I’ve tried writing so many different versions of this post that I’m just sick of it now.
“Well, I just don’t see how your degree and Masters could be of any use to you. Even with your work experience, I don’t know if I would employ you. Maybe I would put you working in housekeeping” said the woman in HR. I hung up on her, tears welling up in my eyes, feeling like the least employable person in the entire country. It was an all-time low and a blow to my self-esteem that left me reeling for days. Questions about why had I even bothered working so hard in college to get a good degree and masters at the price of so many other things such as a social life and sports echoed around my head on loop. Worse the niggling question about how was I finding it so hard to find a job while so many other people had managed to find well-paying jobs even in the depths of recession would not go away.
After finishing my MA thesis, I started to work in retail. At first, it was a temporary measure, meant to sustain me through the transition from student life but then as the gradual realisation hit that the job hunt was going nowhere fast, it became a lifeline. Surely it was better than sitting at home on the dole and some thought it was a job I should feel grateful to have, but to be honest, even my patience with rude customers, endless shelf stacking and stock counts has its limits.
Sadly after several months on the soul-crushing rollercoaster of applying for jobs and writing cover letters and individualised CVs only to never hear anything back or instant rejection, I settled on the only real viable option- emigration. There were other solutions maybe, such as quitting my retail job, getting social welfare after 8 weeks of unemployment and applying for an internship, but saving money for this while earning absolutely piss-all is impossible. I felt so trapped and stuck in the never-ending circle of making plans, trying to save money and then having to break into my meagre savings for a basic expense such as going to the doctor.
I rarely hear people discussing the actual emotional and social side effects of graduating into such a terrible economic climate. I may have been lucky enough to get an education in a good university but when it is utterly worthless, it really makes you reevaluate all the choices that led you down that path. Even worse, it brings up horrible feelings of jealousy when you see a friend succeed, shame and guilt when at the age of 22, you need a handout from your parents for rent, and misery when it seemed so utterly hopeless that I would barely even be considered for a job of scrubbing toilets.
My hope to return home is tempered by my worry about being able to find gainful employment upon my return. I want to live in Ireland but if I had to return to the same endless job hunt, would it even be worth it?