2 May 2012

This Is The End, Beautiful Friend

I have a job!!!! Ha ha, never did I think I would utter those sweet, sweet words of glory. I am now a Production Assistant at the very prestigious Bloomsbury Publishing in their Academic Department. If you don't know Bloomsbury, you should - they were the clever people who published Harry Potter. I will however, be working less with Muggles, Witches and Wizards and more with revolutions, wars and philosophies. This is certainly the end of monotonous job searches and cover letters and CVs and bitter bitter rejection. Hooray! It has taken me around 8 months of searching, over 40 jobs applied to, less than half of those replied to, over 100 tiring waitressing shifts, 5 nerve-racking interviews and 4 work experience placements with great companies.

Reactions to my news varied from people streaming tears down their face and jumping up and down on the spot for about five minutes to a simple 'wow that's great....but what about the blog?' Aah the selfish human mind - always looking to get something for itself out of a situation. I am, of course, joking and never fret, this is not the end of our beautiful relationship dear readers (even if some of you were dying to get rid of me!).

I did contemplate ending it all here, signing off in a dramatic statement of typed words flooding the internet with their poignancy. After all, I can't write anything bad about the new job (not that I think I'll need to) for fear of being fired before I've even taken off, and let's face it... who really wants to read about how well someone is doing and how happy they are? People want to to see how miserable and stressed everyone else is so that they don't feel like a total failure themselves. I know I do. It seems however, that there is still a lot to be written about the graduate experience and the terrible job market we are in at the moment.

I don't claim to be a bearer of all knowledge on the subject but I do think that if I can offer up some advice or just a little bit of courage to anyone about to graduate or looking for a job, then this blog still has a semblance of a life. I still feel angry about the way many of my job applications were handled. I still believe that universities don't offer up enough practical advice about entering into a weak labour market. And I still believe that we need to shift the blame from jobless graduates who are labelled lazy or stuck-up and take a deeper look at what is really holding them back.

In September of 2011, I was one of thousands of graduates unable to find a job that used the skills I gained at university. With the 2012 graduates about the join us, it looks set to get even more difficult. Here's my message of hope however - If I can do it so can you. And until that point, we shall both keep fighting the objects that stand in the way. I'm on your side - job or no job.  


26 April 2012

The Luck of the Draw

I don't know whether I was green with envy or just plain sick but the number of high end designer coats I handled yesterday was insane. It was Dolce & Gabanna after Prada after Burberry, and so much fur; god knows how many dead animals I hung on a coat hanger. What did I expect when I was the coat check girl for a very very expensive jewellery shop on New Bond Street? When I say expensive, I mean some of those jewels would have bought several houses.

While a few of the clientèle were almost ridiculous - botoxed faces that looked like masks and 40 year old bodies pushed into see-through black dresses - the owner of the shop was actually quite normal. Once they had discovered I was more than just a waitress (actually we are all always, more than just waitresses) they told me about how their son had just graduated from Manchester (ha...Nottingham is better!) and was going to be in the same situation as me soon.

Well, this got me thinking... is he actually going to have to face the same obstacles as me? His parents own a spectacular diamond shop and they know countless extremely wealthy and connected people. A reader of this humble little blog recently stressed to me how much luck comes into the equation. They wrote

'Even the work ethic required to complete a law or medical degree is established by a certain amount of luck. Lucky to have nurturing parents, lucky to have wealth (for most), lucky to have the correct set of genes to use a certain side of the brain, lucky to be taught from an early age how to manage time. With 7 billion people on earth, there's more pressure than ever to be perfect' 

Well it seems that my luck has dried up, or at least it's in drought. I was lucky enough to have parents who gave me decent enough genes to do well at my education, pushed me to take on lots of extra curricular activities and who taught me how to communicate well. Certainly there are people born into far unluckier circumstances than myself.

I'm not the kind of person however, who wishes to leave it all up to luck. While several factors are playing in my favour in the 'rat race' I also believe that most of my good fortune has come about through sheer hard work. The luckiest person in the world wouldn't get the job of their dreams without at least trying.

Well here's a test for you life... I recently had a very exciting interview at Bloomsbury publishing for my ideal role in their academic division. It went really well - the interviewer seemed to like me, I answered the questions naturally and comprehensively. I left feeling good about it but I was only the second interviewee and they had several other candidates to see after me. I'll know if I got the job by tomorrow.  Come on luck, open the flood barriers again and pour your glorious water all over me because this drought is starting to slowly suck the life out of me.

15 April 2012

Selling My Soul

Hold the press! The kindly people from the JobCentre have revoked their decision to offer me absolutely no money at all while I search diligently for a job and have instead decided to award me the incomprehensible sum of 88p per week.

While it is awfully kind of them to reconsider my economic position in society all the way from their offices in Scotland, this now means that I have to provide proof of my job searching activities and go to the JobCentre every other week to sign on in order to claim my 88p. I'm going to say it again out of sheer disbelief.... 88p.

Please, please keep your money and preferably shove it somewhere unmentionable. Or at least give it to a more useful, less time-wasting cause. This is absolute bureaucracy gone mad and I refuse to participate in it. All it means is that I am now the government's female dog and must adhere to their ridiculous laws in order to get my bone... and a measly old bone it is too.

I have just got back from Berlin, a city that was not so long ago divided by a wall and whose inhabitants (at least in the East) were often forced into conspiring with the secret police in order to get their daily bread. Have I essentially just sold my right to live a free and private life for the price of a loaf of bread? I don't want to get carried away with comparisons here but I'm a historian (or so they told me at university) and so I like to make historical connections between our present day and past occurrences. It was Pasha in Doctor Zhivago who claimed "the private life is dead in Russia". Perhaps the private life here is dying? How many national databases share our private information every day? How many people sell their privacy for 88p?

While I don't have to be a part of this, I refuse to be. Ironic really, considering the fact that I am blogging my life to the world, but at least that is of my own choosing. And plus, I like to think it is my own minute political stand. Better ring the JobCentre now and tell them I choose not to sell my soul for 88p and I really haven't found them the least bit helpful. After all, I am the one who has just secured myself work experience at Time Out Magazine. I can't wait to get some more experience. It may be unpaid but even they are offering me travel expenses and £2 for my lunch each day... I might even be able to afford some sandwich fillings for my bread now.

6 April 2012

No Job, No Benefits...No Nothin'

I'm not really sure whether this is positive or negative factor on my life as a whole but I have been refused Job Seeker's Allowance. After putting myself through two rather un-fun trips to sign on at my local Job Centre Plus and diligently noting down the ways in which I had been searching for jobs to prove that I should be allowed the benefit, it has all come to, well, nothing

I have to admit it did seem stupid writing down all the jobs I had applied for and going along to the centre like a naughty child who now has to keep a record of all their homework. The lady I showed it to didn't even look at it properly and decided to pick out the one job that I was not proud of applying for.... sales assistant at Victoria's Secret. (I couldn't resist the call of discounted undies). I hadn't even received the letter telling me whether or not they were going to give me the Allowance. Well, they're not, the stingy buggers, because apparently I earn wayyy too much. Now I do see where they are coming from. My waitressing jobs can sometimes earn me around £52 a week, the amount the government claims we need to live, but they don't always. In the off months I can get far less than that. Should I just quit my job and re-claim? That's hardly an honest way to live and plus I know that I would just get bored bored bored without some kind of work distraction. If the government aren't going to help me, I shall just have to keep trying to help myself. And by this I do not mean pickpocketing the wealthy iPad users on the tube.

I did not get the internship I wanted. I got a nice reply from the internship agency saying that the interviewer enjoyed meeting me and said that I would be a great addition to anyone's team, however, they needed someone to work 5 days a week. Huh? I do not recall mentioning I couldn't work full time? What followed was a series of emails to clear up the mistake. The astute interviewer had got me 'confused' with another candidate. Fantastic. So when I thought we were getting on really well and all having a laugh together, actually it turns out he was probably just flirting with his co-worker and getting distracted from the real task at hand. The more I interview, the more enraged I feel  at the way I am treated. Needless to say, I no longer want to work for them anyway. So ha. 

Before I revert completely to my childish self, I will offer some words of hope. I have had work with a wonderful new start-up website over the last few days (earning real money... insane, I know) and made some great contacts in the travel journalism industry. I'm also off to do some travel of my own in Berlin over the next few days so I'll say ta-ra for now, or auf wiedersehen as they say over there, and with any luck I'll return with a head full of inspiration and a belly full of beer and sausages. Here's hoping.   


20 March 2012

A Delightful Trip to the Local Jobcentre Plus

It seems that life is determined to take me full circle. Having started this blog with a post about the Jobseeker's Allowance, I can now confirm that I have taken the almighty step into my local 'sign on a die a bit' centre. This decision was not taken lightly - after looking for work for around eight months I finally decided that I probably deserved to be earning some kind of governmental benefit purely out of pity. So there we are, I have officially signed on. Well, that is if my application goes through. Because I have been doing part time work I'm not sure if it will - but the rules say that you can claim if you work less than 16 hours a week and are searching for full time work, which I am I am I am!

The centre itself was somewhat like a book. Do NOT judge it by it's cover. I have to say I was a bit nervous about the whole deal. Strangely, what popped into my head first was what to wear. How do I appear not so bedraggled that I am mistaken for one of the drunks who regularly collects their dole, yet not so smart that I seem well-off and get robbed on my way out? Decisions. In the end I went for a jeans and pumps option which seemed to do nicely as I'm still very much alive and the security guard didn't throw me out.

Once I'd passed an angry looking drunk man smoking a strangely pungent roll-up on my way in I suddenly realised that I wasn't actually in a hell hole. Quite the opposite in fact. The room looked new and clean and it was quiet yet weirdly, very weirdly, friendly. I signed in and plonked myself down on a comfy sofa, feeling rather better than I had ten minutes ago. The butterflies flew off and I waited calmly to be seen.

While sitting and waiting for twenty minutes however, the cracks began to appear. Firstly, the over-abundance of security guards became a bit of an alarm bell. In a room about twenty by eight  metres big, there were at least ten guards. They were all very friendly looking but I couldn't help wondering why quite so many of them were needed. Then, as I was ushered into a small office room to meet my advisor I was faced by a one inch thick pane of what I can only presume was bullet-proof glass. As I passed my documents through the tiny slit in the window and signed a million forms I imagined how many angry jobseekers there were. I felt like I was in a prison at visiting hours. Angry as I was, I wasn't about to shoot 'em up.

Finally, when asked what kind of jobs I was looking for I have to admit I felt darned stupid answering 'editorial assistant roles in journalism or publishing'. Apparently, that job spec isn't even on the national Jobseekers Plus computer system. Timidly I added, 'or PA/secretarial roles' to downplay the 'I'm a posh twat with a degree' side of my application. After being handed a flyer about a local job fair where I was told I could apply for roles at Greg's the bakery, I left the centre as hurriedly as possible with some sense of my pride intact. Not that I mind working in a shop, I just applied to a job in the new Westfield, only, I could have found out that gem of a work opportunity on my own thanks.

So I haven't moved far from square one... it's all snakes and ladders really and I was never much good at that game. I am waiting for hear back from an interview I had with a small publishing company for an internship. It would be amazing, nay spectacularly amazing if I got the job. I'll keep you posted.

7 March 2012

Snobs We Are Not!

It's official says the Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail and even the Metro... graduates these days are NOT stuck-up job/education snobs who are unwilling to take on a job they believe is beneath them. According to BBC Education reporter Judith Burns, "recent graduates are more likely to be working in lower-skilled jobs than they were 10 years ago, new figures suggest." 

So no more of this grad hating please. Stop moaning that we are too proud to work in Tesco or the Pound Shop after having spent £3,500 a year (now more like £9,000 may I remind you) on a full time degree because, actually, many of us are doing just that. Well, more of us than were doing so 10 years ago anyway. We're waiters, promotions staff, shelf-stackers and call centre workers. 

So next time you try blaming us for our unemployment, think twice.

One stand-out statistic shows that the most worthwhile degrees to take are definitely practical. Medicine and dentistry come out on top in terms of wage per hour, closely followed by mathematical sciences, architecture and engineering. And where does History stand? Second from last, beating only the Arts. Typical! Why didn't someone tell me this before I spent over £12,000? In all honesty though I could never have been a doctor. I can't even talk about needles, let alone administer them - I fainted like the pansy I am when  had my BCG for goodness sake. Dentistry doesn't exactly appeal to me either come to think of it. Though I can't imagine staring into random strangers open mouth chasms is that appealing to anyone. 

Maybe I should have chosen a healthy medium and studied law. Law graduates seem to be doing OK. I reckon I could settle a few over-the-fence disputes for £16.95 an hour. Actually just saying those words made me yawn. Or is it the fact that it is 23:30 and I should be asleep? No, pretty sure it's the law thing. 

Still, those of us who are employed seem to be doing better than non graduates who are earning far less than those with a degree. According to the recent research, the average non-graduate hourly wage is £8.92 - which is still more than I, and most waiting staff, earn per hour - but far less than the average graduate wage of £15.18 per hour. Considering the fact that a third of graduates are in 'low skilled' jobs and graduate unemployment is at roughly 25%, it is clear that the lucky ones employed in the above mentioned career areas are the ones earning all the money. Not that studying medicine for 7 years and getting a job is lucky - no one will deny the work that goes into that. 

It's a shame I wasn't cut out for the mathematical sciences or for blood and guts surgery. I'm a word-smith. My brain functions in other ways. Do I deserve to be punished for this? Ha, probably just for the pure arrogance of that sentence. Seriously though, stop with the grad-bashing culture of blame and don't forget that we are all in this together. And to all you unemployed grads out there... keep a little bit of pride. No matter what they say.  


28 February 2012

Am I Just A Number?

I really don't want to be done for libel but I'm about ready to turn an unfamiliar shade of puce and start yelling awful things on the streets of London about a particular company we shan't name here. It seems to me that not only do jobseekers have to contend with a worsening job market, fewer jobs, redundancies, never-ending applications and inevitable rejections, alongside all of this, we are treated in an almost inhumane way.

HR, headhunters - we are all just numbers to them.

I recently did an interview for the role of Publishing Assistant with a certain magazine. It went surprisingly well considering it was the first interview I've ever had for a job that I actually really want. I wasn't a shaking ball of nerves, I actually remembered everything I had read about the company on their website and, after I left, the recruitment company rang me to say that the interviewers really liked the way I had answered the questions and that I had a second interview.

The next week was spent diligently practising my practical skills. I printed off proofreading tests and even watched every single video on YouTube narrated by a geeky American middle-aged man about how to use Adobe InDesign. Needless to say this all took hours and I turned down shifts at work in order to be at my best as well as turning down another work experience placement at the Daily Mail.

It's Thursday evening, the night before my interview and I'm in Tesco buying aubergines or something, when my phone rings. In two minutes my soul was shattered. The guy from the recruitment agency tells me that the company decided to go with someone else.... before even giving me my second interview. Cue me wandering forlornly through Tescos with my aubergines and wondering whether I should just take a job there instead.

I just don't understand. Why tell me this the night before my interview? In my eyes, I am not only down one job interview, I am also down at least £40 worth of work and a weeks worth of experience. If they thought someone was better than me, why did they ask me to do a second interview? I thought they were really great people when I met them but now I'm glad that I'm not working there if they treat people like this. I got from over 300 applicants down to the last 5 and I was still just a number to them.

In my eyes, all job applications should receive a letter/email of  recognition, followed by one saying whether or not you have made it to the next stage. The number of applications I've spent hours on to receive absolutely zilch back from is countless. Even an automated email would be something. So far I feel like the people in charge of actually giving us jobs are cold-hearted machines. I don't know whether it's their fault or that of the economy/job market but it's still not acceptable.

Perhaps I should go into HR myself and revolutionise the way job applications are processed. None of this computerised CV sorting. We need real jobs for real people. 

20 February 2012

Rose Tinted Spectacles?

My friends and I have decided that buses, men and job interviews are all alike: None turn up for ages and then they all come along at once. 

After applying for so many jobs I lost count, I now have two very useful agencies working to find me a job, have had two interviews and have been called back for a second interview by one company. I am yet to figure out how, after several months (seven to be precise) I have suddenly got some responses to my applications but it has happened. Perhaps the world really is 'all connected' and buses, men and interviews disappear into the same deep black hole, only to resurface when they believe they have truly tested your patience to the max? Or perhaps I just got far better at writing cover letters, British traffic is awful and there is a time of year when a woman appears far more attractive? Either way, it does seem that things might be on the up

I'm not going to hedge my bets just yet; count the chickens and all that, but I do feel that even if I don't get any of the jobs I have been interviewing for, I am getting closer. When I say jobs, one of said jobs is actually a three month internship - expenses only and no 100% promise of a job at the end of the placement. I guess I'm just lucky enough to live at home because God knows how any young person without substantial savings/a timely inheritance could afford to do such a job. 

Still... the world is definitely a brighter shade of pink right now and I'm somewhat on my way to becoming a self-sufficient 22-year old. It's about bloody time really isn't it? With any luck you won't find my next post to be a reversal of this new breed of optimism I'm cultivating within. It would probably be best for us all. 

6 February 2012

Romance for the Poor

The beautiful day of the year where we get 'the chance' to show our loved one how we truly feel is nearly upon us. Trust me, it will sneak up on you. I know we're not supposed to buy into all that commercialisation crap - red roses, love poems and candlelit dinners - but if there is a country who could do with a good old fashioned dose of forced romance, Britain is it. It is forged in the iron of our blood that we don't partake in fanciful hand-holding or too much hugging. Italians and the French even greet strangers with a few kisses on the cheek for God's sake. We prefer an arms length handshake, nice and firm and far from lingering. On Valentine's Day then, we get the chance to act for one day like Giuseppe or Jean-Pierre and cast off the shackles of being a stoic Brit.

During this delightful economic recession, where many, including my highly educated, motivated and experienced self, have no real jobs, how do we 'do' Valentine's day on a budget? A dozen red roses on Valentine's day can cost up to at least £40, chocolates increase in price if they are vaguely pink or heart shaped and the cost of dinner menus in nice restaurants double. I decided to do my research. Where better place to turn to than the wonders of the world wide web, for answers from impoverished and ever-insightful ask.com users?

Here is a tip from a certain destitute romantic. Try bathing together, as besides the fact that it is all highly romantic and bubbly (if you can afford bubble bath), you are also saving on water. Hooray! A lean, green Valentine's day, how terrific. Later we can reuse the teabags we are drying out on the washing line. Took the romance out of that one didn't I?

Advice from another blog owner called for us to surprise our lover at work by turning up, sweeping them off their feet and taking them on a surprise lunch date. If my boyfriend did that to me it would unfortunately be completely and utterly futile and probably get me fired. As a waitress, I get either no, or around a 20 minute lunch break - just enough to stuff a sandwich in my mouth fast enough to give me indigestion - and in no way am I actually allowed to leave the building. For an industry which prides itself on luxurious dinners and events, there is just no romance in catering. The same blogger goes on to remind her readers that they should not attempt this move if their partners are 'embarrassed' by them. I feel like this may be some kind of warning to her own partner, in which case, this does not sound like the healthiest of relationships and any advice given should be ignored.

One that makes me laugh the most is men's advice to each other to 'do some chores'. Apparently it costs nothing to sweep or hoover the floor, put some washing in and iron a few shirts....who would have thought it? What really gets me, is the fact that these men don't exactly find it romantic when their female counterparts do these things every day. Forgive me if I don't want to melt into your arms at the sight of you attempting to hoover the stairs. On the other hand, it might provide a few laughs and I'm not exactly going to stop you.

My advice for us out-of-pocket loved up grads, is to remember what you did when you were an out-of-pocket loved up student. Cook your own romantic meal together, buy some cheap but yummy plonk from the corner shop and watch a DVD cosied up in bed. We may be skint this year, but please, change the bath water, don't get your partner fired and most of all, remember, a hoover is not just for Valentine's Day.      

30 January 2012

The Freelance Entrepreneur

With graduate employment as stinkingly low as it is, it's high time we took earning money into our own hands. While my expert waitressing skills get me enough money to ensure my impending death is not quite so impending, my income needs a little bit of a boost if I wish to save a single penny. Hence, I am going to test the freezing waters of entrepreneurship and freelance journalism.

While part of me really just wants to sell Vietnamese Banh Mi (the best steak sandwich in the world) from a food stall on Brick Lane, I have realised that this is actually more complicated and expensive than ever anticipated. Plus, I'm not Vietnamese, I don't have public liability insurance and while the sandwiches are heavenly, I'm not sure I could ever look one in the face again after making and serving over 500 of them every month. Still, I know what I'm having for lunch today.

I did try the E-Bay route for a while. Selling my old clothing however, got a tad depressing, especially when I realised that no one really wanted a fluorescent pink top or my old bra. Not surprisingly really, but I had hoped that there might be people out there more desperate than me.

Back to the serious stuff, I am going to test my writing skills on the local papers and magazines and see if they want to publish my works of brilliance. This egotistical speak is not entirely serious, don't worry, it's just me trying to stay absolutely positive. Pure banter. So, when I'm not working as a deluxe waitress, I will be coming up with articles to send to local papers or supplements. I'll fill you in pretty soon on whether or not this is going well as soon as I've banged out a few of my letters to editors. Unfortunately I seem to work best at night and seeing as how I have to be up for work nice and early for an eleven hour shift it looks like I won't be getting a wink of sleep tonight, let alone forty.

18 January 2012

Spam Attack!

So I just found out that I've been fooling myself all along. The hundreds of views which I was so proud to be racking up on my page count are mostly something evil called referer spam. OOOOH I hate spam - whether it's electronic, paper or meat based, it is the absolute bane of my life. How dare these Russian spam artists take over my blog stats and make poor unknowing people click on their links! Of course, I clicked on them - pride got the best of me and I wanted desperately to know who it was looking at my posts. Well, turns out it's no one. And their sites are rubbish. Humph.

99% of the mail I receive is generally tut. Emails getting me to sign up to yet more job sites where I can advertise myself and my manifold skills by posting my CV on line... and get no responses whatsoever. Letters from the NHS wishing me Happy New Year and offering me a free Chlamydia test. Yay. It's just what I always wanted! Then there's the the ones from every single voucher company available on this planet offering me half price spa days and manicures. While I could definitely do with one of those right now - my nails are worn down from a combination of washing up since the dishwasher broke and general anxiety - I can't actually afford their lovely and slightly pointless offers. There was one exciting thing I got in the post however; a Graze box. Four little compartments of healthy, tasty, nutritious treats, intended to ward off the 4 o'clock snack attack. And...it was FREE! So at least I'm sticking to my New Year's Resolutions. Save money and snack healthily. In fact I'm nibbling upon some chilli and lime pistachios right this very instant. Yum.

Oh yeah, guess what? I got promoted again. In that job that I thought I'd never go back to. A 50p per hour pay rise, more seniority and the task of reporting on staff members who dare to turn up with a hair bobble coloured other than black or with beard stubble. It seems that I am perhaps destined to become a worker in the catering and events industry after all. Or is it the bitching industry? I'll have to work that one out. Either way, they are the only ones who seem to want to hire me right now. And the only people who send me emails which aren't spam - although how eager I am to receive said emails is another matter.

12 January 2012

Sentencing Tired Career Advice to Death

Call me a moaning Myrtle, or however the saying goes but there comes a point where career advice just becomes patronising. Now I'm not an ungrateful person - my friends will gladly tell you how much I can love and appreciate almost any silly little thing on this planet - I'm just not stupid either.

Let's start with the classic. "You just have to keep applying to everything until something comes up." Really? Because I thought that maybe if I stopped applying to things, then they would definitely give me a job. You mean there isn't a job God who looks down from his shiny office in the sky and reads our CVs diligently, handing out dream jobs delivered by angels? Bummer, bang goes my religion. On the other hand, maybe I should try a new method - maybe if I don't apply for jobs I will definitely get one. Hah, that's the other one that gets me - "you just need to be patient, something will come up". Unfortunately, I don't think it quite works like that in reality. If it did, this blog would have blown up and I'd be a top columnist right now. So I think I'm just going to stick with what I know and have been doing for the last few months... endless job applications. I'm still agnostic about the whole CV God thing though.

My favourite piece of advice I have received so far (and about a million times) is "it's all about the connections"...well duh! I don't really say duh, but in this case it's necessary. I am a woman torn. I both love and loathe connections. On the one hand I love meeting new and interesting people and the idea that someone might give you a job or some experience because they take a liking to your personality and they think you can do the job well. On the other hand, the democratic and liberal side of me is screaming out against nepotism and favouritism and calling for equal opportunities for everyone, whether they know people or not. Of course we should use our connections in a professional sense but in a way I know I value the jobs that I got totally on my own by going through every level of the application process even more. I guess that I am in no position to be getting up on my moral high horse in my situation, despite the fact he is rather a comfortable and ethical horse.

At the end of the day, it would be nice to be given a teensy weensy little interview. Just so I can show them how good I would be at the job. My motto, and that of my other unemployed friends has become "we're so hireable!". It's so true. Plus it shows how much we have grown up since the age of fourteen when it was more like "we're so fancyable!" - priorities girls. If I get one more piece of overly-spouted, obvious career advice, I may just have to stamp on it very hard with my new winter boots.

p.s. original career advice always welcome and not stamped upon in a malicious fashion.

2 January 2012


It's the start of  new year. I'd like to say it's time for a new me...but let's keep things simple for now. After an amazing festive season of way too much bubbly (or just way too many general alcoholic units) consumed, far too much rich and delicious food and a whole lot of sitting in front of the television generally not moving for several hours at a time, it is well and truly time for a fresh start. So, some new year's resolutions, which I fully intend to stick to... for at least a month anyway.

1. Swap unhealthy snacks for healthy ones.
A great idea in theory. Carrot sticks and humous instead of crisps and nuts and seeds instead of sweets and chocolate. The only problem is of course, that my whole house is FULL to the brim with an over abundance of unhealthy, extremely tempting snacks teasing me at every turn. There's chocolate in the fridge, on my desk, in the front room and even in the hallway, just sitting there mocking my futile attempt at a resolution. Then, you start to make excuses., Well maybe if I just have one unhealthy snack a day? Before long it's all over and your gorging yourself endlessly, surrounded by a blanket of  pretty coloured foil wrappers. Must...stay...strong.

2. Exercise at least twice a week.
So I'm definitely too poor to join a gym and I hate running in public. The next best option is back to the exercise DVD regime whereby a fit and healthy Davina McCall tells me I'm doing really well all the time and generally gives me self-confidence boosting tips. The draw back with this option is that the DVD player is in the front room which also has a very comfortable sofa in it. Similarly there's no allotted time for said exercise and so I could end up just not doing it at all. But that's not the way I intend to carry on. I will be perfectly toned and fit by the summer I promise myself.

3. Save money.
I have the image of a traveller's dream in my mind for this summer. It involves starting in St Petersburg,  catching the Transiberian from Moscow via Mongolia, to Beiijing and then potentially the ferry to Japan. I do realise that this seems slightly ridiculous right now when I am jobless and penniless but my plan will prevail and  all it will take it finding a job and saving, saving, saving. Plus, I won't be spending any money on unhealthy snacks any more will I? I'm not even sure that I mind too much what the job is really. Of course, if I land my dream job right here, right now, the trip will have to wait but I have come to realise that the likelihood of that happening is close to zero. At least this gives me something to look forward to.

2012 is going to be a good year. With my health (hopefully), my wealth (very hopefully) and my holiday (extremely hopefully) all contributing to a very happy new year.