For young people these days, finding a job you've spent your whole life preparing yourself for is comparable to winning a lottery. For the past 11 months I have endured misery most of you will never know, and something I will not wish on anyone.
Picture this: you wake up each morning and have absolutely nothing to look forward to. When you don't have a job, you have nothing to do and when you have nothing to do, your mind turns to porridge and when your mind turns to porridge, you become depressed and hopeless and you question "whyyyyy is this happening to me?!" All your uni mates have gone on to have successful careers. You scroll through Facebook and see statuses like "BOOM! Guess who just got promoted at work??" or "Casually booked a trip to Thailand, anyone have any tips for spotting the difference between lady-boys and real women?" and part of you is really happy for them.
The other part wishes that they all go and fall off a fucking cliff.
I consider myself to be well educated; I have a 2:1 in Computer Science from a top 50 university. A career in IT shouldn't be that difficult to land, right? Wrong.
A typical job advert for a Junior IT role these days looks like this:
Position: Entry level IT support
Essential Skills: Must know fucking EVERYTHING.
Preferable to have: knowledge of all the things you were never taught at university
Educational Background: We see your respectable degree; it will look nice hanging in our staff toilets. We understand you've spent 20k over the last 3 years getting one, but we also want you to blow the money you don't have on all the Microsoft and Cisco Certificates, 'cause you know, they're dope. Also, you need to have years of work experience and be able to lick your own elbow while balancing on an egg.
Salary: hahahahahahaha...It's unfortunate that not paying you is illegal. Honestly, you're better off being a barista at Starbucks across the road.
At the beginning, I put a lot of effort into reading every job description in great detail, perfecting my CV, writing up an irresistible cover letter to every company I applied to; not to mention spending a lot of time researching each company -- their history, their products and services, and the direction they are moving in. Soon you realise it's all a waste of time and you get exactly the same results just by reading the heading of the job description and clicking 1-Click-Apply. I could rant about this for weeks on end, but I'm drifting away from the main story here.
The above was my life for far too long. Then, something miraculous happened: I'd spent so long being rejected from countless job applications that it became like a reflex; I forgot what would happen if the opposite were to occur. Shortly before Easter I was employed! It actually happened. No more mind-numbing crawling through job boards, no more irritating calls from drones who call themselves agents (who I actually suspect is one and the same guy working for all the bloody agencies and asking the same bloody questions). No more ridiculous phone interviews or preposterous online tests that seem to only test your sanity rather than the ability to do a job you've applied for.
My dream job, in London, easy to commute to, small company, paid-for training...It was too good to be true. Turns out it was. I was struck down with a cold three days into my new job and had no choice but to call in sick. If you were keeping up with me until now you would probably say "it would be insane after all that to ask for a day off on your third day, the last thing he wants is to go back and sit on his arse", but my boss didn't see it that way. I arrived at work on the Thursday before Good Friday, shit-scared to call in sick again; pocket-loads of medication barely holding me together. I got called in for a 1-to-1, where I explained why I called in sick, only for the manager to brand me a liar and dismiss me on the spot.
Two and a half days into my new job.
Lord Sugar doesn't hold a candle to this guy.
The 'man' I was working for had never been unemployed, he doesn't know what it's like to suffer without a job for as long as many are forced to these days; he doesn't realise what it does to people mentally nor how much damage people like him are causing. With over a million unemployed youths in the country you should need a bloody good reason to add another one to that number. A good boss is a reasonable boss. Showing how big your bollocks are to a new recruit is not the way to gain respect from your current employees.
To top it all off, there's absolutely nothing I could do about it since the law states that an individual can be dismissed from a place of work without explanation within two years of starting a new job. In other words, I will never have justice for a crime I did not commit.
But I didn't come here to be pitied, honestly. I may have experienced the harshest end of the stick, but unfortunately it can happen to anyone. It's back to square one for me.
Reader HmmmErmmm (or Ross) is a house monkey living with his parents, still trying to discover the secret formula to employment. When he is not travelling the web for jobs, he spends time in the gym and gets creative with photography and graphic design. He encourages you to read The Guardian's fantastic article on what it's like to be young and unemployed, here.
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