I am a soon to be graduate. In the worst possible era to be a soon to be graduate. Despite 92.2% of graduates becoming employed within 6 months of graduation in 2010 at my university, I do not hold out much hope for myself.
The reasons are fairly simple. I’m an sporadically motivated Faculty of Arts student. I chose my degree at the age of 16, and as a sufferer of chronic decimal blindness (you need to read some Douglas Coupland books if you don’t know that reference) I did not fast forward to what 22 year old me might want to do. What she wants to do is watch Netflix and drink copious volumes of tea for a living. I guess Netflix didn’t exist when I was 16 and my view of the internet was restricted to Bebo, MySpace and YouTube. I still drank a lot of tea though. I’m British, sue me.
However, 22 year old me also has a will to work. When I have a task to do I do it. When I have a job I freaking work. I am the queen of unskilled labour. Charity shop girl. Check. Kitchen Porter. Check. Hospital cleaner. Check. Followed by a magnitude of jobs such as teachers assistant (in Spain, thank you!), waitress, silver service waitress, receptionist/tour guide/chef/cleaner (again, but this time in Portugal), flyer-hander-outer, a bouncer at school rugby matches, debates hostess. It stretched to unofficial pub crawl leader. I’m currently an ironer. I iron things. Have you ever taken a jumper with fringe trim into a dry cleaners? Then you are Satan. Bitches are hard to iron.
The picture above is something I’m fairly proud of. Over a three day period I applied to all the places you see chicken scrawled in the picture. Side note, I’m pleased I learnt how to write before the internet, because I just don’t think I’d how to spell otherwise. Kids have it easy these days. Anyway. I applied to 19 positions, 12 of which were in Lisbon. I heard back “No” from 6 of them, split equally between Glasgow and Lisbon. They were all in the tourism industry, stating I could do all hours bla bla bla. And nada. What’s even more insulting is that 13 didn’t even bother with a response. I applied for some graduate positions earlier in the year, online, and one sent me a rejection email which said “Thank you so much for coming in for your interview”. I looked around at my room, which I hadn’t left for a few days and was suddenly panicked I had been a victim of job fraud. How bad would it be if the person frauding me couldn’t even get the god damn job.
Basically I’m sick of the “What are you doing after university?”/”Are you ready for the big bad world?” questions. With my degree (Hispanic Studies) everything thinks there are two career paths. And ONLY two.
Are those my options? Have I worked for five whole years to have two options? Can’t I just work in a bar in Madrid or maybe become a professional surfer in Peniche? Professional bed tester at Bed, Bath and Beyond? Original Netflix productions script reviewer?
The answer is probably not. Because this generation of arts students are being royally seen to. They cut the funding (anyone remember the Hetherington Occupation? I was there…) then they cut the strings of hope. Ok, that was dramatic but you see my point. I just think it’s a shame that there are so many intelligent people in the arts that won’t get the job they deserve. Like me, god dammit.
So… If any of you know someone in need of a “motivated and punctual individual” who is actually pretty good at analysing texts and films… Hit me up. I’ll be there with bells on. And my hair out of my face wearing modest work outfit with sensible shoes. Presentable…