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.

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.

 

Home

So I have been home for almost 2 weeks now, and after months of pining to be back, I can’t wait to go again! 

The inevitable dread of starting back at work, at having to live at home with my parents again, of having to balance my social life and do all the other adult things is already wearing down on me! 

The only benefit: the fact it’s summer. The hot weather and promise of a holiday in a couple of days is the only thing dragging me through the harsh reality of being back from my travels.

Holiday blues are real, and they are punishing. 

Sticker Planning

So i am very new to the sticker planner girl community, although i am a long time sticker lover and have always been an avid watcher of PWMs and Sticker hauls on youtube. Elle from Glamplan being my guide and guilty pleasure channel for ages.

These are things i have learned so far:

  1. I am terrible at laying down stickers
  2. Stickers are expensive
  3. Planning is time consuming
  4. Planning can be stressful!
  5. I am fussy
  6. The community is amazing – Literally everyone is a fantastic person, caring, loving and supportive and i am so grateful to have found such an outlet and group of people to vent to and seek assurance from
  7. I need to search etsy more
  8. I need to reach out more
  9. You can cover any mistake if you need to
  10. Boring things can be fun and pretty

So admittedly some of these things are superficial at best, but hey, its my planner, only i need to see it and only i need to use it, so what if i like pretty stickers, whatever motivates me to do something is a bonus!

So here are a couple images of my first attempt to a more recent spread, so you can see the slow transformation. Shout out to Sugarloop (NZ based) and Lovecloud Creative (AUS based) for the beautiful stickers! There is a lot to work on and to work out, and my style i imagine will mature, but we all have to start somewhere!

 

Where have i been?

So the last week has been one of the most stressful, full on and hellish weeks ever. So i quit my horrible job at the bakery 3 weeks ago but my last day was last Thursday. The relief to be done with them was overwhelming…but very short-lived.

Firstly; i didn’t get paid on the usual fortnightly date as they said they would pay it with my final pay packet. – Not immediately a problem, a bit annoying as i was out of pocket from travel costs, rent etc for the 3 weeks since our last pay came in. However had i known the shit storm to come i would have put up a much bigger fight about this.

Secondly; I only had to give a weeks notice, i ended up working 3 weeks as favour to them as i didn’t want to leave them without staff and struggling. – WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS. I went out of my way for them and they basically took the piss by making me work over time for those few weeks and treating me with their usual shit.

Thirdly; So after staying longer, working over time and training my replacement, none of which were contractual obligations, all of which i did because i am a good person, they go and royally screw me over. They take a deduction of $550 from my last paycheck. This was made worse by the fact it was made post tax, so of the $1400 they owed me, $300 went to the tax man, $550 went back into their pocket and a measly $620 made it into my account meaning my 76 hours of work came out to be worth just over $8 an hour, a lot lower than the $15 minimum wage and a hell of a lot lower than the $17 an hour they are usually worth.

This forced me to go and see a lawyer to see what could be done about the massive deduction and at that point the withholding of my pay. The lawyer unhelpfully told me that i did have a case but it would be a long and dirty fight. Considering that i am leaving the country in 35 days that wasn’t really an option for me, which my previous employers knew and took advantage of.

So i finished the week feeling deflated, taken advantage of and stupid for ever agreeing to work for those people and with very little options.

I made the decision not to pursue a law suit or hate campaign towards them… for the simple reason THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT. They are not a worth a single second more of my time, and after this post i will have blocked the numbers and started moving forward with my life having learned a big lesson and grown up a hell of a lot more than i realised i need to.

Fitness Journey – Week 1

For the last week i have been tracking my calorie intake with Lifesum and using the Nike Training Club app with the Start Up Plan to kick start my fitness and get it back on track.

I have never been overweight or really had any weight issues, I am now slightly podgier than i would like and don’t really know what to do about it, as well, i have never been in this situation before. Which causes mayor issues, as my ability to say no to yummy food and motivate myself to exercise are basically non-existent! So lack of experience with dieting or food management or consistent exercise in terms of work outs is a very new and a very steep learning curve for me. So this is my journey, one week down and a hell of a long way to go, but at least i have started.

What i have learned just in this last week:

  1. Exercise is hard
  2. I am not very fit
  3. I am not very flexible
  4. I snack too much
  5. I work too much
  6. I have very little time
  7. I do not prioritize health
  8. I live for the sweet things
  9. I need more leggings
  10. Progress is slow, well completely nonexistent a week in (no idea how that’s motivational, thanks a bunch body!)
  11. I do a lot of walking, and don’t do a lot of anything else
  12. I can’t bet on myself
  13. I am hungry
  14. I am lazy
  15. I am embarrassed to be seen exercising

Ill keep you posted on how my second week of it goes, lets hope i can learn some slightly more positive things and actually start to move the bulge!

Lunch 

What I packed for lunch today.. may not seem interesting but it is essential! 

I work from 3am to 9pm 2 days a week (I work a 5 day week but these two are my longest days) and thus require a packed lunch to get me through till home time. 

So in the grand scheme of it, what I have packed might seem like nothing as it has to cover all 3 of my meals, but I quickly make up for the lack of eating on my less busy days! 

In my lunch box: 

– a cheese sandwich on gluten free seeded bread 

– a protein cereal bar 

– herb and garlic crackers 

– a green tea with lemon and ginger tea bag 

– a whole bell pepper 

– roasted unsalted almonds

As well as what’s in my box I will usually have a bottle of water, a sweet treat of some kind and several cups of normal tea to tide my over! I sometimes also opt for a bag of microwave rice on days where I pack a sandwich over a cooked meal (usually leftovers) as it’s easy to store in my bag and quick to eat. As plain and simple a sandwich never fills me up like a proper cooked meal, so I need the extra! 

Little to Big

When i was little i wanted to be a Vet, and up until i was in year 9 and having to chose my options for GCSE i was pretty certain that is where my life was going go. I was going to be a vet, get married, have 5 children and live happily ever after. I am now 22, far from being or even wanting to be a vet, both wanting and being terrified of the prospect of children and almost completely lost to where my life is going or where i want it to go.

When you are young its very easy, you make a plan and there isn’t any life to get in the way of it, it all makes sense and sounds plausible and perfect and right. Then you sit down with that piece of paper at 14 and have to decide what subjects to drop and what dreams go out the window with them. For me, that was being a vet, i didn’t want to do triple science, something i was told would be essential for me to pursue being a vet as i would have to do at least one science for A-level in the years to come to be eligible to study veterinary science at uni. I wanted to do dance and drama… so being a vet fell to the wayside, and along with it my life plan and career goals.

Fast forward 8 years and i am still just as lost as i was sitting down with that piece of paper and changing the course of my life forever. Maybe i want to go back to uni and study social work? Maybe i want to travel more? Maybe i want to work in PR? Maybe i want to start to settle down? Maybe i am getting too old to have options? Maybe i am still really young and have time to mess around for a while?

Maybe i am stressing over nothing?

But right now, i feel lost and don’t know how to start to make decisions and create a new course for my life and in 6 months i will be back in the UK and the need to make a decision will be upon me.

34 Hours

What i learned from working 34 hours in 3 days, a lovely 4 am start to a 6pm finish.

  1.  You are more capable than you think
  2. You can survive on a lot less sleep
  3. The lack of sleep will catch up with for a solid 8pm bedtime
  4. Your patience will be tested
  5. You will eat less
  6. You will miss out on seeing loved ones
  7. Time will fly by
  8. You will have moments of doubt that its worth it
  9. You will have moments where you are finding it easy
  10. You will realise that things you dreamed of are a possibility but will require compromises you are unsure you are willing to make now faced with them
  11. You will make difficult choices
  12. You are terrible at saying no
  13. You did not pack appropriate clothing
  14. Or snacks
  15. Maybe you are not as unfit as you first thought
  16. It will end
  17. You will feel a tad lost when no longer at work
  18. You will create bonds
  19. You will gain confidence and reassurance and renewed sense of motivation
  20. You will let things like hygiene slide, because quite simply wearing the same top two days in a row isnt that bad and you are in no position to do laundry or care very much