MA Magazine Journalism

April 2013

Where did you Study?

City University London

What did you Study?

MA Magazine Journalism

What year did you Graduate?

2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Eyes, arms, Anonymous.

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

After my BA I was just another lost graduate. I saved money by, ha…it’ll sound weird…I did fire dancing outside nightclubs, and moved to Mexico, by myself, for two years. I wanted to be bilingual; I felt oddly frustrated having only one language. Weird impulse I know, I didn’t even know anyone there. I’d also had a friend kill himself, so leaving the country didn’t seem like such a big deal – and as I felt like there were no career prospects, it seemed like a good time to go. I studied Spanish for a few months then I got a few teaching hours and my own place. The recession got way worse while I was there so I stuck around until I became totally fluent, but I had no future there; although journalism was something I was interested in, journalists tend to get murdered in Mexico! The cartels moved into my city and started tearing the place up around the time I started thinking of going home. I taught English for extra cash and kept getting classes cancelled because of cartels hanging around looking to kidnap people where I worked. It all sounds terribly dramatic seeing it all written down, but it was actually quite a tranquil time, so much so that I got bored and started missing London a lot.

I came home, bilingual, penniless and triumphant at having avoided getting kidnapped! I also realised journalism was a path I wanted to follow full time, so I started saving to do a Masters in London, which took about a year and a half.

After graduating, I spent half my time freelancing and half my time descending into a state of panic – why haven’t I got a job yet? What if I never do? Have I wasted £9000 on a Masters I’ll never use? After two months, I got a temporary job overseas and came home early this year.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I’m not in my dream job. That’s why my name is How To Be Jobless. I’m a writer, blogger and I produce videos, and I’m best when the style is humorous.

After coming home to London, I was out of work for three weeks before I knew I had to start something like HTBJ (howtobejobless.wordpress.com), or I’d lose my mind. Most people go months before they have genuine concerns for their sanity, but I couldn’t get my mind off the question, “How long can I let this go on? What if I never get anything?”

I’m now working towards a deadline to get a job. A steady, everyday “I’m a journalist at…” job. I have 10 months left.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Yes. I’m as trained as it’s possible to be with only a couple of years experience. But where I am now is on the side of unemployed and desperate for work – rather than the other side, overworked and desperate for help. 2013 is a silly time, isn’t it?

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

Laugh about it. It’s funny. It’s horrible, humiliating and soul-destroying, but it’s funny. We’re in a situation that is completely unworkable and unsustainable – how do we change it? George Orwell said, “Every joke is a tiny revolution”. That’s where I’m starting. Jokes are powerful – they gradually reveal that the way things are is ridiculous. Whereas placards and marches have a success rate only marginally higher than rubbing a lamp.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

I will be calling the HR departments of jobs I have applied for to check I haven’t gone into their junk mail. Since they never reply to say they have received an application, I can’t be sure unless I call. If everyone did this we’d waste just enough of their time that they’d realise responding is quicker.

This afternoon I’ll be filming the How To Be Jobless ‘About’ video with a fabulous Welsh actor called Gethin Alderman. I will also probably tweet a lot, as I aspire to make my pyjama’d people laugh as they do what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day: searching for a job and, if I can possibly find one that doesn’t include the word “intern” or “senior”, applying for it.

And I’m not in an office so I’ll be singing “Loveshack”, and loudly.

That’s it. How To Be Jobless, you have been wonderful.

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