Young, Green and Unemployed

When I entered the Job Centre Plus a small and smiley women approached me and asked me what I came in for this morning. I thought about explaining the many applications I send, the interviews I had and my dreams, hopes and aspirations for a job that is ethical, covers all my expenses and which I love.

Instead I just whispered 3 letters. She must must have heard those letters a thousands of times before, “JSA” I said (an abbreviation for the benefit unemployed people in the UK called Job Seekers Allowance). She smiled and replied, “have a seat son, I’ll let them know you are here”.

I recently graduated from a University in Scotland and I am actively looking for a job. I studied Economics and Politics and most jobs I have been advised to apply for which ‘fit my degree’ are in the oil industry, banks, consultancy firms, etc. Needless to say I have not applied for any of those jobs that ‘fit my degree’ as I wish to work for something I believe in and can identify with.

It is hard to imagine to get a full time permanent job I do not enjoy, just to pay the bills. I have almost always loved the jobs I had, which is such a middle class privilege. The energy and enjoyment I gained from past jobs seems almost irreplaceable when considering I may have to spend 8 hours a day doing something I do not enjoy nor believe in. However, it seems only a matter of time until I have to accept a compromise that accommodates the economic reality we find ourselves with my own principles.

I need to love my job because it often defines who you are. You spend a great deal of your life at work and you often see your work colleges more than your partner or your friends and family. Nevertheless, the stigma and pressure for everyone who is unemployed is still so great that I have not met anyone in the UK who has admitted to have claimed unemployment benefits without me mentioning first that I was currently on the dole. Do not settle for what you do not enjoy, but let nobody tell you what an enjoyable job looks like!