Bright shiny new graduate? Yeah, me too. Graduation was a glorious day – rays of sunshine, smiles all round, parents and relatives. It came and went in a blur and now? Well, yeah, more like – now what?
“The world is your oyster!” Sure, of course. The world is full of opportunities. The world is also full of thousands of other graduates this year, too. Of course, some of us have post-grad things lined up, jobs, got ourselves landed with a cool new position and the beginnings of a new career.
Others… well, yeah, what are you guys all doing? I know that the world seems open and endless at the minute, but sometimes, well, that’s scary! I know I’m certainly feeling the blues. The “Real World” is pretty big and open and weird, and it’s definitely not easy.
It’s great, yeah, but where to start? Freelance? Get a new job? I’ve already got one myself, but it’s not what I want to do. I’ve got job security, but there is no way I worked that hard for my degree to do essentially the same thing I was doing before I started my course.
And that’s the other thing. Jobs themselves. I’m not a huge fan of statistics, but … 10% (or something ridiculous) of jobs are advertised online? The rest are found through networking. So your friend gets this amazing job at their dad’s company, or their mum ‘knows someone’. But you’re still adamant that you’re going to strike out on your own and get yourself a job without anyone else’s help.
Well, you know what I’ve learned? It’s that asking for help isn’t shameful, or bad, and sometimes it’s very necessary. Networking counts for a lot. It’s what will get you more clients if you’re freelance – or your first client, even. Friends and family and friends of friends and family friends and family of friends – they’ll all help you out. You just have to ask, and talk to people. The person who cuts your hair, the person who empties your bins. The person who works at your corner shop. The guy next door. Down your local pub. They’ll all know someone who ‘just needs…’ or ‘could do with a…’ – and that’s your foot in the door.
It’s sometimes easy to get stuck in a ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ situation when you’re a graduate. Graduate opportunities advertised online are probably great for some people – especially if you’re chasing the gravy train. But I’m willing to bet that unless you’ve done some kind of business degree, you’re more interested in getting a job where you can use your passion – the same passion that made you want to enroll on your degree course in the first place. And sure, having that degree opened up a lot of opportunities for you. They’re all out there – just the sheer number of them sometimes blinds us to what really is possible, I feel. It can scare us into a little corner and make us accept something less than what we are capable of.
So I’m freelance editing. My services are currently available. I’m affordable, quick, and great at what I do (that’s my plug done, I promise!). But I know I’ve also got sidelines I can look into – cheap little business ideas I can knock up a quick advert for, do a little online thing for, social media for myself. I’ve got tonnes of skills I just need to find the time for. There’s loads of stuff out there, I don’t need to resign myself to just a 9-5. That’s just the job that makes it possible for me to do all the other stuff.
And with all that going on, it’s ridiculously easy for me to lose sight of what I really want. The dream. The dream of one day being published. Because that’s what’s really important to me. I can get caught up in ‘how to make money’ and ‘how I’m going to utilise my skills’ and ‘finding a job I love’. But at the end of the day, all I need to really focus on is getting through the 9-5 and finding the minutes in between to sit down and write that damn first novel.
We all are capable. Just because the post-grad world is scary, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go out and try.