There comes a point (based on no scientific research whatsoever, it seems to me to occur in your late twenties if you’re a woman, and mid thirties when you’re a bloke) when you suddenly get the fear.
Mid way through a night out with mates, drunk and slurring, and dancing with no shoes on – you realise you’ve spent all the money in your wallet and head home, cursing the fact that you’re going to feel like shit at work in the morning – that’s the point when you think ‘it’s time to get serious’. This is usually consolidated by the walk to work in the same £piss-all p/h job you’ve had for the last year or so. You need to sort it out, get a career. You did all that studying at uni, culminating in all that debt you can’t pay off working in a cafe/bar/shop, and aside from that, you’ve got brains in your head. You’ve got an applicable ‘skill set’, ‘commercial awareness’, or whatever it is employers are looking for. And it’s time. The only problem is (well actually, one of many problems is) that you need to find a proper job. But where? The internet is awash with ads for ‘graduate recruitment consultants (Salary £competitive with bonuses – earn 45k in the first year!) but wait. The only jobs available can’t be finding other people jobs, as apparently, they don’t exist. Otherwise they’d be advertised. Surely.
In addition to this, you need to find time to get the skills and experience to get the job you want – if there is indeed one available – but you need to keep your current minimum wage employment in order to pay the rent. And it’s not like going back to uni is an option, unless your parents have a few grand spare they would like to lovingly bestow on you, and even then, it doesn’t seem like those rich kids are doing any better at finding a job anyway. It’s just that they aren’t as under pressure to get one.
The reason I have launched into this frustrated whine is because I have recently done something, which a week ago seemed like a very brave, very sensible option. I quit my job because of all the reasons above, and then some. I had been in the same job for the last five years. Well, I started at the bottom, as part time barmaid to pay my way through uni, and when my perfect job did not, as promised, materialise, I ended up as general manager. For all intents and purposes, I was basically going slightly mad working in a job that I could see carrying on, exactly as it is now, forever and ever until I was one of those old crones, necking G&T’s at ten in the morning and boring the arse off the new twenty something year old barmaids about how it was when I was their age. Also, I was working a roughly seventy hour week (pub management, for all the lack of respect most people give it, requires a lot of hard work) which was giving me no time at all to write – which is what I want to do. So, last week I quit. I handed my notice in, and Monday was my last day. I was so happy about it – it had taken guts and guile. I was out. I had time to find another job, I had gained useful and important skills. I had also found myself a part time job (as a barmaid in another pub, ahem) to tide me over. However, the being-big-and-brave buzz has started to wear off, and now I’m just in a panic.
After getting up the guts to pack the whole thing in, things suddenly seem different. Firstly, I have taken a massive pay cut. Secondly, the manager who hired me has just been fired, and now I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m with a bunch of new people I don’t know. I’m finishing work at one in the morning again, and with a load of new, younger people who want to go out on the lash after their shift while I just want to go to bed. Also, this finding a ‘proper job’ is proving bloody difficult. And depressing. I have been scouring the internet for Journalism jobs. Copywriting jobs. Marketing jobs. Events management jobs. Editorial Jobs. Any job, in fact, that may give me the opportunity to at least get out of the pub trade and onto the right track. Even if it’s only vaguely the right track. And to no avail. In fact, not even the courtesy of a rejection. I know there are hundreds of people applying for most jobs at the moment (I suppose that’s why we need all these recruitment consultants – to spend their eight hour office day shredding seas of unwanted applications) but couldn’t they at least fashion some kind of send-to-all email? ‘We’re sorry – you are one of hundreds of applicants who doesn’t have the skills we’re looking for’. If only so us job seekers don’t keep desperately checking our emails every five minutes in the vain hope someone may have got back to us about, well, anything. More depressingly, just to save time, a lot of the jobs I have applied for pop up with a warning as soon as you press send on the email. A little notice appears before they’ve even cast a casually disapproving eye over your CV saying ‘you probably won’t hear anything from us – everyone is unemployed at the moment, and likely to stay that way. We important lot with a job really don’t have the time to respond to the poor skint masses’. Or words to that effect.
So I suppose it’s time to extend the overdraft again. Dig out the credit card. Although, life’s much easier now Cameron has reminded us to just pay it off. Thanks. I’d forgotten about it, I’ll just grab that spare few hundred quid resting in my account and do it now. Cheers Dave.
The only response I have received so far was a call to say I was not getting a job because I’m ‘overqualified’. Apparently because I have previous media experience, and published work, the risk assessment crew at this particular company decided I would probably leave in six months. Thanks. I wanted to explain that I have had the same rubbish job for the last five years, and if I didn’t leave that, why would I leave this one? I actually wanted this one. I was happy to start at the bottom. I just want to get out! What they told us at uni, while cheerfully lending us thousands of pounds which they are now demanding back was that we would have better prospects. Give us all your cash and at the end you’ll be in a job you love, earning a satisfying living with that most useful of skills for the workplace – knowledge. Well, I’m now back doing what I was doing before uni, for the same wage. The only demonstrable life skill gained being the ability to deftly move debt between bank accounts to keep them off your back.
Could one of the vast army of recruitment consultants help me out please? Let’s just give you an honest covering statement. I’m skint. I’m desperate, and I’m terrified of ending up an old alcoholic spinster landlady. I work hard, and I’ve got brains in my head and a lot of experience. Ah go on – Give us a job!