This week Huffington Post will highlight the personal stories of young people in five different countries trying to find work during the worst unemployment crisis in generations. In Europe, according to recent figures from the OECD, by January "more than one active youth in three were unemployed in Italy, Portugal and Slovak Republic, and more than one in two in Greece and Spain." The outlook is grim for U.S. youth as well, where youth unemployment hovers at 7.7%; and even in Canada, which has weathered through the global economic crisis better than others, many young people are finding their degrees aren't worth much when up against hundreds of other applicants for a single position. Today's focus is on the UK.
8.00 Wake up : From the moment I open my eyes and wipe away the sleep I know what's in store. A lot of emailing, a lot of research, a lot of looking through job search engines and a lot of procrastination. I'm mentally preparing myself; it's me against the stats.
9.00 Breakfast: Of course by this time I have showered (not bathed - I've got a water bill to pay remember!) and will have done the usual grooming routine consisting of brushing my teeth, a quick comb through my hair with my hand and a spray of deodorant. Breakfast is either going to be budget cereal or if I'm feeling indulgent, scrambled eggs. If you're particularly strapped for cash I suggest eating your cereal with a fork which saves the milk for another day. FYI I'm not in this predicament yet. While eating I watch the morning news. A journalist (me) needs to have a grasp of current affairs and when the newsreader reports the numerous delays on the tube it may just ever so slightly raise your spirits knowing your not stuck down there with the commuters. It's the small things in life.
10.00-1.00 Work: I'm purposely calling this work because unemployment is a full-time job, make no mistake. I send out as many emails as I can asking for work or internships and follow up previous emails which look like they could lead somewhere. I recently emailed roughly 40 magazines and got two replies. Better than none. You have to keep trying because what other option do you really have? One of my favorite sounds at the moment is when you send an email containing an application and you get that "whoosh" sound. It's exhilarating thinking this could be the one that gets me a job. Invariably it won't be but you have to hope.
1.00-2.00 Lunch break: Lunch will normally be soup. Cheap, cheerful and nutritious. I accompany it with a baguette from the co-op for 99p. What's not to love?
2.00-5.00 Work : This is a more relaxed work period. The vibe is more dress down Friday. I can take my suit off at this point (not really, I can't afford one).
5.00-6.00 Talk to People Returning from Work : This is the most challenging part of the day when my flat mates, suited and booted, return from their jobs. The confidence of the employed can be spotted a mile off.
6.00 - 11.00 Evening: Very much like this post as I near the end of the day, I become less productive. This five-hour period will consist of eating, watching TV, surfing the net and general tomfoolery with friends. The urge to spend every night in the pub, which always seems like the best idea at the time, must be overridden by the fact that I have no source of income to pay for those £5 pints. What's worse than being unemployed? Being unemployed and hung-over.
11.00 Bedtime: I like to keep a book on the go as I hope through some sort of literary osmosis I can absorb some writing skills from the pros. Yesterday I finished Point Of Departure by James Cameron (journalist not director). It was the perfect tonic before drifting off, as his anecdotes and excellent writing motivate me to continue my job hunt. Before I fall asleep I think about the things I want to achieve if I secure a job: One day I want to interview interesting people, attend important events, get a front page story, get a back page story, write for a national, help someone else get into journalism, write an article that has a positive influence...........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz