Gis’ a job

February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am | Posted in Career, work, Youth | 4 Comments
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In this week’s Grazia, four Warwick University graduates discuss their battles to find any work, let alone a graduate position.

I can relate well to their struggle, and it is a struggle particularly close to my heart, as I am a Warwick alumna. In 2006, I graduated with a 2:1 in English and German: my graduation photo shows me sporting red lipstick and a slightly tipsy smile (the German Department enjoy a drink, apparently). What you may not realise, when looking at this photo of me, is that I had absolutely no idea what to do with my life.

I spent the summer pretty depressed about leaving Warwick. Not because I wanted to be a student forever, you understand, but rather because I didn’t know what else to do forever. I went back to Berlin and Amsterdam with a couple of friends, and spent the holiday trying to disguise how depressed I was. At one point, I went to a blind restaurant in Berlin and sat there in the dark, crying. Not a highlight of my first adult summer.

On returning from my holidays, I worked in a residential home and then started a journalism course that September. This course failed to inspire me; I know how precious that will sound, but learning shorthand and the ins and outs of local government was not how I wanted to spend my days. One Monday, instead of getting the train to Farringdon, I stayed in Croydon to job search. A girl came up to me and asked if I would read her the letter from the DSA in her hand. It was then that I determined to do something with my life, and never to end up in similar circumstances.

And so I left the course, and spent the rest of the year interpreting and translating in an insurance office in Canterbury by day, and working in a pub by night. The interpreting was fascinating; one day, a man phoned from Germany to tell me that his colleague had lost a foot in an accident. I had to then snap out of my shock to ask my boss from the compensation was likely to be.

From January to March 2007, I booked ferry tickets for German speaking customers in P & O’s Dover call centre. The job itself was tedious, but paid reasonably, and I enjoyed speaking to Germans again, particularly those in Berlin.

However, I left P & O, as I had decided to become a teacher, and after spending yet another summer at the residential home, I took up the position of Graduate Teacher Trainee at St Edmund’s R. C. School in Dover. Fittingly, the words, ‘baptism’ and ‘fire’ spring to mind when I think of the five months I spent teaching. I sank into depression again, regularly falling asleep as early as 630pm. Teaching children The Tempest when they cannot even construct a paragraph is utterly pointless.

As I was pretty rubbish at it, I was forced out of teaching, and I’ve never been so glad about anything in my life. I was not a natural: I lacked that essential patience you need to communicate alien concepts to teenagers, and I certainly lacked empathy.

So I spent six months unemployed and out of my mind. I applied for nigh on 50 jobs, which I realise is far fewer than some people apply for before they are offered a position, and even had to chase some of the firms to find out the outcome of my interview. Eventually, a very nice man called Neil offered me the role of bookseller at Waterstones Thanet, and I can say quite honestly that I have never been happier in a job. Most days, I wake up thrilled to be going to work, and I can’t wait to become assistant manager at Waterstones Tenterden.

So I would like to tell those Warwick graduates not to give up, and to take any job they can. In the six years since graduating, I’ve been a cleaner, residential home carer, market researcher, call centre worker, translator/interpreter, barmaid, teacher and bookseller. I am still nowhere near earning a graduate salary, but I have found a job I love. And after all, what’s more important?


And the best bit is…..

January 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Career, London, Waterstone's, work | Leave a comment
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….I’ve got an assistant manager interview Friday! In London! Wooooooo!

Sweetness, I was only joking….

January 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Career, internet, Uncategorized, work | Leave a comment
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….or semi-joking, at least, about the Googling. Google away, if you are so inclined, particularly if you are someone who can help my career (which is pretty much one of the only three things I care about).  It fascinates me, the internet, this endlessly-populated and limitless population we’ve created.  Can you imagine if it ceased to exist?  It would be utterly bizarre.

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