Wednesday, 7 October 2009

It's Not You, it's the Market

Have you ever read the book He's Just Not That into You or seen the Sex and the City episode it was based on? (I do apologise for the references to the show, I promise I am not one of those women). It's about the liberation of truly understanding how the dating game works.

My approach to job hunting is similar to that, and my mantra is "It's not you, it's the market".

There is plenty of doom-laden recession porn to be found online about the plight of young people and graduates struggling to find their place on an insecure career ladder: here here here here here here here here here here here

I could go on. A young graduate could read all this and think, in a Marvin the Paranoid Android-esque sequence of defeatist thought processes, "oh, what is the point, I can't do anything in this situation" and conclude that applying for and getting a job has about the same odds of winning the lottery, resulting in a sitting duck graduate passively riding the recession wave. Boo hoo.

Or the said graduate could actually try buying a ticket for the lottery, and engineer that ticket into a winning ticket! Woo hoo! (Okay, we can also achieve it without the corny metaphor.)

I'm not an economics graduate but I have the understanding that the best thing I could probably do to boost my CV and to make my contribution to the speedy end of the job market of doom, is to start my own little business. For various reasons that I don't need to go into, this isn't really an option for me. However, I'm doing what I can. The problem here is two-fold.
1. I have no money.
2. I have no career.
But, as a result of both of these things, I have a lot of time.

Obviously a lot of time is being spent applying for jobs. But to avoid the soul-destroying experience of job hunting mentioned earlier, I am also volunteering at a Barnardo's bookshop. I cannot overstate how great this is.

First of all, I get to categorize and organize books, which saves me from sitting in my bedroom doing the same with my CD collection over and over.

Second of all, I get to sell lots of wonderful second-hand books to people. I love chatting to the customers and helping them to find great bargains. I especially love talking to old ladies on a buzz from buying stashes of cheap wool from other charity shops, about all the knitting books we have.

Third, I enjoy getting to know the other volunteers, a diverse and interesting bunch of folks.

Fourth, I have a filler line for my CV. "What did you do in the recession, Daddy?"

Finally, it gives me the motivation to keep on trucking. Another rejection email? Another day of fruitless job hunting? No matter, I'll spend tomorrow morning drinking cups of tea, shelving books and smalltalking with the locals. Then I'll see what kind of shape the market is in by the afternoon.

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