Rock-Bottom and Happy

I've been looking for a job for 2 months now.

I graduated from university in July, went travelling in August, and touched back down in England again in September.

I came back home to a rather dire situation. I was completely penniless after travelling and I didn't have a job to return to. I knew in advance that I would be facing this scenario, as searching for autumn graduate jobs hadn't proven successful. When I landed back in Newcastle after travelling, I was ready to take on a challenge; getting a job, getting on my feet and getting busy with my next big idea. A month of travelling had bathed my soul, rebooted my perspective and made me a little bit wiser, so I felt confident that I'd work things out just fine.

This challenge became intense rather quickly. When I arrived back on British ground, I found out that that my mam, my sister and my sister's husband had all been made unemployed while I was gone. We were now all in the same boat with regards to being skint and having to find a job. ASAP.

Really, I didn't stress too much. I expected things to work out in a couple of weeks. I expected my mam to find another job in jewellery sales, my sister to find something to fit around the looking after of her kids, and her husband to find a labouring job. I helped them apply for jobs, tweaked their CV's and encouraged them the best I could. I wasn't agitated about my own situation. I applied for a heap of available jobs and just waited for any replies. As a fresh, young graduate with no commitments whatsoever and great experience, I hoped that I would be snapped up fairly sharply by an employer.

Well, that never really happened.

I waited for more jobs to appear and applied for them.

Today, two months later, not much has changed. My sister and her husband are scrimping through their savings, my mam is surviving on £50 a week and I'm still unemployed and claiming jobseekers' allowance.

Things haven't rolled out how I hoped they would. I definitely didn't expect to struggle so much in finding a decent job. For years I had been reading stories and testimonials of people struggling to find employment as graduates. Fortunately, I was mindful of these issues throughout my time at university, and put a lot of time into gathering experience and making sure I would enter the real world with a colourful portfolio of what I can do.

Right now, getting a full-time job in retail would be a huge achievement. It is very difficult to be particular about what jobs you want in this employability climate. For me, as long as I have the opportunity to help people, encourage others, express myself or make somebody's day a tiny bit sweeter, I will jump out of bed in the morning and feel worthy of existing. Whether it's selling the perfect dinner suit or consoling somebody through a personal crisis, I would feel like a good person. Finding these opportunities, as basic as you may think they are, are surprisingly rare.

I used to work in fast food a few years ago, when I was saving money for my Nepal adventure. I hated every minute of it. As much as I tried, I couldn't find any element of the job which I remotely enjoyed. I was preparing junk food all day, which helps nobody really. The management were poor and offered no encouragement. I was expected to hold the job as my top priority, which was difficult because I didn't feel valued. They way I was treated had damaged my self-esteem and made me feel trapped. My time was so swallowed up that I wouldn't have the time or the opportunity to apply for a new job. Not before long, I decided to just quit. I had enough money saved to go to Nepal, and I didn't want extra money that bad. Since I've been unemployed, I've been invited to go back there to work. Despite being desperate for the money and having had no luck with any jobs, I said no.

I would rather be rock-bottom and protect my values, and hold out for something better.

Whenever I admit this, things get a bit controversial. My friends and family call me naive and whimsical. 'Anth, sometimes in life you just have to do things you don't wanna do'. I'm still young and I know I don't have the full picture of how life works, but I won't give up hope of finding a happy, worthy place without holding out and fighting as long as I can for it.

This mentality isn't the most practical when it comes to putting food on the table. Sticking by your values in this way can land you in a lot of hardship, and the truth is you cannot expect anybody to have sympathy for you when it gets you into trouble, because it was your choice. Self-inflicted, it truly is. That is something you have to accept, especially when people around you are buying extravagant food, wearing nice clothes and flying off for city breaks every other week. It is worth protecting yourself for the sake of eventual happiness, when you eventually find it. 

Never resign to a fate of unhappiness and never let anybody convince you that you have to. Believe that there is a way to get ahead that doesn't require suffocating your spirit. If things are not working out for you, do what you can to get away and find another place with fresh opportunities. Investigate your talents and work out if there if a way you can share them. Think outside the box. That might just be all that you need to make a break for it.

I'm currently figuring this all out myself. If I make progress, I'll be certain to share it with you. If you see me working in a fast-food restaurant when I'm in my thirties, please remind me of this blog post.

But for now, I'm alright with being rock-bottom. I hope it will be worth the wait...




  1. Love it! I think it;s brave to be that way and you'll definitely end up happier in the long run!


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