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Like a lot of grads, I didn't have a whole lot of luck getting work after college. About a year after graduation, I started working as a freelance writer on a team my mom managed, which brought in a bit of money; no student loans to pay off, fortunately. July last year, my brother alerted me to a listing for a fellowship on the Obama campaign in Richmond, working on data. I managed to get it, and I worked there from mid-August to the election.

I was in the data department, managing a project analyzing canvassing reports, and as I got better at that my duties expanded. I wrote a couple of programs that shaved a whole chunk of time off my work week, one of which got sent to Chicago.

After the campaign was over, I figured I'd probably gotten my foot in the door professionally, and I sent out feelers to try to get another job. No dice. At the dawn of summer, I started to wonder if I'd gained anything at all, or if I was just back to square one.

But a few weeks ago, I applied to the data wrangler position at Project VoteSmart, listed on I wasn't crazy about the idea of moving to Montana, but it was clear that my standards for location would have to loosen; besides, it was something I liked, and it looked like I had a decent chance of getting it.

And now I have virtually all of my stuff (except for quite a lot of books) loaded into my Mustang, preparing to drive 2300 miles in the next four days. Harrisonburg to Decatur to Sioux Falls to Billings to Philipsburg. Finally moving out of my parents' house, and living more or less on my own, at the ripe age of 25, three years after finishing college.

I'm as nervous as you would expect, particularly since I've never driven anything like this distance before. But it's a permanent job, and while the pay is minimal, it's enough to save on.

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