In the last months of university, after completing my dissertation and handing it in, I was tasked with having to write one last piece of work which was basically me saying what I hoped to do when I left university. On that paper, I listed my hopes and targets. I left university in June last year. It is now January, and none of my targets have been met and no job has been offered. No wonder that piece of work only got a C.
I have had approximately two interviews in the last seven months. Both were in the city and both were an absolute waste of bus fare, as much a waste as going to the Job Centre every week was. The second interview wasn't too bad. It was a small company but the people seemed nice. They probably knew I would get bored because the truth is, I would. I would look at my four years studying to become a journalist, as totally wasted in an assistant job. To the guy who clocked my LinkedIn and asked me to consider the job several times before I said yes, thanks a lot.
The first interview was at....what was it called Buchanan Search. Also located in the City, I was met by a hobbit who pretty much assassinated my character in the interview before telling me that with a...bargain basement university on my CV, I should have got a 1:1 to be really impressive, not a 2:1. Never mind the fact that I myself wanted a 1:1 and was told by a teacher not to aim for one and subsequently became upset for several weeks that I never managed to get a first, this guy (David) made me feel smaller than the Pygmy people. I think he sat there in his very ugly striped shirt and thought that the company was clearly doing well enough that he needn't think about how he represented it. In short, dear David made it look like crap.
A few months ago, I sent my CV off to someone called Anthony at 11.33 am. By 11.38, the guy replied saying that I didn't meet the criteria. This guy gets the award for quickest rejection ever! Seriously, in five minutes he was supplied, he denied and then replied. When I also replied back to his premature rejectulation, he asked me to resend the CV so he could give feedback. Get on yer bike! If you don't have my CV in your inbox when it was sent five minutes ago, its clear you're nothing.
Seven months later, I've reached that point where I'm starting to become an egg. Hardboiled. I've developed a shell that is tough and is rarely cracked by anything good. I have the pleasure of being on Facebook and sadly, that's nothing but a daily reminder of all the people who have work and feel the need to give daily office updates. Rest assured for those who will bother to read this, I don't dislike you. When I get a job, I'll be the same.
As I was saying, I am an egg now. I am an egg that has been hard boiled and left in the fridge and now secretes some kind of pongy odour that makes people play the fridge door game, trying desperately to get all desired items by time the door closes. At least, that is how I feel that the job world sees me. I have now become one of those people who quickly and loudly defends jobless graduates when the Conservatives on Question Time sit there with their stately homes and pedigree cocker spaniels called Duke and loudly proclaim that we graduates are not looking hard enough.
Rest assured I look hard enough. I have applied to every London newspaper, many corporations and many organisations. I hit the '150 Guardian Job applications sent' mark last week. I had so many, they had to delete some off the system. I am someone who is actively looking. In seven months of being knocked back, I try not to feel the stab of uselessness that comes with every rejection. I try not to feel like a letdown to my family when I get a call from someone from an annoying agency who calls me with their nasally voices and ask what my experience is (EVEN THOUGH ITS ON MY CV) and then decides that its not worth pursuing this with me. I try not to let it get to me when my father tells me I should have been a doctor because by now, I'd be in work and I try to not to let it get to me when my aunts ask why I don't provide for my family.
This is not like Benefit Street. I claim no benefits and get no help. I do not sit here on a flash laptop, tapping away my dislike of every job filled Facebook update whilst sucking Silk Cut and not looking for work at all. I am someone who is trying. I am trying so hard that I check job emails at two am when they are fresh in my inbox. I wake up at 7am and furiously check my inbox again in case anyone has emailed about an interview even though its between the hours of 7am-9am. After finding basically nothing, I go back to sleep because nothing has happened.
I am writing this because I'm a writer. I need to write to express myself. I am tired, audience. I received my fifth Guardian rejection today and I decided never to apply again. As someone who IS a culture editor, applying for a culture sub-editor role, is not something too difficult for me to do. Its times like these I look at my experience, my hard working ethic, my portfolio and my 2:1 and wonder what the bloody hell those four years were worth. I'm blessed to have a supportive family and fantastic best friends or else I would be suicidal.
It took being tired of my depressive state at 17, to get back into education and gain my GCSE's and make my way to Goldsmiths and then LCC. I am someone who is not dissimilar from other graduates whose name is laid out on a piece of paper along with qualifications that are rubbished by a total stranger. I've become a hater of the agency. PFJ, Reed etc. All of them. PFJ are so rubbish they don't even write 'dear candidate' at the beginning of their response emails just 'dear'. Agencies block people from being able to get jobs that they actually can do. You know this is the case when you see the job advert six months later still hovering on the internet.
This is an honest blog post because the truth is, I am struggling. I am thankful for every freelance position I have that keeps me a bit busy and I'm thankful for my partner in crime who I hang out with on Saturdays. I am someone who has work in my blood. I come from a family of workers and I am someone who worked myself. I should not have it so tough but I do. The truth is that there are people out there who will do nothing but waste your time. There are people who will not even spend a minute on your CV and cover letter.Whether its a small company or the Guardian itself, when they don't care, they do not care. Its tough.
To all of those who are part of the job seeking audience and every graduate who feels worthless, hold on. When we get jobs, we will be so happy we will become fried eggs, not hard boiled. I feel better having written this. I will eventually get a job and then I will be able to humblebrag and moan just like everyone else on Facebook. Until then, I'm avoiding eggs......