In our society, if you want something, you go out and buy it. Getting a job is one of the few instances where money is completely irrelevant. A job is quite literally priceless, so at some point someone is going to reject you from a dream opportunity and there'll be nothing you can do about it. For once in our consumerist society, wanting isn't getting...
I recall memorising the timeline of human prehistory when I was twelve - Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic - from the fresh first pages of my history textbook. It was past midnight, and their quirky names numbed my tongue and befuddled my brain. Nevertheless, I forcibly committed them to memory, motivated by the promise that hard work at school will one day pay off...
When I was applying for graduate jobs I clearly remember filling in one of the application forms that asked me: do you consider yourself to have a disability? There was a box to tick if you did. I had no idea why they wanted to know and my immediate assumption was that if I ticked the box, they wouldn't want me.
People looking for their first job have long had a raw deal in the labour market. The effects of the financial crisis in 2008 meant employers disproportionately scaled back recruitment of entry level jobs and the most recent ONS statistics concerning those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) say there are still 954,000 young (16 -24) NEETs.
It's been a while since my last blog post and a lot has changed over the last few months. My previous posts were all about being a graduate and how I was coping with the shock of the real world. Well, I'm still coping with the shock of the real world but as it's 2015 and indeed a good six months since I graduated, I think I must officially call myself a grown up...
Now, more than ever, leadership is not; a job description, a set of duties or a checklist of tasks, nor is it a set of theories or processes that individuals can simply implement. Leadership may incorporate these things, but it is also a set of behaviours - including: encouraging, challenging, inspiring and communicating (both in the sense of speaking and of listening).
You've got so much to look forward to. You naïve little fresher, keep safe, don't overdo it on nights out, do not buy a hip flask or order mayonnaise on chips after nights out. Have fun, relax, try not to worry too much, apply for that work experience you think you won't get. Make the most of university how you want to spend your time. I'm sending you lots of love. You'll be fine. I know you will.
Unpaid internships are just a prelude to a lifetime of low pay, normalising the idea that money earned is not enough to live off... the hourglass economy is a visual metaphor that describes the disappearance of middle income jobs, but at its heart there is a fallacy. We are not a country divided by earnings, so much as by assets - and this is especially true for the young.
I have been unemployed for the best part of the last three years. Despite a couple of creative successes it wasn't viable to lead an existence on the back of these, so I had to look for a real job. I did try to achieve this, but I wasn't getting any results so I was told that perhaps I wasn't trying hard enough.
While unpaid internships certainly present a big problem for socially mobile students, it would be wrong to dismiss the benefits that internships can provide; internships are a mutually beneficial exercise, especially when the employer makes them meaningful, and the intern learns and develops their skills (not in tea-making for varying tastes, of course).
It looks unlikely that the job market will ever become tame but that does not mean it cannot be bested. It is up to us as individuals to bring as much as we can to the table when it comes to the assault course of assessment centres and interviews faced when we graduate from university. And so as repetitive as it may seem, it really is worth minding the gap.
British engineering is facing a serious skills shortage. Yesterday, the think tank IPPR published a report claiming that 'an additional 87,000 graduate level engineers will be needed in the UK each year between now and 2020' in order to meet growing demand, but that 'the higher education system is only producing 46,000 engineering graduates annually'. Well as a starter for ten, that maths doesn't look good.
A fresh influx of excited faces will flood through university doors this month. It is a scary and exciting time but it is also a period of great expectation and it can be hard to prepare for such a massive change in your life's direction... In many ways I wish someone had told this to me on my first day at university.