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24 and Unemployable

My Struggles of Employment in the UK

As a child, I had always enjoyed many different activities and had a wide array of interests. I wanted to be an artist so spent hours creating what my father said were masterpieces. I wanted to be a dancer so my mother enrolled me in dance classes and devoted her weekends to watching me on the benches. I wanted to become a musician so got a little acoustic guitar and went to lessons. I wanted to be a fashion designer so cut up all my clothes and tried to hot glue them back together adding every embellishment you could think of. As a child I had many creative dreams. I was an only child and loved to spend hours on my own creating and making things. My mother and father were very supportive of that and I thank them very much for this. 

As I got older it was drilled into me that these were not appropriate career aspirations and I should be more like my class mates and aspire to be a doctor or a police woman or a vet. This confused me and I started to lose interest in a lot of my creative adventures. I saw these adventures as hobbies rather than careers. Entering high school I still had no idea what appropriate career path I wanted to embark on and had very awkward chats with the work coaches that go around visiting schools to give kids advice on how to achieve these goals. I had no interest in maths or physical education and was only allowed to pick one creative subject, so I chose art. After a difficult 4 years, I decided to leave school at the age of 15 as I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew it wasn't going to be continuing in school. 

I went to college to study beauty therapy because that is what my mother did. I dropped out. I then went to study fashion. I dropped out. I decided to go to college one last time and stick to it, I chose sound production as I have a huge love for music and wanted to pursue this. I stayed for 3 years and then went on to 1 year at university to obtain a degree. I didn't complete my masters but still got my Bachelors Degree which I'm still very proud of. Coming out of university, I slowly realised that there were in fact no jobs in this industry in Glasgow and I struggled massively to find anything remotely to do with my degree.  I took on various jobs including a cashier at a Chinese take away, a sales person for Samsung mobiles, and then in a call centre for Vodafone. 

Vodafone is where things started to change for me, this was my first full time role in a proper office with pay slips and all those adult things. I was enjoying it but was completely becoming more and more of a robot. I said the same things every day over and over again and listened to people scream and complain call after call. A lot of people left as they felt their brains were becoming numb and the constant negativity was getting them down. I started to feel the same and eventually left after 11 months. The options were find something that makes you happier, or become more miserable and lose sight of any of those dreams I had as a child. I wanted to be the old Maria again. 

I took on a job as a receptionist for a salon around a week after leaving Vodafone and really enjoyed working with people in a creative environment. It was fun to see the different looks people came up with and transformations daily. I got a call in November telling me I was fired. 1 month before Christmas. Because I was not wearing enough make up. Yes. Not enough make up. I could do nothing as I was on a Zero Hour contract. I was extremely upset and worried, it was just before the festive period, I had a flat and bills to pay for and lost a bit of confidence in myself as I had thoughts in my head like, "More makeup? Am I too ugly to work in the beauty industry?" I've slowly regained this confidence. I then took on a part time role selling ridiculously expensive headphones on a Friday and Saturday to Glasgow's elite. It was the only job I even managed to hear back from. I applied for jobs every spare minute I had and got passed the initial stages to work for a large UK Bank in their call centre. It wasn't my dream job but it was good money and close to my flat. When I got the job I was unbelievably happy and felt like I could finally relax and enjoy myself, not worry constantly. The start date however was getting pushed back further and further away... My headphone job ended in January, I was due to start the new job on the 1st of February... then the middle of February... then the start of March, then it was the end of March and then eventually I was told that they did not actually have any space for me to start as they had taken on too many people. I was completely crushed. I had wasted all this time waiting for this new opportunity for it to end before it had even started. 

I apply on average for around 15 jobs a day, sometimes I send out 30 CVs in one sitting and others only 4 or 5. I apply online and in person. I check my emails constantly just hoping something will appear. I cannot do an apprenticeship because I have a degree and cannot go back to education because I have spent all the tuition money on my previous classes. I cannot get an interview because my CV has this huuuuuuuge gap which no one will allow me to explain. When I get an interview I never get the job as my feedback is always "You have a large gap in your employment history and also had quite a few jobs in the past." I'm finding it absolutely impossible for any employer to look past this and see me for the qualified intelligent person that I am. 

The whole situation angers me but I cannot change it I have to keep trying until someone gives me a shot. I am being punished for wanted a change of environment, for wanting to learn about different sectors and for putting my creative brain first. With all this spare time on my hands I have become the old Maria again. I paint and draw, I've become really into music even more so than I already was, and my love of fashion and DIY has come back. Employers are looking for the golden children, primary school, high school, university and 1 or 2 prior jobs that they have been in for long periods of time even if they were really unhappy. I wish the recruitment process would see people for who they truly are and not judge their whole life based on a 3 page CV. 

Creative minds are some of the greatest minds there are, they just don't have great CV's.    

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