Huffpost UK Universities & Education
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brian John Spencer Headshot

Graduate: Screw It, I'm Going It Alone

Posted: Updated:

Screw it; I'm done with job applications.

I'm not wasting another hour filling out a stupid job form. Nor will I be wasting my time carrying out tedious numerical and verbal reasoning tests. I will not be writing any more cover letters and I will not be going to any more demeaning interviews or selection days. And never again will I be receiving any crippling rejection letters.

This is a decision made not because I've landed a job or because I've given up. It's a decision I've made because I'm sick of sitting on the side watching the world go by while HR departments and recruitment agencies pick their arse. For too long I've sat by idle, waiting weeks and sometimes months at a time for a response to be returned on a job application I'd made. I've had it up to here with corporate bureaucracy and no longer will I be taken for a ride.

And so after two years of knocking on corporate doors with no success I've decided to go it alone. But what made me decide to take this massive change?

Well, after exhaustively banging on doors I felt awful: lost, dejected and without hope. Then a decision came along that had to be made: either go on a government unpaid internship scheme for 6 months or, enroll on a government coaching programme. I took a gamble and went with my heart; I took an about turn and enrolled on the coaching course.

Straight away I loved it and as the weeks progressed I began to realise, slowly but surely, that the white collar office life wasn't for me. This was at the age of 25, after 5 years of university and after 2 years of unpaid work experience and countless white collar job applications. But I was firm in my conviction; I was sure in my decision. It just took the coaching course for me to realise that I'm too creative and off the wall for the rigidity of the office world. I look back now and ask myself: what was I ever thinking?

I found the coaching course empowering; I loved the interaction and enjoyed the time for reflection and self-discovery. The coaching was worlds apart from the university and office world. It was so immediate and non-bureaucratic. Most importantly it would allow me to be my own boss in charge of my own business affairs. So that was it: I wasn't going to be a boring solicitor. I am going to be a fitness and sports coach (and keep up the writing and paid copyblogging work I've taken on - my real passion!).

I learnt a few valuable things about myself through this process: I realised that society had previously taught me that I had to get an office job and work a 9-5. Growing up, being your own boss simply wasn't done, it wasn't an option, it was a non-starter. Because of that I hadn't chosen to read law for myself; rather I did it because others approved. Society and prejudices had forced me down an avenue that wasn't me.

Yes, at school I was smart, but sport and fitness was where my real passion lay. However a culture pervaded that said you had to do law, medicine, dentistry, economics or one of those high brow degrees. I could never have done sports science; that would have been a waste. Well that's what society said.

But what is done is done. The main thing is I'm happy now and I'm very comfortable with the avenue that I'm now travelling down. I feel a lot freer. I have very real ambitions to make it in the fitness and coaching world and feel that my goals are very achievable.

My main priority now is to focus on grounding myself in this career. But I want a few other things: I want to help unemployed graduates and NEETs - because I too know the ills of youth unemployment. I also want to smash the prejudices that prevent young people from following their heart and doing what they love. I want to tell young people to let their ideas and creativity loose; they can be their own boss and they can be in charge of their own destiny. Finally, I also want to smash the falsity that has for far too long taught that university is the key to success - because quite simply, it isn't.