26 September 2011

Job Seekers Allowance

It was a proud day when I strode across the ridiculously long ceremonial stage to receive a piece of white card which was the culmination of three years (well, two years, the first year of university never really counts does it?) hard graft and many thousands of pounds of debt. Was it all worth it? If not then thank God I got my degree before the Tories got their hands on our tuition fees. And that liar Clegg...the first and last time I ever vote Lib Dem.

Unfortunately, I, like so many other graduates,  am stuck in real-world limbo. In  need of money in order to still be able to pay my phone bill and maintain some semblance of a social life, therefore, in need of a job. Simples? No no! One must first gain experience in order to gain a job title which is not bar tender, retail assistant or waitress (all things I did when I did NOT have a degree). Today I perused the Guardian jobs website for the nth time and, while I should know what to expect by now, was still shocked by the amount of experience jobs advertised as graduate roles expect us to have. Unless I wanted to be a 'money hungry head hunter' (their words), a media sales trainee earning 'big bucks', or sell my soul to an HR training scheme then I had to have 'at least' one years experience in the role that I was applying for. How do you get experience if they won't give it to you? Plus, a girl's gotta live you know...so unpaid work experience placements just don't seem to cut it. Still...I'm going to have to do them.

I should probably mention here that I am looking at journalism or publishing roles. Though I expect I shall soon have to downgrade my searches to babysitter and revert to my sixteen year old pre-degree self. I am at least, living at home, and while the endless family dinners, generally culminating in a row of some sort, are a slight stress, I fully appreciate the fact that while I'm unemployed and broke, I am not yet homeless. This might change of course if I continue to have to scrounge off my family who, love me as they do, wish quite rightly to cut me off very very soon.

I never thought that I would have to, but at the moment, Job Seekers Allowance seems to be the only way forward, at least for a little bit. While some people may look down on people on benefits, it seems to me that this particular benefit was made just for people like me....those seeking a job! I am still undecided on whether to actually drag myself to the dreary local Job Centre in case it ends up making me feel more depressed, but, we shall see. Desperate times.

There is, however, always hope  and as it's always nice to end on a happy note, for everyone's sanity, I can say that I have managed to secure some very good, unpaid of course, work experience. I spent five days at BBC Television Centre with HARDtalk, a one-on-one interview programme which has had many a great name grace it's hot seat. It was a shame the placement was only five days, especially considering I worked on my application for over a week and wrote a mini essay for it but it was undoubtedly a fantastic one-off experience. I helped create programme briefs for the producers and input ideas as to who they might interview next. 'Plan B anyone?' I suggested thinking they might laugh me off or do an awkward shuffle in their seats, but they jumped at it and I got emailing publicists and agents which was all very exciting.
I guess the worst thing about work experience these days, is that it rarely, if ever, leads to a job. There are no jobs for it to lead to!

Anyway, I think I'm forgetting that I am Gutsy Grad and even with only £20 in my pocket, thousands of pounds of debt around my neck and a growing sense of worthlessness, I WILL find a job!

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