Michelle Besa is a Restless Development returned volunteer from Tanzania. She currently works for the Mayors Fund for London on Young London Working, a programme dedicated to supporting young Londoners into quality and sustainable employment. Here she shares her thoughts about being an unemployed young graduate.
I’m an unemployed young graduate but I haven’t been looking for work. For the past two weeks that is. For the past two weeks I have not applied for any jobs. Every time I have opened a new application, the motivation and excitement leaves my body and mind quicker than a rainstorm in a desert. The thought of giving more of my time to another company, who is bound to reject me, overpowers my sense of hope and optimism. The thought of another rejection has become far too unbearable.
I am a truly confused soul, I did everything ‘they’ told me to do in the right way; I finished school. Like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, I went all the way. Study abroad, I did it. Placement year I did it. Volunteer abroad, I’ve done it twice (thank you Restless Development). Work experience within your desired industry, I’ve done it. Amnesty, Plan UK, Restless Development, minimum 2:1 at uni, I have that. Dissertation over a special essay, I did that. Learn a language, I’m bilingual. (Disclaimer: I am not tooting my own horn).
I do not feel any entitlement for obtaining a particular level of a job. I’ve applied for them all. I bring up my achievements because the education system teaches us that if we do all these lovely things, we will be successful. From primary school up until sixth form, I was taught that if I do not study or work hard I will end up working as a [insert job of a lesser value here]. It is a harsh reality when you find out how it is in the real world. I now understand issues such as depression, along with all the difficulties that come with being unemployed apart from just being unable to go for drinks with your friends.
Do you feel the same way? Do you want answers? Unfortunately I cannot provide those. I’m more lost and confused that a blind bumblebee that is allergic to pollen. The only thing I do know, it takes an average of six months for a graduate to gain employment. If you are reading this, I just want you to know you are not alone. Here are some tips.
Tip 1. Keep yourself busy. Find a project, a blog, vlog, reading something intellectual to stimulate your mind, embarking on a lego project. Do it. And make sure you make it into a routine
Tip 2. Speak to close family and friends that you can trust. Anyone that ridicules or makes you feel any less than the person you are – discard of them immediately. Instead, spread yourself with positivity…which brings me to…
Tip 3. Do not underestimate volunteering a few days of your week helping others. It will bring the kind of positivity you need in your life during this time. Volunteering your time for free means those people that you are volunteering for will show you nothing but love and appreciation. That is the type of positive energy you need in your life right now. (Plus the work experience and the connections)
Tip 4. Be innovative. Remember the Coventry Student who sign posted himself at Waterloo station? Or the guy that spent his last pennies hiring a billboard?