The Beginning

Last Tuesday I was sacked. Today I got a job.

So this is it. My time Drifting Through Unemployment has ended. And as it turns out, I really don’t want to stop writing for the blog I couldn’t wait to give up. But I must. It’s time for another person of the 2.5 million unemployed people to take the baton.

And I really recommend it. Running a blog that I post to regularly to has won me both my internship and this job, as well as opening many other doors. Not only that, but it has reinvigorated (great word) my passion for writing, and has helped me express myself in a way that I couldn’t around the ones I love.

Keeping this blog has also helped me raise awareness to some of the issues surrounding unemployment, especially the rights of interns. Without this blog I would never have found the amazing How To Be Jobless and subsequently found the video regarding my rights.

I have learnt so much in the last few months, which really has been invaluable to my employability and my sanity!

I have learnt to:

  1. Take Risks – if you’re not having any luck with CVs, be the wildcard option. At least it gets you into the interview room where you can really impress!
  2. Be Honest – by confronting myself, others etc. I have learnt how to move forward and progress, which was so important for getting myself out of the jobless rut!
  3. Be Myself – I have stopped worrying about how great everyone else is and what I couldn’t do. As a result, I believe in myself. Be yourself in covering letters and let the employer see you, not what the shitty Careers Advisers try to make you become.

Thank you so much to all of my followers, who have supported me and offered advice every step of the way. I wish all of you every success in finding a job. Please stay in touch with me on Twitter!

Just because I have a job now doesn’t mean I will fall off the edge of the blogosphere! You can keep up with me at fascistkillingblog.blogspot.co.uk (new post coming Friday!)

Thank you all so much.

(Who’d have known getting a job could be such a sad occasion?!)

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The Blog I Couldn’t Wait To Give Up

So I have finally realised the importance of the blog I couldn’t wait to give up. Being able to speak freely online is greatly important when discussing unemployment and internships. It brings information to people that may not be widely known or spoken about.

I have found in the last few days that this medium of communication is especially important when talking about internships. It is a little known fact that the word ‘internship’ has no place in UK law, and legally is not a justification of cheap labour.

There are very few circumstances wherein an employer can justify not paying the minimum wage, and these reasons are; if it is as part of a school work experience, as part of a further or higher education course, if you are working for a charity, or if you are merely shadowing (observing) a full time employee.

In addition, despite what it says in any contract, or what your employer tells you, you are entitled to minimum wage if you carry out work for the company.

I found all this information out thanks to a video posted by How To Be Jobless (see my last post). Had this not have been made available, I would not have known my rights as an intern.

The reason some employers continue to get away with this behaviour is because they target the vulnerable: people who live alone, people who need money, need experience, need jobs. People like us.

I am very fortunate that I have fantastic parents who are willing to put up with me, who will look after me until I can get on my feet. Therefore I had to stand up and say something. I could no longer work somewhere that dismissed the law as opinion, and who continued to use vulnerable people.

If you feel you have a claim, you can complain to HMRC in the telephone number at the end of this page. You can claim anonymously, with partial anonymity (where your employer doesn’t know who you are but HMRC do) or with your identity. They can deal with claims from any unpaid employment you may have had in the last 6 years(!!).This problem is not just a problem for me, but across the country, and HMRC are cracking down on it.

This is not only damaging to ourselves, but it is disadvantaging the majority honest businesses who pay for all their employees. Please do not accept this kind treatment. We deserve more.

Internship Rights Are Well Concealed But Do Exist

This video is a short documentary for any one who is unemployed and thinking of carrying out an internship.

As an intern myself, I did not know what rights I had, and so this video has proved very interesting.

If you are completing proper work in your job, you are entitled to at least the minimum wage. Apparently, 100% of interns who have taken their employer to court have won their case.

For a legal definition of an Internship in the UK, see here

Back To The Day Job…

My internship is drawing to a close, and somehow I have mustered up the strength to start applying for jobs again.

I have been putting off applying for jobs for ages, living in a blissful dreamworld that helps me forget I’m not actually employed. For a while, I forgot about how I was feeling and what it was like to look for jobs, and it was amazing.

But it didn’t take long for those feelings to come back.

I sat in front of my computer, CV open for the first time since August, and I just stared at it. I have to change my personal bio again. Stomach churns. I have to add work experience and skills. Stomach Churns. I have to painstakingly rewrite my whole covering letter. Stomach churns. All the angst, the frustration came flooding back to me and I shut the laptop.

Yet finally, today, I did it. I started browsing for jobs, looking for ones in social media, that are similar to my internship. I found one I really liked the look of, £35,000 a year(!!!), I actually understood the job description (always helps) and for the first time ever I thought ‘I could do that!‘.

I opened my CV and rewrote my covering letter and CV in no time. I even enjoyed writing them. And while my new covering letters aren’t quite as hilarious as my last ones, they definitely show a bit of personality. It makes such a difference looking for jobs that you actually believe you could do, rather than just hoping your skills match up to the candidate requirements in the advert!

Lets see how long this new-found confidence lasts!

The Outsider

You know, it’s funny being an intern. You’re sort of in employment limbo. You’re not being paid, and the only reason you’re there (honestly) is for that all important reference at the end of your term. You have no affiliations with the company itself, because you know that it is only a very temporary position. Being an intern, you see everything from the outside.

And it’s sad, some of the things you see. Times are hard and as we all know, jobs are hard to come by. People are working extra hard, not because they’re well paid, but because they fear that they’ll lose their job. People seem driven by that fear more than by money.

Unfortunately, some employers have caught on to this. They know you’re completely replaceable, and as a result, they have little or no respect for you. They expect you to go to the moon and back for them, and don’t even offer a thank you in return. It makes me sick.

I’d like to refer the said employers to my favourite of Aesop’s Fables, The Wind and the Sun. Moral of the Story? You are more likely to get someone to do a better job when you treat them well, rather than by force. The carrot is more effective than the stick.

I know, that as employees, we feel pressured and stressed to keep performing. But please, have some respect for yourselves. Yes, you may be completely replaceable, but that doesn’t mean you are not contributing, and your employer should be thankful. If you hadn’t done that work today, completed that task, bagged that sale, who would have?

Stand up and be proud of your work, no matter how menial it is. They could not have done it without YOU.

Finding Myself

As much as I’m unsure about the placement itself, I have to say I am really enjoying the work.

When I was job hunting, I was trying to avoid applying for ones that relied on me having to constantly produce writing to a high quality. Usually when I think something’s rubbish, I delete it all and start again. I do this most when I’m feeling pressured to write something really good (bad habit I know). I thought that the pressure I would put myself under would mean I would never hit deadlines, and never get anything done.

However, I am actually really enjoying it. I do not put myself under any unnecessary stress like I did at uni, I just write. Each week I have to write three scripts for the Gaming, K-Pop and Unsigned shows, as well as writing the office review on our blog. It’s really good fun. It’s especially good when you think of a great cheesy line to put at the end of a story.

Although I haven’t been taught anything about the job that I’m doing, I feel that I have learnt a lot about myself. I’ve found that I really enjoying writing, and that I’m pretty good at it too, and shouldn’t put myself down so often. It has been great experience in the way that I now have an idea of what I could look for in the future, and what I want to do.

I would definitely recommend doing a placement if you need experience or are not really sure what you want to be when you grow up (just make sure you won’t be relying on it for money!). It’s been a great experience for me.

All Work And No Play Makes Tash A Dull Girl

In the last 6 weeks, I have had 4 days off. (Bloody hell I can’t believe I’ve been an intern for so long!)

The reason I have been doing so much work is because while this job doesn’t pay, I’ve had to complete my summer job at Lord’s because after September there won’t really be much work. So I’ve had to earn enough money that I can make last until I get another paid job.

Which means I’ve had to sacrifice my spare time. My boyfriend came down to see me on the 1st of September and stayed until he went back to Uni on Tuesday (he’s from Liverpool, and I’m from London). In the whole three weeks he was here, I had one day off. And I was so tired on that day, we just sat in bed and watched films.

I feel so bad on him being my house without me for three weeks, like I’m letting him down. He came all the way down to spend time with me and only caught glimpses of me in the evening. I am so lucky he has the patience to stay, because I know so many people wouldn’t.

The amount of work I’ve been doing has also made me feel so unwell, and on Wednesday I had to have the day off because of it. My body was just so run down, and aching in every place and I just could not face sitting on the tube for over an hour. Having Wednesday off gave me just enough strength to get through to the weekend, which has been amazing.

Luckily, now the cricket season is over, I have regained my weekends! I only have like 5 dates lined up over the next 2 months, which will be a lot more civilised. Now what on earth do people do with this thing called ‘time off’?

The Exploited

As an intern, I work Monday – Friday, 10-6, doing overtime every night. I basically run the social media accounts, as well as writing and researching scripts for our presenters. I am not an understudy to anybody nor am I really being taught how to use social media. Essentially, I am in charge.

What this means, is I can do or say anything , and it is the voice of the company. I could say some really horrible stuff, racist, sexist, homophobic, even that Miley Cyrus is a slag, and it would be the opinion of them. (But I don’t, obviously.)

Essentially, what I mean to say is that most Social Media Managers are paid not to do that. They are paid to  be the responsible voice of the company. And that’s a worthwile job to do – I mean its free publicity, it’s how your company engages with the public.

Yet I’m not paid.

I have found  that a lot of the older generation are shocked and appalled by this, whereas people my age see it as what you have to do to get a job nowadays. Most of the over 40’s are angered by this (mainly because they didn’t think of it first), complaining that it is exploiting young people (which to be fair, it kind of is). One man even said to me, ‘When the revolution comes, these people will be the first to be shot‘.

And it’s fair enough. I mean, our company is getting all its digital marketing for the price of my train fare. And there are millions of people out there who need well paying jobs, when so many companies are getting their labour so cheaply.

But then again, its what I have to do. I need the experience. And it is good experience, it will do no end of good, having professional experience on my CV. I feel so helpless. I hate that this is able to happen, but yet I allow it to. I am sorry.

(God I hope I don’t get sacked now.)

Mission Impossible

The company I’m completing my internship at is pretty new, and as a result they are learning just as much as I am. If I’d only realised this sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of stress!

So last Friday I finally received my tasks and targets, to find that on top of running the social media account, I had to research and write three scripts for the online music channel. Now a script is made up of 5 shows; i.e. Pop, Rock, RnB & Hip Hop, Afrobeats, unsigned etc. Each show should contain 10 stories about musicians in the relevant categories.

This sounded like a lot when I started, but I thought, ‘It must be do-able, I wouldn’t be given the task otherwise’. Luckily, my first show to write for was Pop. Pop, as you can imagine, is pretty easy to find stories for because it’s pretty much celebrity news. I wrote about Miley Cyrus in the VMAs, Lady Gaga arguing with Azealia Banks, Example being abducted by serbian gangsters, and another 10 stories. It took me 2 days to finish.

In my mind, I started fretting. I was meant to be doing three shows a day, but just one had taken two days. I even stayed late to try and finish it off, and also I tried taking it home to finish off – by my brain was frazzled by that point. On Wednesday, when I had calmed myself down, I checked the word count for the Pop Show. It was 1,700 words. And I was meant to write three of these per day?! That would be about 5000 words every day! But when I checked with the two other interns how much they had done, theirs were also around the 1,500 mark. With research, it worked out that I was supposed to be doing 22 hours work per day, where I spent 10 minutes per story researching and 5 minutes per story writing.

By this point, I’d convinced myself I’d read my tasks and targets wrong, not even the best writer could do 5000 words a day, with research. It must be three shows per week? 

But when I checked my tasks and targets, my original understanding of them was right. Fuck.

As it happened, yesterday my boss asked me to have a chat about how my first couple of weeks had been. He congratulated me on how well the twitter account was going since I’d started running it (to be fair, I’ve gained them 1,000 followers in 2 weeks) and we talked about social marketing strategies. Then he asked how I was doing with the research and script writing side of things.

It was scary. I had massively underperformed on the researching side of things. I mean, to write three 1,500 word shows a day didn’t even seem possible. It was a target I felt I would never reach, based on the work I’d done this week. Everyone else seemed to be doing ok. I couldn’t admit that I was so far behind.

But I had to, I knew there was something wrong, whether it was with me or the system. So I told him how impossible my tasks seemed.

To cut a long story short, he listened. Now I only have to write 3 shows per week, as opposed to per day.

I’m so glad I said something. I don’t know if they realised how much work it was to produce that amount of shows, because I don’t think anybody had tracked the word counts of these things. But now it’s sorted, I feel so much happier, like a weight has been lifted. And it’s definitely given me the confidence to speak up.

This whole thing taught me that just because I am experiencing a problem, doesn’t mean I am the problem.

I Wish I Was Unemployed…

I’m joking, but it got your attention, right?

Yesterday, me and my boyfriend celebrated two years of being together. Although we weren’t together. He is currently monkey-sitting (yes, he is baby sitting real life marmoset monkeys) in Liverpool and I am working in London. That means we’re about 220 miles apart.

Until last week I was supposed to be monkey-sitting with him, and then I got  this internship. Now don’t get me wrong, I am SO lucky to have this internship, and I’m really enjoying it and totally appreciate this opportunity, but it’s really hard to  have to sacrifice celebrations and simply seeing your loved ones because of work.

It’s weird because it felt like I went  from nought to  sixty within a matter of moments. One minute I hadn’t even been asked to a single interview, I had plans and budgets and time, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, I had a full time job. I’d applied for a job on Monday and by the  next week I’d started work there. When you’ve got used to the idea that you’ll be out of work for up to a year, it’s hard to change your mindset so quickly to keep up.

Before  I went to uni, I had my a level results, I was told I’d been offered a place a place at my chosen uni, I bought stuff like duvets to get ready to move away, and I said goodbye to my friends and family. In getting this internship, I feel like I haven’t had the time to say goodbye to my boyfriend. Obviously I will still see him, but the difference between seeing him all day every day to a couple of hours before bed is a huge change.

Like I say, I am  really glad to have this internship. I really am. But the shift between complete  unemployment to full time work, is somewhat uncomfortable.