Right employers can be arrogant in their expectations for new grads. They are working with schools and pumping out new grads like crazy and have to justify that they are hiring. They don't care if you stay right now because they have an endless line of applicants. Look for a supportive environment where they really want and appreciate you, even if the pay is a little less than you were getting. You did get 3 mos of experience, so use it to your advantage. Get a job to insulate you from the bad experience. Check with your former HR Dept and ask them what information they divulge to employer requests. It may not be as bad as you think and they may not even want to divulge whether they would hire you back, that is prejudicial information anyway. Get a list of references, former employers, coworkers, instructors who can vouch for your work ethic. Not every job works out for numerous reasons. And don't worry about your age, in a lot of circumstances it is a benefit. Older workers are more mature, more settled, sleep less :), etc.