After my undergraduate degree, I’m sure I fell victim to the Post-grad Blues. Not only did I move far away from everything I’d grown familiar with after three years, but I found trouble in looking for work. It took me three months to go through my savings trying to not burden my parents and live as independently while I job searched,as I had in Crewe (even though I was living at home); took another month for me to gather up the courage to take the advice of some others in my position and sign up for JSA while I tried to get a publishing placement or internship or basically anything at all to do with books.
After all, since sixteen I knew whatever career I ended up in, bookseller, editor, writer, production (sometimes I even hoped illustrator), I always hoped the focus would be books… or magazines, e-books, blogs. Anything you could read. My mum always said, she wanted my brother and I to be happy with whatever we did with our lives- and when reading was my favourite pastime, the Publishing industry was the thing to aspire to.
My first publishing job search fresh from my undergraduate degree was not very successful. I rarely got an interview, and when I did- it didn’t get further than that. The stress put onto me while on JSA was ridiculous- I got the idea that they didn’t care what industry I got into, as long as I got hired and removed myself from the program ASAP. And you know, that internalised societal shame of being seen as too lazy to work or being a scrounger when in all honesty it should be recognised that looking for work is like a full time job in itself with all the various sites, newsletters, interviews and networking events you end up attending.
I got very nervous when it came to applying to positions. It even effected my MA a little bit- I was so sure no one would be interested in what I had to offer, and was sure to get no replies to the emails- let alone land an interview or get the placement that I needed (and wanted) for one of my modules. But I did, and my confidence grew. I had people reassuring me that I did have something to bring to the table and educating me on the topics where it was necessary. I left the course feeling competent.
Unlike some of my classmates, I decided I was going to focus solely on my dissertation over the summer. I didn’t want to burn out because I was so determined to leave my MA with a grade that I would feel proud of (because shame/disappointment was the initial fuel for my Post-grad blues). Now I’ve done all of that, I received my results two weeks ago and felt confident in my abilities. What I felt seemed like that “Imposter Syndrome” you hear about, although it doesn’t appear to have taken root, and for that I’m thankful.
This second foray out into the world of employment is different. I am more relaxed, and having made friends with those in a similar aspiring position- I don’t feel as unfulfilled as I thought I might looking for and taking part in non-book related work. I don’t shy away from the thought of stacking cans or waiting tables because I’ve learnt that I can’t expect to get a dream job right away.
And I do need money to buy all of the books I’m eagerly anticipating in 2017. I know I’m good for the job, any job.