I may be unemployed but I’m not desperate…

Today I was browsing Twitter looking for other unemployment bloggers (anybody know any?) and saw a job ad for a junior researcher on the Jeremy Kyle Show. This is a job I would probably be well suited to, as it is pretty much all my degree has trained me to do. I fit the person specification, I’d be good at it and it would probably open up a good career in the media. Why shouldn’t I apply?

Well, to be frank, I have standards. Personally, I believe Jeremy Kyle to be the most odious, condescending man, using the problems of disadvantaged individuals to fuel class discrimination. So I would never dream of promoting his values. But is that wrong? In today’s society, where jobs are so hard to come by, should I put my moral beliefs aside? (I’m pretty sure the Job Centre would say so.)

The problem is, the minute you say ‘I won’t do that!’, people assume you’re either work shy or a snob. I makes me feel so guilty, especially when the Daily Mail Wankers start moaning ‘we don’t pay taxes so you can have a moral code‘.

Then again, shouldn’t I strive to do a job that I love? I would probably work harder and better if I enjoyed what I was doing, and I wouldn’t be stuck in that depressing rut that most 30-40 year olds find themselves in 10 years down the line. Can you hear the Daily Mail Wankers calling again? ‘Great, we pay our taxes so you can have an easy lifestyle…

Maybe I should apply for it, it’s not like I’ll get it anyway…

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Facebook for the Unemployed

I cannot look at Facebook any more. Every time I do it just depresses me so much. The problem with Facebook is that it’s one big competition to make your life look better than everybody else’s.

At this stage in my life, I’m in a transition period from education into the real world, and family, friends, other nosey people are keen to find out what I’m going to do next. The longer I don’t update anything about university results or job interviews the more they think; ‘Ooh Tash obviously isn’t doing very well…‘ while they’re all updating their statuses saying ‘Yay! I’ve graduated with a first!‘ or ‘Got the first job I’ve applied for… how jammy of me‘. Nobody posts statuses about how shit their life is, so the only news I hear is about how great everyone else’s lives are.

I’m not somebody who usually measures myself up against how other people are doing, but it’s hard when all the people around you are doing so well and you’re at a standstill. It’s a very lonely place to be. It’s especially hard when throughout school (ie. my whole life up til now) I was top of the class and good at most things. Whereas before I was doing better than was expected, now I’m at a slump.

I try not to post anything on Facebook now, so family, friends, and Nosies (shall we call them) kind of forget about me. I wish I could just evaporate sometimes. Then their attention won’t be drawn to my hopelessness, nor will they learn that for the first time in my life I am underachieving.

I am at a period of significant change, which is hard enough for me on my own, let alone while people are watching.

‘It will look good on your CV’

Since being a teenager, I have always taken every opportunity by the scruff of the neck and shaken it until I have got every benefit out of it. I have volunteered – coaching rugby to kids for three years, I have captained rugby teams, I have won awards for loads of stuff, had various part time jobs since i was 14 etc… And every time people have said; ‘that’ll look good on your CV’.
Well obviously it doesn’t.
I want to go into publishing ideally, maybe even something like copywriting or advertising, which are notoriously hard to get into. All these skills I have built up are just expected of any candidate nowadays. It seems that you must have job specific experience to be in with any chance of getting the job you want.
In all the job rejections I get, they always say – “you have a great CV, but there are other candidates with more experience” (erm you said in the job spec that experience wasn’t necessary!!!)
So how can I get a experience even if no one will give me a chance? WORK FOR FREE (or slave labour as the rest of us know it). And even then you only get it by chance (or if you know somebody at the company). And wouldn’t that be another thing that looks great on my CV…

Peter

Ok so I haven’t been completely honest. I have a summer job that’s getting me through until September. When that time comes though, I will be completely unemployed (unless somebody hires me by then…) so I haven’t lied, I’ve just pre-empted the truth.
Anyway, my summer job is at Lord’s Cricket Ground, working as a steward. I’ve had it since 2010, and done it every summer when home from uni. It gets me by. Mostly it just involves taking tickets and assuring the members that no, they are not gods among men and yes, they do have to queue.
The best thing about Lord’s is thats its full of interesting people; both staff and customers. I have met loads of celebrities and cricketers; Mick Jagger, Russell Crowe, Stephen Fry, Stuart Broad… (If you follow me on twitter you will probably be inundated with tweets about who I’ve met most recently!). But I have to say one of the most interesting people I met is a guy called Peter (the namesake of this post). I met him last summer as we sat outside work under a tree doing boring road closure. He’s 30 (ish) and spends his summers working in multiple part time jobs, saving his money so in the winter he can live in Brazil.
He has amazing stories, because, while doing all these part time jobs, he has met many people and done some crazy things. He was an extra in some film about Ancient Greece, lived in Crete for 3 weeks, and was paid loads of money for standing in a massive blue suit. He worked at a charity making calls and spent his time working out ways to fit random words into serious phone conversations.
My favourite story of his is when he was in Brazil. He and his friend turned up in Rio (?) planning to stay with his friend’s auntie. They were nearing the end of their trip and had hardly any money left. They were counting on staying at his aunt’s. As it turned out, she never turned up.
Peter and his friend searched all over Rio and couldn’t afford to stay in any of the hotels the taxi driver took them to. Finally, the taxi driver took them to a place where the rooms were offered at an hourly rate. Peter was skeptical but spoke to the owners who gave them a great deal for their two week stay.
Exhausted, Peter and his friend went up to their room. Inside, they noticed the decor was quite unusual. A large circular bed, a mirror above it on the ceiling… It was strange. They agreed that Peter would sleep on the bed and his friend on the floor (being as Peter was paying). They turned on the TV and the only signal they received was from Brazilian porn channels. So instead of staying in, they went out.
Queuing up outside Peter’s ‘hotel’, were a load of transvestites, in order of femininity. It was only then Peter realised that for two weeks they were renting a room in a transvestite’s brothel…
Anyway, my point in all this is that doing temporary work opens up countless opportunities, because you have no real commitments. You also meet other interesting people who use temporary work to fund their extravagant lifestyles. Temporary work doesn’t have to be boring shelf stacking, and sometimes it can be more fulfilling than getting stuck in the grind of full time work.

English Sminglish

The week before I left for uni, I was talking to a man in a club. He looked like he was in his late 30’s early 40’s, and he owned a building firm. When I told him I was off to do a degree in English, he replied, ‘what’s the point in that?’. I’m starting to feel more and more that he was right.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my course. I had the proper student life: 8 hours of seminars a week, a couple of books to ‘read’, plenty of hangovers, and then one sleepless night each term before deadline day (although I won’t be telling prospective employers about that!). The problem with English though, is, what does it lead you into?

My boyfriend studies Politics and Events Management at uni, which trains him up to be able to work in his sector. His modules aren’t optional like mine were, as they are training him up to work in a specific industry. I think this is more favorable to employers, because they know they will be employing somebody who understands their field. But all I’ve done is read a couple of books and write a few essays. Yes, I have a great transferable skill, but what have I proved I can do with that skill? (Not much is the short answer)

So now, with that wonderful perspective we call hindsight, I know I should have taken a sandwich course. This is where in the middle of your degree, you take a year out to get some work experience. Most universities have great contacts with decent employers that means you can usually set yourself up with a great (paid!!!!) internship. My friends who chose to do this have all been employed pretty much as soon as they finished their degree. Yet I did not even consider a sandwich course, because :

  1. I wanted to live the student life : party, party, party
  2. I had no idea what I wanted to do
  3. I was 18, employment was THREE WHOLE YEARS (!!!) away

Let me tell you, three years is not a long time.

Anyway, there’s nothing I can do about that now, so what do I do? Being as I want to go into publishing, having online proof that I can string a sentence together is a good idea. Hence the blog. I’ve also been applying for two week work experience at Random House and Penguin (aren’t I lovely giving you links to those sites?). Apart from that it’s just crossed fingers and apply, apply, apply.

En Media Res

After 16 years of non-stop education, I have a BA(Hons) degree in English and Creative Writing. Now I’m on my own. I’ve been applying for jobs, internships and work experience, and I’ve been receiving rejection emails for jobs and internships (no replies about the work experience). I feel like I’m in the middle of a desert, no clear way back or forward, with a failing hope that I will find some way out. Giving out CVs is like throwing paper planes into the sky and hoping they will reach someone.

While I’m aimlessly wandering through the desert though, interesting things do happen. Like the other day I met the chauffeur for the CEO of Deutsche Bank. All I can hope for is that one of these strange and interesting people I meet is head of a publishing house (Penguin preferably, although I’m open to offers) and after talking to me realise I’m the person they need and hire me straight away. Although that would probably be the end of this blog. So in a way, this blog is one I don’t want to write, and can’t wait to get rid of, because then it means I will have a job.