To be unemployed.

You will have to forgive me for my break in usual political/religious blogging, but as this is an outlet for me on a personal level also, it is a necessary piece of writing to get off my chest.

I cannot find work anywhere. I am 27, a freelance photographer, with a degree in Politics & Journalism, I am addicted to writing, I write almost daily on here as well as separately and more personally on another blog, I am fascinated by the World, I utterly adore history (mainly French Revolution and the US Civil War and revolution, but Tudor History and early Islamic history play a role too) and philosophy, I’m teaching myself to speak French, and I am desperately seeking a graduate/entry level position in communications, or PR, or digital marketing, anywhere in the country. I wouldn’t mind teaching either for which I’m currently applying. My dream is to live and to work and settle in the US. But I can’t even find a position here in the UK to gain any sort of experience. And it’s becoming a bit too much to deal with at the moment.

Unemployment has the unique ability to completely destroy any ounce of confidence or love of being alive one may once have enjoyed. I just feel completely empty, all the time. It becomes difficult to sleep as financial worries stack up and food becomes a luxury. Your social life dies because you can’t keep up with friends. You look at your degree certificate with contempt, like it is just another worthless piece of paper that reflects nothing and it no longer feels like any sort of achievement, and for every 300+ applications you send out, you receive maybe two replies because for every job you apply for, 100+ others are applying for daily. Every job labelled ‘graduate’ or ‘entry level’ seems to then demand 2+ years of experience. The very few that offer experience rather than demand it of graduates, seem to have half of Britain applying to. You become an insignificant face, in a sea of insignificant faces and you’re treading a water that is pulling you deeper in every day. Why bother to resist at all?

The latest position I applied for comes with this confidence killing disclaimer:

“Applications: 92
Please be aware we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised & regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials.”

– In other words…. don’t bother. You’re probably not good enough.

The Job Centre is a place of pity, of shame, and a broken, forgotten system with a thin veil of modernity covering its massive cracks. I sat next to a girl who had been coming to the Job Centre for over a year, and as she said that, she laughed nervously and said that if she didn’t laugh, she’d cry. The archaic job search system does not recognise the key words “digital” or “PR” and has trouble with the word “media”. These terms are too new for it, what with being introduced in the mid-90s. But the sofas are comfortable. So that’s just great. The staff talk to you patronisingly, like you’re probably just playing the system, a waste of oxygen, and so deserve to be spoken to like a child. You then get home in time to see a Tory politician continuously tell us all how shameful it is to be unemployed, and how we must be treated with suspicion and anger.

If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you are one of about 50+ other candidates and if you wish to impress at an interview, you need an extraordinary degree of confidence in yourself, which you now don’t have. Couple this with constant dehumanised “lazy” or “we must be tough on them!” rhetoric by politicians in both major political parties trying to win over a middle class, and a thoroughly right winged media treating you as a statistic, and a shameful drain on society, and you quickly descend mentally to a place where life seems entirely pointless, because you’re convinced that you have no worth. And whilst feeling entirely worthless, you dread the postman’s footsteps every day, because it’ll just be letter upon letter of threats from companies you can no longer afford to pay. Car insurance. Phone bill. Broadband. Every letter includes a subtle declaration that because you can’t afford to pay, they’ll charge you even more. Which you also can’t pay. And so they’ll threaten you with court. And then the bank charge you because your direct debit didn’t work when the company charged you extra for not being able to afford to pay in the first place. And then the bank will charge you more because you couldn’t pay the charge. And it never stops. Why would anyone have children here? What a fucking cruel thing to do.

The feeling that you are worthless isn’t fleeting, it doesn’t subside, it grows until it feels endless. And every slight knock back amplifies it. This is my current reality and I hate it.

If anyone knows of any opportunities, feel free to get in contact because I need just one place to give me even the smallest of opportunities to be able to prove my worth.

Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.


14 Responses to To be unemployed.

  1. octo says:

    posted it on fbook

  2. Haris Basit says:

    You are a very good writer and your post on unemployment is very touching. I feel your pain through your words. Let me offer some free advice from a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

    The political system is strongly rigged against labor markets and strongly favors capital over labor. This is especially true in the US where one political party is trying to make the balance between labor and capital similar to what one might expect in a third world country. The GDP per capita has increased dramatically in the US over the past 30 years while the average household income has hardly moved at all. Where are all those extra trillions of dollars going? To capitalists.

    From a societal perspective we need to fight this politically. But that is not the way to approach the problem as an individual. As an individual you need to see if you can switch sides to become a capitalist. This can take many forms and can be easier than you think.

    You could ‘simply’ put more emphasis into your freelance photography to make an ongoing business out of that. My guess is that you will have to rethink your marketing strategy perhaps in a very non traditional manner. On the assumption that you are already pushing this forward let’s look at other alternatives.

    Are there any hobbies (other than photography) that you could turn into a business. Could be almost anything. Keep in mind that there are thousands of businesses that are middle men that you may not even know exist but make good money. Here are a few typical ways of thinking that might help you identify an entrepreneurial activity. I hope they don’t come off as too pedantic, preachy or obvious:

    Non-Entrepreneur: That is awful, someone should fix it.
    Entrepreneur: That is awful, perhaps I can fix it.

    Non-Entrepreneur: Wow that is expensive! How do they get away charging so much for that?
    Entrepreneur: Wow that is expensive! How can I get a piece of that profit? Can I offer a less expensive alternate?

    Non-Entrepreneur: I loved New Orleans, I wish someone would open a New Orleans style restaurant here.
    Entrepreneur: I loved New Orleans. What would it take for me to open a New Orleans style restaurant here.

    Non-Entrepreneur: Things are changing so fast, it will be really difficult in a couple of years.
    Entrepreneur: Things are changing so fast, what will people need two years from now.

    If nothing else occupying yourself with entrepreneurial activity will help you maintain your self respect and perhaps give you the experience that you need for the labor market. The good thing about being a capitalist now is that it requires far less capital and much more intelligence and hard work. In other words capitalism is slightly more of a meritocracy now than before.

    I would be happy to discuss any entrepreneurial ideas you have.

  3. Don’t give up. I know exactly what you’re going through. But if you don’t send out applications, you certainly won’t get an interview for sure.

  4. Julie Gibson says:

    It’s so hard, I can’t imagine. I am so lucky to be working, but I also have hobbies that can pay. I bake and have supplied a café with cakes in the past, I make jewellery and have held parties and taken orders for over £500 per party. I would use these to greater advantage if I needed to. There is always something we can do, whatever obstacles others place before us.

    Very interesting response from Hasit, there is so much potential in you, and perhaps with such input it will help you see a way forward. I do hope so, yours is a talent that deserves exposure. 🙂

  5. Ptholome says:

    I live in spain where there are more than 26% of unemployed people and where more tha. 52 % of young people don’t have any kind of job. So people, like me, with 60 years old, and without an employ can’t have any possibility to get a good life. I understand what you are suffering and I wish you will find oit a better job as soon as the economic situation will become acceptable…
    Un like you, I am studying English language by my own though I don’t know it quite enough, but I try every day to learn more en more…
    I speak Spanich, of course! I am Spanich and I speak too, and very well! French.

    Alas! There is several years I stopped to envoy any letter to any company. Here, they didn’t envoy you a simple letter.

    I wish you to have a good day and a lot of chance in the futur.

  6. Ptholome says:

    Sorry. I have made some mistakes.

  7. Gregory Wilgosh says:

    Hello mate, I live in London and work at an Academy, doesn’t sound like what you’re after but it’s a fantastic job that should give you a great deal of confidence and self worth back. I know what it is to be unemployed and I am happy to help in any way. There are jobs going, please feel free to get in touch through my e-mail. Thank you. Greg Wilgosh.

  8. jcbb says:

    Hi! Love your topics and writing. I don’t know how much this will help, but here’s a guide that I created specifically for the unemployed:

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

  9. LisaC says:

    I think Haris has given you some amazing advice there. You do need to peel off some of your talent and direct it into something with a more focussed direction, which in turn could have a commercial and professional appeal.

    Your blog is good, as is your writing, but due to the wide range of subjects covered it strikes me as unlikely to draw people back or garner much loyalty. I maybe wrong and over time it may work but you sounds fed up, which is a shame.

    Use your humour, energy and passion on a specific subject you’re knowledgable about and stay on that alone. Whether it be one aspect of politics or photography or even the horrors of job-hunting and blog in a humorous and informative way about that and become the go-to expert in that field.

    Even if it has been done before, with your writing, you can do it better.

  10. Holy crap, I could have written this myself. My FTC ends in 2 weeks and I will soon be back on the hunt for jobs (which is currently going unsuccessfully).

    I’m a copywriter: have you looked into this as an industry?

  11. koenigal86 says:

    Reblogged this on koenigal86 and commented:
    True about the awful, useless Job Centre and hundreds applying for each vacancy

  12. RaeSone101 says:

    You’re not worthless, and it’s going to be okay 🙂

  13. ptholome says:

    I hope you have found out a job since you wrote this topic. I readd it and I was in pain for you. For me, to find a job is over and I am going to wait until me legal retirement in 8/2019… hopefully I have money enough to live without economic problems, though havibg a very simple and not expensive life…
    Good luck

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