Three Steps.

Being in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance, I have to take a minimum of three steps each week in order to find work. For me, nothing other than applying for jobs really counts as a step to seeking work, because everything else is just bullshit, let’s be honest.

Each Monday I have a slight panic attack when I haven’t found three jobs to apply for. This week I have found two and I am desperately searching around for job number three, but I am having trouble. You want to know why? Oh, so many reasons. For example:

  • Experience. Way too many companies want experience with obscure systems or just general experience of at least 2 years. And you would be shocked to see how much experience some of these employers want and yet all they are willing to pay in return is minimum wage.
  • Part time. There are SO many part time jobs out there, and not even reasonable part time hours either, more like 9 hours per week. This is ok if they’re paying, say £20 per hour, but most are of course only paying minimum wage.
  • Word Processing Qualifications. I shit you not. Surely saying you were born after 1980 is experience enough?!
  • Using buzz words like ‘mature’. I’m not an idiot. I know this means you want someone old and not someone sensible.
  • Lack of location. Just saying ‘Birmingham’ is great, but Birmingham is a big goddamn place. I don’t drive. There are vast swathes of Birmingham I cannot reach. Sometimes they just put ‘West Midlands’! Don’t waste my time or yours.
  • ‘Our client…’ Agencies are extremely vague with who you are actually applying for a job with. I have morals and there are certain companies I would refuse to work for. I saw an ad once for a company that described itself as providing legal tax evasion services. I will not be complicit in those sorts of shady dealings. This sort of vagueness also prevents you from writing a decent covering letter.
  • ‘100+ applications’ Oh Reed, why do you need to tell me this? There are few things more off putting than realising you are up against over one hundred other graduates who probably spent less time drinking and more time getting a first.
  • ‘Are YOU the superstar PA we’re looking for? We have TONS of FANTASTIC opportunities!’ You’re obviously not a real job, please stop coming up in my daily emails Bell Cornwall!
  • ‘Telemarketing’. Nope. I don’t have the strongest bladder, especially when it is cold, and I don’t want to work for a place that monitors how often you need a freaking wee.
  • Misspelling ‘assistant’ as ‘asisstant’ in your job ad. No way are you going to want to hire a graduate, and I don’t want to work for someone that stupid.
  • Wanting a specific degree. When I started university back in 2006 it was acceptable to study anything, as ANY degree was seen as a good thing. Now the jobs market is so oversaturated with us graduates with no experience that employers can be selective. And it’s poo, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the age of 18! I’m still not entirely sure now! (I do still wish I had studied Anthropology which I came very close to studying – even down to writing my personal statement geared towards it before changing my mind to Drama – but that would be as useful as my current degree is in getting an office job!) And I’m sure this is why so many of my friends and acquaintances are turning to teaching. Alas, I have very little patience with both explaining things and naughty children, so that’s really not an option!

I’m sure something will come along. It HAS to. I’m a smart person, I’m friendly, I learn things quickly and I don’t slack around. Unfortunately that is probably also true of the vast majority of the unemployed (and don’t forget the under-employed!) and I am up against people with firsts, people with connections, people who can afford to do an unpaid internship, people who have been made redundant and have 20+ years of experience… Basically, I just need someone to give me a chance!

Nikki x

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