I've been unemployed for three months. This is a huge shock to my system. I haven't been unemployed since I was 17. I'm 22 now so this is 5 years of constantly being employed. Before I came to Uni, I worked at McDonald's during my A-Levels. Then while I was at University I worked at the cafe on campus during term time and came back to work in McDonald's when I was on break. I've always had a job. (If any potential employers are reading this, check out that work ethic) Even when I cut back on my hours to focus on my dissertation, I was still working; Uni was basically a full time job that you paid to do. So it feels a little odd being unemployed. (And by odd, I mean it's absolutely terrible, god I miss when my life had purpose. Please, please hire me, I'm desperate) However, I have learnt some things in my months of being unemployed, and I wish to share them with you all. I hope you enjoy my hard learned pearls of wisdom.
1. Time is an illusion. My mum gets home from work at roughly 4 in the afternoon. She usually finds that I am still in my dressing gown and often haven't got out of bed. Occasionally, I am in fact, still asleep. But now I am not catering to the time schedule set out by 'big business' and 'the government', I do things when I feel like. There is no reason not to have spag bol at 1 in the morning. There is no reason not to have a cocktail at 10am. There is no reason not to stage a one-woman performance of Hamilton at 2pm alone in my room. That last one may have been influenced by the previous one. You have been lied to, my friends, time should not dictate your life.
2. Degrees are worth diddly squat. I have a first class honours degree in Political Science from the University of Birmingham. It's a damn good degree. Can I get a job? No, dear friends, I cannot. It's not like I lazed about at Uni either. I did work experience; I did extra-curricular things. You know when you were in 6th Form and they told you to go to university because it would set you up for life? Turns out, that wasn't true. On a related note, my head of 6th once said we had to go to Uni or else we'd all end up pregnant. I mean, I'm definitely not saying I'd rather have a baby than a degree, but one of those two gives you purpose, and it ain't looking like it's the degree at the moment.
3. The system favours the rich. Now, I knew this before obviously. This is painstakingly clear to anyone with a brain. But I didn't realise until now how much I would be expected to work for free. Every job wants you to have had months and months of work experience, which is unpaid labour. I'm not in a position where I can do that. I'm 22, I need a paying job, because I'm a young adult. Work experience was fine when I was at school, but now? It's unrealistic. Next, consider that I want to go in to journalism. If the next generation of journalists need to be able to do months of unpaid labour to get into the field, they're going to have to have a rich supportive family. I'm not poor, and I can't do it, so the people that can must be loaded. How on earth are we ever going to have fair and unbiased press when the people who make up the press come from that kind of money? It leaves the majority of people without a voice, without representation, without a chance.
4. Being unemployed means you get far too emotionally involved in video games. Now, when I was employed, I stopped having time to play my favourite video game, The Sims. I didn't play any video game for years, and god how that time was wasted. In the 3 months I've been unemployed I've raised my sims families through nearly 4 generations. I nearly shed a tear when I finally got two of my sims married, after basically putting them through the longest slow burn romance ever. Oh who am I kidding? Nearly? Ha, I wept actual buckets.
5. When you're unemployed you really have to celebrate the little joys. I discovered a new way to organise my clothes and it was so life changing I told everyone I know. I can't tell you what a fall in personality this is. I used to be the girl with crazy stories, and now colour-co-ordinating my wardrobe and stacking my clothes upright is as wild as it gets folks. This can't continue. I discovered I liked green tea and that was the only new thing that happened to me for two weeks. I'm scared guys. What if I never have a fun story again?
6. I am extremely happy when anyone at all texts me. I am inside all day. When anyone texts me, I reply in 0.08 of a second because I'm so overjoyed to have someone to communicate with. When you're unemployed, it gets pretty lonely. My one friend who lives locally has a job and so does my boyfriend, so there's no-one to hang out with me. A text makes my day. At university I was surrounded by friends. I lived with two of my best friends; I only had to go to the kitchen for a laugh. Now I'm dependent on WhatsApp for giggles. And myself, but I make terrible jokes, so let's hope I'm not stuck with just me.
7. It's a total myth that we have to shower every day. I think I went 5 days without showering once during these three months. Honestly, when you're unemployed it's like, what's the point, you know? Anyone who showers every day despite being unemployed deserves a medal in my book.
8. No matter how much free time there is in my day, I still will manage to have no time for that morning yoga I always promise to do 'if I have the time'. I'm the goddamn worst.
In conclusion, I've learnt nothing of relevance from my time in unemployment and I need a job ASAP. If you're still at Uni reading this, please enjoy your last few happy months. It's hell out here in the real world, trust me.