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Claiming the Job Hunt

I am a recent graduate from Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool. Following graduation I was blessed to bag an internship with the university, designing the all-new academic journal for the English Department freshers. This internship was perfect for me. Not only was I able to make use of design skills, and copywriting skills, and management skills, and confidence in blowing my own horn skills it also paid actual money.

That internship finished at the end of September and it was like leaving my lovely university all over again. My university (staff!) card became void, I said goodbye to my lecturers again, and my university email definitely doesn’t work. Not even after the seventh time of trying, which means I can’t get overdue library book notices from the library, which is a boon. I’ve still got a copy of one of my Creative Writing lecturer’s books that I keep, accidentally-on-purpose, forgetting to give back. But this is deviating…

Ever since then I have been on the job hunt and it’s not a lovely place to be. My thoughtful friends are forever asking me how the hunt is and it’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know whether they mean: 1) my effort, 2) how I feel about it, or 3) how the places of business are doing in the matter.

My answers are as follows:

1) I am a brilliant applicant. I am doing pretty much everything right. I have had my CV checked, I have written one of the best all-round cover letters I have ever seen and when I apply I am as bright and breezy as can reasonably be expected, be that in person, or in my email, or numerous application forms. On my end, it’s going very well and I’m proud of me.

2) I have become discouraged of late, it is true. It seems many companies have set up their application process to pick up liars and fabricators. And why anyone needs to know which pizza topping I would be if I were a topping is not something, on balance, I want explained. It’s a *sigh* moment.

3) They are awful.

So, this is where I am. I’m living in Liverpool, my family is five hours (roughly) away in Surrey. I have money enough for rent but not necessarily for council tax and food.

And I had a nightmare last night where I found out via Facebook that everyone was getting hired for jobs, and I wasn’t. I hadn’t heard anything. I was checking my emails, my phone (which I also dropped and broke, in my DREAM) and, of course, Facebook. I was praying all the time because I was out of the loop and so very jobless.

Today, I’ve given my situation some thought. Maybe not deep thought, but some positive thinking. I came to the conclusion I’m in a tricky situation, but at the same time I’ve never had it so good.

I have a confidence now in what I can do that I have never had before. Get this: I have a 2:1 in English and Creative Writing, two things I always knew I was good at, but now I get to say so. I have worked in a team to design and publish an Academic Journal that freshers are actually loving. I know I can’t shush if I think I see a problem, and I’ll do something about it. I have a freelance writing gig lined up, and I can actually write. And I am able to talk about what I am good at because through work and getting engaged with opportunities I have seen myself tested, and now I know.

This reminds me of when I was living at home and my mother was encouraging me to get a Saturday job. I didn’t quite see what she was doing as ‘encouraging’, especially when my father chipped in with comments about his contributing to the family pot of money at my age. And how he used to pay for a car and its upkeep. It made me feel like I was a silly child with an unemployable almost adult’s body, because there were next to no jobs. And because I have high expectations of myself I felt I should be getting one of the few jobs available. But I had no idea how.

Now, the current jobs market is still bad but between then and now I have learned that you make it up as you go along – and more specifically that I am employable. Now, while looking for a job, I feel amazing about having time to write, to volunteer, to make contacts, to build up editing credits and even just to experience the fear of being a graduate in a big city.

Because right now I don’t have huge responsibilities. I don’t have a mortgage. I don’t have to pay back my student loan yet. I don’t (and I know this doesn’t apply to everyone in my position) have a dependent. I don’t live with my parents. I, in so many respects, have never had it so good. Instead of moping over the fact I haven’t a graduate job I am hereby challenging myself to take creative control and make up my work as I go along, even and especially if ordinary work is not forthcoming. I shall  have to find or create demand for what I do, and make myself opportunities. And if that means networking, (oh the terror!) fine. Bring it on.

I’m claiming the job hunt.

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