The news popped up on the radio today, as it does I guess, with a story about how UK unemployment has risen to an all time high, with vox pops from worried graduates bemoaning the state of the job market nowadays. Some of the sentences coming out of the mouths of these unlucky few sparked a particular annoyance with me. Now I don’t want to be accused of hypocrisy – a while back I wrote a piece on here detailing the difficulties facing graduates in today’s job market, particularly graduates of art/humanities courses, English Lit. for example. There are clear complications with translating this type of degree to a useful job in the real world, but come on people, think outside the box. I swear some people must be sitting at home searching for jobs on job websites with the words ‘requires English Literature degree’ on the application criteria. It is hard to find a useful job, sure, and possibly harder than it may used to have been, but there is a touch of laziness that doesn’t sit right with me.
The first ‘victim’ of the unemployment scheme supposdely contorted by the government was a girl who had only managed to hand out flyers for a few hours per week since graduating. Now the last lot of people to graduate were those ending their education in the previous academic year, so from around last May to July at the latest. You mean to tell me that a few hours of flyering is the only thing this girl could physically muster? And she’s saying this as if the fault doesn’t lie chiefly with her? Do me a favour love, I know there are no jobs out there, but having a degree does make employment considerably easier – despite the fact that apparently ‘everyone has a degree these days.’ She then went on to add that there is nothing out there available that she wants to do. Wants? Wants?!So paying around £9k for some of the best years of your life was just meant to unlock the door into a job you want? How many people actually love their job to bits, love it day in and day out, and profess to like it? A lot of people I’d imagine, and these people are not necessarily film stars, or professional beer tasters, they are shop managers, bar workers, community support workers, taxi drivers … I could go on. I’m just saying that there is a difference between job satisfaction and desired career. I know this girl probably meant that she is not doing anything that she’d deem a satisfactory career, but the world doesn’t work like that.
Not being self important or anything like that, take a look at me for a minute if you will. I don’t necessarily love my job (supervisor in a clothes retailer) and I don’t necessarily see it as a long term career. So yes, it is a stop gap job – what next you might ask? I want to be a teacher, so I need to plan doing a PGCE, and take it from there, but I don’t go on about my ‘life-plan’ as it were, and neither should you. There is so much reliance on what are you doing, what is this leading to, and graduates that are in shitty jobs at the moment will mostly, I guarantee, protest that their jobs are stop gaps. So what if they are?! In a conversation with, be it a friend, a prospective employer, your hairdresser, don’t lead with that! People worry too much of their status and whether they are achieving their goals without having the patience and determination to try, just a little bit harder (as Janis Joplin would say).
I’m not doing a job I love, nor do I see it as a career plan, but I still work bloody hard, partly because I have to (for rent & bills – sob!) but because I am a driven person, and want to make the most of the skills I have learnt throughout my life so far. The buck doesn’t finish with uni. People think that their hard work has to be rewarded, but life isn’t like that, you have to work hard and keep working to get anywhere at all.
Another victim was a 24 year old male, who kind of summed up my point to a tee. He’s unemployed, and begins his day in the early afternoon (as he doesn’t have a job, poor thing) – He then spends the day trawling job sites, and applies to an average 3 jobs per day – Woah, sorry wait, 3???! I apply to about 3 jobs a day at the moment, as well as working 40 hours a week! He then says that he spends the rest of the day playing on the computer. And there it is, the epitome of the unemployed – A culture of laziness has infected these sorry souls, and I imagine a lot of the unemployed in this country are not applying themselves as best they could in attempts to gain employment. Because maybe it’s comfortable, nice and safe to have a lie in and spend the rest of the day dicking around with a joystick (take from that what you will!)
The piece then turned towards to Cameron’s government. The undeniable rise in unemployment figures does hint at a broader problem that cannot be ignored, but I don’t think David Cameron, nor the Tories (as much as I’d love the chance to slag them off all over the shop) are responsible for the Western world’s over reliance on cheap foreign labour, the worldwide economic carelessness which lead to a major recession period for the majority of the globe, the rise in school leavers applying for university, nor even the rise in school leavers due to a population rise over the past century. Tories are many things, but not great connivers of these circumstances which have probably been the main attributing factors behind this apparent ‘mess’.
My hope is that the next batch of graduates will learn from their elder’s mistakes and swallow their pride perhaps? Dishwashing may not be the most noble of graduate jobs, but i’d imagine a full week pays better than the dole.