I grew up always wanting to go to university, I knew from half way through secondary school that I wanted that life, I just had the issue of never knowing what I wanted to do once there. As I grew, my lack of direction never really cleared up, but I became increasingly aware that it was creeping up on me at an intrepid rate and that scared me. I worked 36 hours a week during my A-levels so that I could actually afford to go to university, and knew that I would need a job within 6 months if I were to live comfortably - which was always the aim.
I tend to consider myself part of the doomed generation. A bit high impact I know. But I will explain why: Throughout school, the kids 1988-90 were taught to stay in school and get your degree because it is a guarantee of a better life and it is the one thing that can never be taken away from you. But, as our young lives progressed something horrible was happening and it can only be called the devaluation of the undergrad degree. I was a realist, I knew that a degree was no longer a guarantee of a £25k+ job directly linked to your academic subject and I went out at 16 and got myself one of those fandangled jobs that the oldies were always moaning about; and it was excellent - I had money, a lot of money, and could have anything that I wanted, but ultimately it was the experience that was of the greatest benefit.
It has been 16 months since I finished my exams, 15 since I graduated from Lancaster University and I am a Politics and International Relations graduate working for the branch network of one of the world's largest retail banking groups. Now let me be clear, I never envisioned myself working for a bank, let alone doing it after my degree, but I took the job for several reasons including the belief that it is always easier to explain an 'entry level' job than to justify a 12 month period of unemployment.
As I came out of university, like many graduates, I had a group of friends with different plans: PGCE's, gap years, travelling, masters degrees and the ultimate 'wait for the perfect job', I took a different approach and applied for any job that would pay me a comfortable salary until the public sector jobs market picked up; I was successful within 4 weeks and chose a job that affords me an extremely comfortable lifestyle. This success isn't due to my proximity to great jobs (ie London), no, I live in a former wool mill city in Yorkshire. This success is due to my desire to have a job, to have money and to at least live as well as I did at university.
However, I acknowledge that I am one of the lucky ones; every day I can guarantee that Facebook or Twitter will be littered with rants from my friends about their joblessness, the struggles of the job market and how they can't get that job as a nuclear & subatomic physicist or as a post-modernist literature critic that they so long for. Additionally, with nearly 1million people under 24 out of work, I find it completely baffling that I still receive 13 emails a day with the latest job opportunities, and phone calls every week from recruitment consultants. I honestly believe, with every ounce of my being, that if your desire to be employed is great enough, then there is nothing stopping you from finding a job, even if it means pushing your pride or ego to one side.