This post is very much inspired by a post by Amy (littleindie) and a very lengthy comment that I left on the post.
All of the thoughts/feelings expressed in this post are personal to me, however you may find that they relate to you too.
When I finished university I was under no illusion that I would find a job that related to my degree straight away. I knew that it would be tough but I didn’t realise just how tough it would be. My plan after university was to find a part-time job whilst looking for a full time job. I expected to be working part-time for half a year and then I’d magically find a full time job and begin my journey to ‘proper adulthood’*. I got a full time weekend job (14 hours) in October and I’m still working there now. As much as I am grateful to be earning (albeit at minimum wage) it isn’t something I can see myself doing for years to come. It was only ever supposed to be a temporary job until I found something ‘better’**.
The truth of the matter is finding a job (especially in the creative industry) isn’t easy. It’s a super competitive field and if you don’t live in or around certain areas, you’re at a serious disadvantage. I can’t afford, neither can my parents afford, to fund my move to London which is where most of the jobs I’ve seen advertised are. Even if I could afford it, for a lot of lower tier jobs you have to be able to drive and be over 25 (for car hiring legal reasons).
I knew when I graduated that a career in the television industry wasn’t something I really wanted anymore. I still want to create, I still want to work in video production, I’m just not sure TV is where I want to work. I’d much rather work in digital media as you can create and publish your own content*** yourself without having to go through the process of pitching to a production company and then going to a broadcaster and then basically handing over your project to a large group of people you don’t know. Call me a control freak but I’d rather do it all myself, well maybe not all of it but you get the idea.
It’s these kinds of jobs I’m looking into. But again, that isn’t the only thing I want to do in life. I want to write. I want to be a photographer of some sort. I want to travel. I want to do it all. I’d rather be freelance than contracted because then at least I can take time off when I want and choose to work when I want. I’m sure many (if not most) creatives have creative peaks and creative slumps. I can’t create content I’m happy with all the time, I’m not a machine. Which is why my blog posts can be few and far between. I sometimes lack inspiration. I don’t want to force ideas. I want to take the same approach to my professional career. Whilst I enjoy working on multiple ‘projects’ at a time, the initial coming up with ideas stage is a painful and lengthy process. I’m not going to make or publish something I’m not 100% happy with.
The reality of my graduate life has been pretty bleak to say the least but there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. I have an end goal. Something to look forward to. Something I am passionate about. I just have to find something to fill the void between now and then. Maybe my life was always meant to be this way. That no amount of trying would get me anywhere initially. Maybe I was supposed to give up and try again. Maybe that’ll make the reward so much more rewarding in the end. Facing adversity has only ever made me stronger. Maybe I needed toughening up before I could make it.
I love seeing all the incredible things my friends are doing. Seeing where they’re at and what they’re becomming. There’s so many people who are on track to being something/someone great. I can’t help but feel jealous at times. Why can’t my life be like that? Why can’t I ever seem to catch a lucky break? It’s disheartening to feel like nobody wants to hire you. It makes me feel like a failure, like I’m not good enough. That I’m not worthy of a chance to prove myself.
There is so much pressure and expectation for people to have their lives all figures out by the time they’re a certain age. As if X amount of rotations around the sun somehow makes you a fully functioning adult. You’re constantly compared to (and comparing yourself to) other people around your age and wondering why you don’t have a life like that. The answer seems simple, you are not that person. You haven’t been through what they have, you haven’t experienced the world the way they have, you haven’t been taught the way they have. Each and every person in this world is different. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others. Saying that almost sounds hypocritical based on what I’ve previously said, but it’s something that I’m trying to stop doing.
Hearing comparison from anyone can be hurtful. Hearing comparison from family can hurt even more. I know they only do it out of love and care (in most cases) but for me it only adds to my feelings of failure and general hopelessness. Everyone likes to think they have the magic answer to fix all your problems, but they don’t understand. Whilst I never want to be a disappointment to my family, I don’t want to live a life I am unhappy with. Each day I do something that will go towards my end goal but because I don’t necessarily have anything to show for it and receive no income from it**** I feel like my family could easily think I’m lazy, when I’m anything but. Sure I have days were I don’t get much done because I feel like crap, but on the days I feel good and creative I can get so much done.
I don’t know where I’m going with my life in the next few years or even the next few months. I have no real plan. I’m just going to take each day as it comes and see what comes up. That isn’t to say I’m going to sit around and do nothing, waiting for opportunities to come to me. I’ll still be tirelessly searching websites for jobs etc. I just don’t want to spend time stressing over something I have no control over. I can’t make there be more jobs.
Reading Amy’s post the other day gave me comfort that what I’m doing is okay. It’s okay to not have your life all figured out just yet. It’s okay to tell people you’re struggling. It’s okay to live day by day. It’s okay to have an off day every now and then. The only thing that’s not okay is other people telling you how you should be living your life. How you should have the perfect well paid full time job. How you should be living in a nice flat/house (chance would be a fine thing). How you should be in a relationship and thinking about a future.
Whilst all that stuff is nice, it’s not something you need. Sure a full time job would be great so you could afford to rent/buy a nice place of your own which you could share with a partner. But none of that stuff matters if you aren’t happy. And the truth is, if you’re constantly compaing yourself to other you’ll never be truly happy.
Everyone is at different stages in their lives. It’s okay to be where you are right now. You are there for a reason. Life can seem dark at times but every now and then a ray of light will appear. Someone will throw you a rope. These might not always be obvious signs but they will be there, you just have to look hard enough.
Well this post was much longer and more rambly than I intended it to be. Turns out this was something I really needed to talk about. If you’re still reading this then thank you, I know it was a long read so thanks for sticking it out to the end.
If anyone else out there is a graduate and feeling the same way (or is worried about graduating soon) leave a comment and we can chat it out. Or if you want to chat more privately you can message me on any of my social media accounts or even send me an email. I have a lot more I want to talk about on the topic of university which I’d love to share with you. I also have a few other things I want to get off my chest that I’ve shied away from talking about previously, but now I feel more confident blogging and sharing information it’s something I want to do.
Final thing before I sign off, just a quick one about the featured image: you can clearly tell I took my education/graduation very seriously.
* not saying that people working full time in retail aren’t proper adults because I have full respect for you, it’s just not a long term career that I want (or can mentally handle)
** again not saying retail isn’t a great job, it’s just not what I want to do and not what I went to university to do
*** obviously if you work for a digital media company you won’t have full control over the finished product but I’m speaking in terms of my career end goal
**** no I don’t mean blogging as an end goal