Saturday, 10 July 2010

So You’ve Decided to Become a Bachelor of the Arts: A Guide to Graduating and Inevitable Unemployment

So you’ve decided to become a Bachelor of the Arts. Did you not see the current economic climate? Couldn’t you have done something a bit more practical, like bomb disposal or shining the shoes of investment bankers? I suppose it’s too late for shudda-wudda-cudda’s now, so you’ll just have to put up with your smug management friends going on about starting salaries of £25k and their new Vauxhall Zafiras. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a war soon so at least you’d be able to find work as cannon fodder against the communists (do we still hate them?).

If, like me, you’re a recent graduate with an alright degree from an alright university, you might have returned home to your parents’ house to begin several months (if not longer) of unemployment and the post-university lull. Your motivation might be harder to find than a blonde woman Tiger Woods hasn’t slept with, but it’s important not to let yourself slip into the tempting rut of sleeping into the afternoon, eating everything you can find in the house, and walking around in your underwear while everyone else is at work.

You might want to put your feet up and relax, after all, you worked hard to get that 2.2 in English Literature, but do it for too long, and it gets a bit depressing. So I’ve compiled a list of ways to combat the post-graduation slump.

1. Set a morning alarm.

Yes I know you’re very tired after you found that Pringle shaped like a boob day before yesterday, and while I’m sure the Natural History Museum would appreciate it as a donation, my advice would be to set some form of alarm, preferably in the morning. You’ll feel 267% more productive if you get up before midday, and that’s a fact.

2. Open the curtains.

“But the sun hurts my eyes!”. Cry me to the moon, puny graduate. Sunshine is good for you, and seeing as there’s only 5 billion years left before the sun supernovas, you might as well get it in while you can.

3. Go outside at least once a day.

Take a hayfever tablet and open the backdoor; or perhaps take a stroll around the front garden. Not only is this good exercise, but your neighbours will be less likely to think that you’ve died.

4. Get Dressed.

Preferably in different clothes to yesterday.

5. Talk to at least one person a day.

Cold-callers, postmen, random strangers on the street, these all count as “people” and so achieving one human interaction a day might just stave off the coming emotional breakdown for a few more weeks.

6. Only look at pornography after 9pm.

Pretend you’re at work. Would you look at porn at work? Ok, bad question – you pervert. By simply putting off the naked ladies until a more appropriate hour, you feel 124% more productive.

7. Start that novel you’ve been talking about for so long.

They say you should write what you know, so your novel would involve a housebound, unemployed 20-something living with his mother whilst attempting to write a novel. I’d read it.

8. Set goals, tiny achievable goals.

“Put new pants on” is a completely valid, and realistic goal. “Get high paying graduate job” is not. Give yourself simple targets each day, so not only can you get valuable things done, but you’ll also have a warm (false) sense of achievement.

9. Don’t put “B.A.” after your name unless you really have to.

A “B.A.” after your name on your CV might be a necessary evil, but putting it after your name on Facebook is not. People will think you’re a knob.

10. Write a CV.

Companies love it when you send them your CV (short for Curriculum Vitae) and the trick with these is to stand out. There’s a proven formula for the successful CV, and that usually involves lying slightly (a lot) about your skills as a worker. That week you spent helping your dad clear out the garage? You’re now experienced in logistics co-ordinating. The time you invited loads of people over to your flat at uni for an epic party? Events Management. Those three nights you spent stacking shelves at Budgens? Expertise in Stock Replenishment. Make sure you tell your future employer (because you’re obviously going to get the job) everything these jobs have taught you, and they’ll be like putty in your hand. Warm capitalist putty.

11. Send completed CV to every company you can think of.

Go through all the bottles in your bathroom (same can be done with DVDs, books, clothes and assorted foodstuffs). See the little writing on the back? Each one of those products was made by a company. I know, right? Well, write down the name of the company and then look up their address. Send your CV to them and explain why you’d be fantastic in their legal/accounts/marketing department, and then sit back and wait for the replies to come flooding in.

12. Dealing with numerous rejections from companies whose names you found on the backs of toiletries.

Throw away the envelopes, you won’t be needing them, and fold each rejection letter once in half. Then fold it again. Glue along the top edge of each letter, and glue them all together, creating a large sheet, or as I like to call it, “a paper wall of rejection”. Once you have collected enough rejection letters, stretch a line of string across your bedroom, and drape the sheet over the top, creating a small tent. From this small tent you can plan the next stage of career-attack.

13. Succumb to the inevitable breakdown.

When your mother asks you why you’re naked and sitting inside a small tent made of rejection letters, bark not once, not twice, but thrice, or as many times is needed until she leaves the room. This will ensure that your privacy remains intact and increases your productivity by a billion banillion percent.

14. Find work in Romania as a plumber.

And as you’re fixing Elena Brasov’s leaking sink, you’ll tell her how, in your home country, you were an English Literature graduate with blossoming prospects, before breaking out into verses of that old folk song “Everybody In Love” by JLS.

Good luck graduates!

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