights are ways for students and graduates to make connections with companies on or before their graduation day.
Just like the debutantes of Bridgerton, you hand out calling cards to interested takers and rub elbows with important people in corporations. You also ask questions about the company and try to charm them enough to get their contact information.
If you’re feeling bold, perhaps you can even ask for a referral! My, how forward!
While Regency girls showed off their skills on the pianoforte and men flexed their jousting victories, today’s graduates talk about their leadership skills, technical know-how, and more. Such similarities!
3. You wait for callers
The most excruciating part of the job hunt is the waiting game. One can imagine it being equally frustrating for a debutante to stay in her parlor, waiting for callers.
Ideally, a Regency debutante wants to marry in her very first social season. Similarly, fresh graduates want to be employed full time a few months after graduation – some even secure jobs before their big day!
While it is exciting to have several prospects, you must screen them thoroughly because they could possibly be exploitative or worse – downright abusive. Back in the Regency Period, a girl’s husband was paramount to her entire life, so she had to choose carefully.
Though it is no longer life or death these days, the proposal you accept will have a large effect on your daily life. So choose well, young graduates!
4. You Play the Love Games
“For this to succeed, we must appear madly in love.”
Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings
How well do you put on a ruse? Because you’ll need to, as a young graduate with no experience to their name beyond internships and student activities.
To secure a job offer. You “flirt” with the company and play up your strengths, while veiling or minimizing your shortcomings. Mayhaps you could even act disinterested even if you want to accept the job offer, in order to get an even higher offer.
An in-demand debutante is just like a graduate with many job offers.
But beware, don’t play your hand with overconfidence! Be realistic about your salary expectations, and know when to settle once you’ve secured a good match.
5. Love Triangles and Drama
Remember Daphne’s love triangle with the Prince and the Duke?
In job hunting, we have that too! Sometimes, you receive job offers from not one but two companies. What fortune! But oh, how are you ever going to choose?
As they try to woo you over to their side with benefits and higher salaries, you weigh the pros and cons. Hmm, the one with better work-life balance or the one with higher pay? The one with the job description you like more, or the one with more perks.
While the love triangles in job hunting are not as dramatic as Daphne ripping off her silver necklace in the lush gardens of the Royal Palace, is it still a harrowing and difficult position to be in.
So this writer wishes you well, and hopes that you will screen both companies with the attentiveness of a Regency mama looking for a prestigious match for her daughter.
One more thing, remember that ill-tempered debutante Cressida Cowper?
Some graduates and trainees are willing to pull others down to get on top. Be careful of them! And if you can, avoid them like the plague!
6. Concealment of One’s Past Affairs
While we can all agree the concept of purity is a patriarchal and outdated concept, it still affects people today. And not just in romance, but in the world of job-hunting as well.
For example, when companies are looking for fresh graduates, they really really want you fresh out of school.
And of course, not every first job is love at first sight. There will be times when one is not a good fit, and thus leaves – only to be met by an amazing opportunity. But alas, they are looking for a fresh graduate. This causes some people to stealthily leave out their previous employment in the hopes that it will not be discovered.
Remembering the case of Miss Marina Thompson, this writer implores his dear readers to proceed with caution regarding such possibilities.
7. The Honeymoon Phase
On the first day of orientation, you are sure to have rose-colored lenses over your wide eyes. You can’t wait to get started on a shiny new job and adventure!
There is a time when you are absolutely in love with your job and you can’t stop talking about it to your friends and family. All that’s fine and dandy, and a wonderful source of motivation.
However, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Once you’ve secured a job offer, then the real work begins. And disenchantment is only a few months away as you start to face the realities and crises of the new position. In order to avoid this, keep your expectations realistic, graduate!
8. The High Expectations
Regency debutantes were expected to be dainty, beautiful, talented, and morally upright. And if they were to be married to aristocracy, the expectations placed on their delicate shoulders were even heavier!
In the same vein, fresh graduates are expected to bring value to the company – even just within the first few months! This is of course, quite difficult, especially if you are still in the training phase.
Setting expectations with one’s superiors is bound to soften these harsh presumptions and create more realistic ones for you to abide by.
And there you have it, dear readers! All eight reasons why being a fresh graduate is peripherally similar to the experience of a Regency period debutante!
This writer hopes that you thoroughly enjoyed this article. Unlike Lady Whistledown, his identity is by no means a secret. Word on the Ton says that he is working on a dark academia fantasy novel, so please follow him on Instagram if you enjoyed his prose.
All photos courtesy of Bridgerton, streaming on Netflix.