Becoming one of Ireland’s youth unemployment statistics
Graduation was a day I’d pictured many times during my university years. The sense of achievement as I stepped up to collect my degree made the years of hard work completely worth it. All I needed now was a job.
Even after many career talks, tutor meetings and Google searches, when I graduated in 2012, I still wasn’t sure what to do next. My anthropology degree had given me an insight into many things. A solid career plan wasn’t one of them.
My career search began. I spent days in front of a computer applying for jobs. I sent out endless CVs with no joy. Every job rejection chipped away bit by bit at my self-esteem.
I seemed to be overrun with rejections, it was a pleasant relief if a day went by with nothing to open but a Groupon email.
Days turned into weeks and when my money reached an all time low I decided to go back to my part-time job as a nanny. Although this lifted me out of my financial black hole, I soon found after a long day entertaining a toddler the last thing I wanted to do was start back on the job search.
Anxiety set in
I began to feel incredibly anxious. Every newspaper I picked up seemed to be centered around the “poor economy” or “youth unemployment” a subject I was by now all too familiar with.
The more anxious I became the more motivation I lost. It seemed as if all my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do and were well on their way to achieving it, making me feel like even more of a failure.
Having been a runner for years I decided to sign up for the Dublin Marathon. I felt it would be good to focus my energy on raising money for something I was passionate about. Completing the marathon gave me exactly the kick I needed to get me out of my rut.
It gave me back the confidence I had lost after all the job rejections. A marathon might seem like an extreme way of building back esteem. But, working towards a goal unrelated to my career reminded me I was well able to achieve something if I worked hard.
Talking about it
In the midst of my joyless job hunt I had begun to dread any kind of career conversation with friends or family, but achieving something I was proud of took away that anxiety. Being able to talk openly about how stressful I was finding everything soothed my worry.
I found most of my friends were in similar situations. Like me they felt everyone else had made the transition from student to working adult with complete ease.
The more time I spent focusing on what interested me the more ways I found to gain skills making me more employable.
I began volunteering which focused my mind in a way endless hours in front of a computer looking for jobs had not.
Stepping back and putting my energy into small projects has given me a clearer idea of what I want to do. I now look at job hunting in the same way as my degree.
Each small assignment brought me one step closer to graduation day.
Now each small goal and each project I complete brings me closer to a career I can enjoy and succeed in.