Tuesday 17 September 2019

Unemployed & Living Back At Home: A Millennial Tale

Moving back home age twenty five is never easy. It feels like a step backwards, and the inevitable fight to stop yourself from regressing into that moody eighteen year old I left the family home as, is a daily struggle.

I made the decision to move back to my home in Hertfordshire a while back, it was always something in the pipeline and when a friend would ask ‘when are you moving?’ the answer would always be ‘soon’.  My boyfriend and I made this decision as our families are based down here, and between the need to study and save it made sense to make the jump.

With big momentous life events like this, you always expect a big crescendo of emotions and a huge fanfare to happen when, instead, life carries on much as it ever did with no life altering epiphany.
So now I’m sitting here writing this blog post at midday on a Tuesday in my parent’s study, looking for jobs with wet hair and wearing a grubby pair of joggers and a t-shirt. Not exactly my dream of what I expected I’d be doing at this age back when I was a teenager and full of naivety.

Nothing can really prepare you for the soul destroying task of looking for a new job. I spend my days bouncing from recruiter to recruiter, with their perfectly practised spiel of ‘I’ve found the perfect role for you’, as they go into details of a job to mine oil in the North Sea - or something equally as absurd considering my current experience.

You swing from excitement of seeing a job that’s perfect for you, to only be met with an echoing silence from the job of your dreams or an equally depressing automated email reading ‘Thanks so much for your interest, but we won’t be taking your application any further.’

In the current economic climate, with the dreaded B word creating all this uncertainty, it’s hardly the most ideal time to be looking for a job. And I don’t think I’m in a unique situation. The government is busy telling us that unemployment is at its lowest rate for a decade, but with zero hour contracts leaving people struggling and with in work poverty at an all-time high – it all tells a very different story.
I’ve personally not been very lucky with my employment, boasting an impressive five redundancies (yes really…) across my four year working life with the most impressive happening after less than two weeks in the job.

I’m not trying to organise a pity party for myself, but what I want to talk about is that it is hard for people to try and make it in an industry we want to work in. Gone are the days where work is just for the sake of money, millennials want a job that is more fulfilling. And when you’re spending forty hours a week until you’re sixty-five or more doing it day in day out, then we should enjoy it.

But frequently, the creative and more desirable industries are becoming increasingly competitive. I’ve had three years’ experience within fashion marketing, and I’m finding it hard to get a response from jobs that fit my experience pretty much exactly and pay what I feel I deserve.

Within fashion, it’s often seen as being part of the journey to do unpaid internships to gain experience and curry favour with big brands. This is only ever available for those with the privilege of not needing money for rent, food and *you know* living.

I’ve been unemployed, working freelance for a few hours a week, since the start of August. Throughout my whole working life, I’ve never had the privilege of job security as I’ve never felt the companies I work with are ever 100% secure.

Living through the recession and trying to build my career in a time of economic uncertainty while living away from home has not been easy. And even now, when I’m in a privileged position of living at home and not having the threat of being evicted looming over my head, I still feel the huge weight of anxiety on my chest for not having a job yet.

I constantly question myself as to what don’t I have that my peers do? Why have I got three years’ experience but really no skills to show? Because sitting by yourself day in day out selling yourselves to hundreds of jobs to no avail surprisingly doesn’t do wonders for your self-confidence.

I wanted to write this as a cathartic way of talking about the hopelessness I feel and have always felt across my whole career. Always thinking ‘the next one will be better’ or hopeful for a chance that hasn’t shown its face yet. Because if I hear the phrase ‘when one door closes, another door opens’ one more time, I will scream bloody murder.

But if someone reads this that is going through the same thing, then that’s enough. To know you’re not the only person going through a bit of a shit time can sometimes be the therapy you need. We are worth more than our jobs at the end of it all, and even though success is often judged through our careers, that fulfilment doesn’t lie just in your working life.

So this is dedicated to the rest of the 3.9% unemployed out there, you are worth everything you think you are and you will bag that dream job one day. I believe in you.


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