|Image by Will Folsom|
In the current state of the economy, a degree doesn’t give you a golden ticket straight into employment or an express route into a coveted internship. Graduates are expected to earn a salary of less than £20,000 a year, according to a survey at totaljobs.com. The results demonstrated that a third of graduates are still looking for employment after six months. At the end of 2011, figures showed that 18.9% of recent graduates remained unemployed, meaning that one in every five graduates had become a statistic for the broken promise of education.
Why do we lower our expectations and settle for anything less than we deserve? I’ve admitted to probably having to work a bar job to pay my bills while I build up my portfolio and do unpaid work experience. The most I can hope for is shaking Martinis, or gulp- pulling pints, also known as the less glamorous bar job. The first couple of years of a graduate are challenged with high expectations, and graduates are punched in the face with a brick wall of grim disappointment. Three years of education, student loans that I can’t pay back, and stress lines making their way across my face. Now where’s my compensation for that? My comfort is that I went to university before the tuition fee hike, so for the undergraduates of 2012, we are the lucky ones. This is another reason I will end up in New York, at least I could probably work in Times Square dressed as the Cookie Monster while I blog about it in my spare time instead of serving pints of Carling.
New graduates also have to embrace the use of networking. With even work experience becoming as competitive as job hunting, networking becomes paramount to our futures if we have any chance of getting one. I like to think of job hunting, and networking, like a graduate version of the Hunger Games. Brutal and unashamed, we’re utilising new tools for survival and practically wearing neon lights above our heads pleading ‘pick me’. The old shy girl act may work if you’re trying to endear people to you on a daily basis, but a meek mouse routine will get you no where in the professional world. Know what you need to know, and know it well.
A list of failures, job interviews, broken relationships, shattered friendships, the ties that bind us are our shared failures and our shared experiences. Where’s the support group for graduates, who have worked so hard only to be met with a road that leads to no where except home? Drinks are on me, so here’s to us.
Side Note: I consider my pot of gold in my need to find one, the desire to keep going and never to settle. That alone is truth that I haven’t given up. Success lies in my accomplishments, and I will not see myself as a failure if I’m job hunting for the next year. Human beings are selfish creatures, no matter how much we fight it, we look out for ourselves. I have one, maybe two people I’d put before myself. Oh, and my dog. Especially my dog. People are fickle, don’t ever allow yourself to compromise for anything less than victory.