Postgraduate Life

The world is your oyster! Your degree will open doors for you! You will be more employable!

The comments you get before you go university, the comments you get while at university, but soon the rhetoric changes… You get comments like ‘the job market is hard right now’, ‘you don’t have enough experience’ or the worst thing of all, absolutely no acknowledgement at all.

I never realised graduate unemployment was such a touchy subject, but apparently it is and nobody really wants to discuss it. Unemployment is the harsh reality of life, everyone goes through periods of unemployment, redundancy and compete hopelessness, and yet we are trying to convince people they should feel ashamed if they haven’t found a job right away. We pin all lifes achievements and all measures of success on whether or not you have a job in that exact moment. The fact you may have just completed a degree, or been employed less than a week ago seem entirely irrelevant if when asked you can’t immediately give a long boring explanation of what it is you do for a living.

The pressure to be employed, the pressure to be successful, the pressure to move out and move on are exceptional. Everything must move 100 miles per hour and if you can’t keep up, if you can’t secure a job straight away then you are failing. This ridiculous idea that having a degree earns us the right to walk into a job when there will be someone who has worked for 3 years doing hard graft in that field during the time its taken us to secure that piece of paper is unrealistic. We are given these unrealistic expectations, this superiority complex and when we get into the real world, when school abandons us and we realise we aren’t these special people with skills and qualifications. No. In fact we have to start at the bottom because we have no experience of what it means to be an adult, or work in an office or actually work in the field we have spent 3 years writing about.

We need to manage our expectations of what postgraduate life looks like, because its not the series of open doors we have been promised. Its competitive, and we are the underdogs because we don’t have the years of commercial experience, but what we do have is proof of being educated and the ability to learn, and we have to milk that for all it’s worth. We need to stop sending kids off to university with the promise of employment, we need to sell them education with the realistic understanding that when they have completed it they can join the job market at the bottom and use that education to progress quicker up it. We need to tell them that it may take months and months of searching, of being ignored, of failed interviews and countless applications before the first sniff of a job is on the cards, and that we need to save some money up for this period while at university. That we need to be building those CVs and gaining that commercial experience while completing our degrees, that university is a crash course in life and life means working, not just in the library but in the office and the cafe.

So yes, this is a rant about my unrealistic expectations from when i left university and what i have learned 2 years on. That life is hard. That i am still unemployed. That my degree is not worth as much as the 3 years of work experience i got alongside it, but that it does push that glass ceiling a little higher and make my climb up the ladder quicker than my counterparts without the degree.

 

 

Side note:

I got offered a job today, and yet here i am writing this rant because i am debating whether a passion and love for a job is enough of a reason to take a huge pay cut, and i blame my unrealistic expectations for making a dream job less appealing because it doesn’t fulfill my salary expectations.

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Reflections On My Travels

So this is a long overdue post! I promised it a while ago and as per usual life got in the way and i lost motivation and time. So here it finally is, less of a story of my travels as much as it was planned to be, and more of a reflection on the last year of my life.

So lets flash back to the summer of 2016 when i quit my perfectly reasonable job in IT and decided to travel to the other side of the world, to what i expected would be the sunny, chilled and beautiful New Zealand. In reflection, only really one of those was the case and it certainly wasn’t the weather! I packed up my little life in London, dragged my boyfriend straight from finishing his masters degree and we took the grueling 24 hour trip to paradise.

We had a 2 day stop over in Hong Kong and met some incredible people who would stay with us throughout our trip. Hong Kong beautifully broke up the flights and was a lovely start to the adventure of a lifetime. I wish we had the money and sense to have done a similar stop over on the way home because 31 hours straight travel was ridiculous. Not impossible, obviously, but definitely not something i will be signing myself up for any time soon.

When we arrived in New Zealand, we were faced with a few things we hadn’t really considered. First and forever the most shocking was that it wasn’t always sunny and hot in New Zealand, in fact the weather is basically England on a much more extreme scale. We arrived in Auckland on a gloomy overcast day, to check into a dorm room in a hostel just off the main street. It didn’t occur to us that we would be in a dorm, or that obviously that’s what happens when  you stay in a hostel. So that was a travel shock, the reality of having to share every inch of space and time with strangers. We quickly moved to private rooms in hostels after leaving Auckland, to minimize the awkwardness for us and for everyone else.

So our travels really began when we boarded that bright green tour bus that would be our home away from home. We traveled north to the brighter bay of islands, where we got to see dolphins and sit on the beach and really experience those minutes of holiday and travel. Including the diabolical alcoholism and mischievous activities in the early hours, which made great conversation on the bus the next morning. We made our down the north island to wellington. We sand surfed, caved, luged, spent a night in a Maori village, sat in a natural hot pool on the beach and of course basically drank ourselves out of pocket.

We arrived in Wellington to pouring rain, and yet it felt like we had come home. We spent the night in a hostel before spending two weeks with a distant relative of mine, who became like our mum and took care of us when we needed someone. That will be one of the things i treasure, building that relationship and having that love of family even when you are as far away as you can get from home. Wellington is where we set up our lives, made friends, got jobs, moved into a little flat, really lived like the kiwis do. And it was one of the best experiences of my life. That little flat will forever remain in my heart, as will the people and those gorgeous streets and views as you walk through Wellington and along the harbor. There are some bad memories of there, but they are by far outshone by the joy and beauty of the city and of my time there.

So after several months, it was time to pack my bag and go solo for my adventure down south. So i said goodbye to my jobs, to my friends, to my boyfriend and boarded a ferry to the south island. It was, without a doubt the most amazing and important thing i have ever done. The amount i grew within myself is impossible to describe, the relationships and bonds you can create with people in such a short time is life changing. You will be pushed to truly do what you want, to be responsible for only you and to deal with the consequence of what you do and want. You will push yourself into doing things you would never have imagined you would do, like skydive or learn to surf or crawl into bed with people who you barely know but love.

So New Zealand, you were stunning, absolutely the most beautiful place i have ever been and think will ever go, photos of you don’t look real and i cannot describe your immense totally consuming beauty. You were a challenge for my heart and my head, but most of all my liver. You were completely and utterly the best decision of my life and i cannot thank you and everyone who made you what you were for me enough ❤

My Week & A Half As A Recruiter

So today i made the snap decision to quit my very new and very demanding job in recruitment.

The company, i cannot fault. They were absolutely amazing to me, and supportive and understanding and i feel very privileged to have had the opportunity and experience. But, when it came down to it, it just wasn’t for me, and at the moment i think that’s okay.

So here is what i learnt in my 10 day whirlwind recruitment tour:

  1. I put too much pressure on myself
  2. I am not money motivated
  3. How to write an advert
  4. What recruiters look for on a CV
  5. That targets suck
  6. That i want to help people
  7. A young office is amazing
  8. I can rock office formal
  9. Blazers are expensive
  10. Phone calls just aren’t that bad
  11. How to hide crying in the bathroom
  12. Leads suck
  13. Disappointing yourself is way worse than disappointing someone else
  14. Work hard, Play hard is a lot more work than play
  15. Bus rides are great for winding down

So although it may not have been the career for me, its something that i have tried and can cross off, and take points away for what i am looking for. Its a stepping stone into the dream job.

 

10 Item Wardrobe

So i have just been sat here watching a poorly shot but interesting TED talk on a theory called the ’10 Item Wardrobe’ – if you want the full effect and explanation this is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3CLRL32Mcw

My first  impression was of immediate horror and the idea seemed impossible. To cut down my wardrobe to 10 key items, 4 bottoms and 6 tops and just continuously wear the same items over and over again. In our society the idea of wearing the same outfit once a fortnight is ludicrous! Although i am a big repeat offender in that respect, i generally try to avoid wearing the same clothes around the same people as much as my wardrobe allows and continuously complain at its lack of variety and choice to help me avoid repeat outfits. So, this idea of cutting even more from it is very alien and very scary.

However by the end of the talk it seemed quite liberating. The idea that you present yourself in your best clothes all the time, that you represent you in your truest self in your style and your comfort… sort of just makes sense. Why am i buying all these pointless clothes that i don’t feel amazing in just so i have more choice of things to put on? What i should be doing is using that money and time and investing in things that make me feel amazing all the time and worry less about what other people think, or whether i am repeating an outfit… because heck, that outfit looks great on me and makes me feel confident and sexy, which is a much better accessory than a purple crop top i bought to inject some colour into my wardrobe.

So maybe 10 is a little radical for me, i need some variety, i live in England our weather changes so often that layers and clothes for all weathers are a must have. But maybe the excessive amount i do have, even now when i am on the other side of the world with one suitcase that i don’t wear half of, should be the wake-up call i need to cut it down. So this is my promise to myself that i will get it together tomorrow, throw away anything with a stain or a rip, or that doesn’t fit me quite right and start enjoying the clothes i do wear, everyday, not just when its been long enough since the last time i wore it.

Reflections On Trump

So, its clear that Trump has turned out to be as bad as we were expecting, maybe even worse.

I don’t want to reflect necessarily on the bad, as they are obvious, his complete lack of regard for human rights, women’s rights, his total racists and xenophobic policies speak for themselves and there is no defending them.

But in a world of such uncertainty that he is creating, i want to look at a few positive, or at least different results.

1 – He has created some solidarity. I know this may seem like a crazy idea when all his policies are there to isolate and discriminate, but in his hate he is forcing us to show love. The mass of women’s marches is an example, he has brought together women and men of all races, sexualities and backgrounds to a place where they can show compassion and love for one another, while having a common belief and agreement. This is rare in the world today, where two people can come together and share an idea and a principle, not only enough to fight for it, but enough to show support to all those that can’t stand up and fight along side them. Another example are the attorneys that are lining airports across america offering their services to fight his injustice, to help people they do no know, to help people truly in need and those truly suffering under trumps brutal regime.

2 – He has shown that politics can be honest. This can at times sound like support for Trump, please do not take it as that. I simply want to show that he has done exactly what he said he would and in a world where politicians make endless promises about real change but never come through, at least he is a breath of fresh air. His policies are horrendous and things i think we all believed nobody actually had the power to do, and yet he did them. Which begs the question, if he can enforce such ridiculous ideas why can our normal politicians fail to pass policy on basic and humanly necessary things? I guess one argument is that Trump is not a politician by nature, he is first and foremost a citizen and does not clearly have the regard for rules and practices that other presidents stand by. But even so, if he can enforce a travel ban on citizens from several countries, why couldn’t the tories keep the promise to no cut tax credits?

3 – People are educating themselves and reducing their apathy. People are taking an interest in politics, in what the people in power are doing and what their vote means. And i personally think this is a triumph, i think it’ll lead to more people voting, and actually knowing what and who they are voting for. I am hoping it’ll lead to voting not on a party, or as a protest, but on policies and make parties really take care in their policy making. It’ll create more transparency and accountability because it wont only be the few that know what sneaky games they are playing, but the majority and the majority are the ones that really hold the power. We are the ones that can make and break a leader and an institution, because if the majority say no and really act on that no, then there isn’t enough force at the government disposal to stop us. And i am not calling for mass protests or riots, i am calling for people to actively in engage in lobbying, charities, communities, voting and mostly in parties, because the more people that join and can vote on party policy the more accurately it’ll represent real peoples needs and wants

So Trump, a complete and utter disgrace and a very dangerous leader. But maybe also, the wake up call we needed and the protagonist for change and political engagement.

Success For A Woman

Many people have spoken about success and what it means to be successful, and most of them have been men, because for a long time, only men had the opportunity to achieve it. If you will, they had a monopoly on success, not only as an idea, but also in practice.

The door is opening for women to come forth and be more present in not only this discussion but also in this practice of achieving success.

But again, how do we measure it, what does it look like, how do we achieve it?

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence” – Colin Powell

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come” – Dwayne Johnson

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

But what is it that makes you successful, that lines you up for success? Is it ignorance, consistency, perfection, enthusiasm? Or is it something else?

I don’t believe there is one way to measure success, one recipe for making it, one way to celebrate it. It is a personal struggle and a personal achievement that to me equates success. Only you can measure yourself and how far you’ve come and how far you have to go, if anywhere. That’s why i believe you can find no simple answer for what success looks like or what it is the measure of.

So i can’t give you something to work on, or look at, or ponder, or in fact any answers at all. But i can let some very important women give you some wisdom, that you never know, might just inspire you to find what will make you the most successful you that you never knew you already were.

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

This is my take on success, and one womans voice in this great debate.