Why is it so difficult to find a job? “There is a job shortage”/ “It’s not personal just a lack of experience”/ “Don’t worry there is something special waiting around the corner”/ “They probably just want someone younger”(How naïve of me- I thought I would have to be 50 or so before I had to face this issue, not 19).
These are just a few of the excuses offered to those in the hopeless search of employment. Words from those who have jobs, who offer this wisdom meaning well, in attempts to keep your spirit high. However after a year of unsuccessful job hunting you can’t help but question everything.
To begin with there was always that small glimmer of hope, that yeah perhaps their right- fate must be waiting to deliver you that dream job. But the reality of the situation is life won’t serve it to you on a silver platter… nor a silver, brass or even plastic one it seems. I finished high school over a year ago now- my plan was get a part time job to help pay off my tertiary studies until I got a job in Visual Merchandising at the end of my course. With second year about to commence, I am no closer to having that part time/casual job. Sure I volunteer at the op shop every Saturday to build my retail skills, which I do truly enjoy, but there is nothing more depressing or demoralising than not being able to contribute to paying off my education, let alone buy a second hand car or move out. Not that I don’t love my family, but there comes a time where we all pine for a bit of independence. I made a decision not to work part time during high school wanting to focus on my grades- a decision at the time which seemed sensible. In year 12 I picked up a job sorting and distributing catalogues and newspapers- a once a week job which earned me a little extra pocket money but wasn’t a cause for distraction and my plan served me well. By time high school had ended, I had managed to achieve a much higher ATAR score then I believed I would and I was chuffed. I looked around at my classmates and a fair few of them had part time jobs and still achieved great scores but this was ok, I could still prove that I had the ability to work hard, whilst studying and get good results at the same time once I started TAFE.
However then I made a mistake- I let the holiday job period slip through my fingers, distracted by the celebrations of the end of high school. (My celebrations were massive- they involved me eating, sleeping, messing around on the computer and just working through that list of things I had wanted to do during the year but had postponed till the holidays.) Come January, there were no jobs. Slightly disappointed I set myself the task of finding a job but low and behold it wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. I applied to a few things, not successfully. I was timid and shy, making myself seen, selling myself was not my cup of tea. I admit I relied on mum a bit, I would ask her to call places up an ask if they had jobs, petrified of that little telephone that threatened so much horror and disappointment. The holidays passed by and no job had presented itself, so it was pushed aside as I threw myself into my studies. It was fantastic I loved my course- it was exciting, fun, there was little maths or any other horrible subjects to worry about. The people were great and I was thrilled with my choice of course. However as the year began to trickle away, the lack of job began to form a massive, grey cloud over my sunny life. Conversations like “Oh at work there was this customer who blah blah”, or “I soo don’t want to go to work tonight” would make my insides squirm and a trip to the shops were I would see ex-high school peers working would result in me bursting into tears as soon as I got home. Come each holiday I would apply myself harder and harder to find a job, until I kind gave up for a while. Sick of the silence that followed my applications, sick of the constant cover letters addressed to people you knew would never respond, sick of pages and pages of answering questions- simply for a part time job- I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. The op shop was my only saving grace; it made me feel like I was contributing something. Made me feel slightly less like a bludger, less of a burden to my parents, the chance to try prove I wasn’t simply getting good grades because I had nothing else to do with my time. No one voices these thoughts to your face, but you can’t help but feel this is what everyone’s thinking- that you’re not trying hard enough, that you don’t really want a job.
But I do, more so than almost anything. I need a job- it is frustrating constantly filling out applications when you could be filling shelves or any other job, as your willing to do almost anything at this stage. To work in retail would be a dream come true, (sad but true when many of your thoughts revolve around your lack of job.) It is near essential for my course. Sure the op shop is retail and you are working in a retail environment, which is busy, where you do perform cash transactions, where you do assist customers and sort stock, yet no one seems to count this as experience. You can’t help but silently hate a little on those who complain about their jobs, which truly may be the hell they describe, one you would probably hate eventually yourself- but hey a least they have a job to complain about.
No matter how many articles you read about the perfect cover letter, the fail proof resume or any other advice, you seem to get nowhere and I just don’t know what to do anymore. I had once chance, one shot not long ago- I actually got an interview (Cue massive celebration dance) and I prepped and prepped for it- I was going to get that job, I needed it so much. But come the actual interview I blew it, froze with fear- my answers no better than what a stunned goldfish could offer. As you can imagine I was sent a rejection kindly explaining they felt they had another candidate better for the job and it was crushing. So hey its now March exactly 26 months still I started looking and I remain without any income, volunteering at an op shop. I have no words of wisdom to offer you, no reassuring insight that you will get a job but to those of you who are unemployed I entirely understand what your feeling right now and at least you’re not alone right? (Oh great you think bitterly to yourself, more blooming competition!)
But here’s a picture of a unicorn which will make you feel fab and remember that you’re swell and not defined by your lack of job! (You just need someone to give you a chance)
Image by: Sebastien Millon