On this time next year and why I’m refusing to settle for an ‘any job’

Friday 16th September, 2011

There was a time when I knew I wanted a job in the arts. Not as a performer, just as one of those people who makes it all happen – one of those people who is well known by important people but not by the riff-raff. Those days are long gone.

I quickly learned that when graduation day comes and that ribbon-clad kitchen roll tube is handed to me, I need to find or have found a job. Any job. Within or without the arts sector. There’s no shame in that – bills have to be paid and, besides, the ‘any jobs’ of this world aren’t necessarily dead ends.

But then I realised I wasn’t giving myself enough options. It was either an arts job (which I certainly couldn’t guarantee was going to happen) or an ‘any job’. You know, the usual archetypes. Shelf-stacking, burger-doling, circus, Foreign Legion…

That’s when I started looking for jobs that weren’t arts-related but would still challenge and satisfy me. After research I discovered that a lot of big companies offer graduate schemes that I’m ideally suited for, as someone who is used to leadership and responsibility and is able to pick up new skills quickly. A lot of these businesses say they’re not necessarily looking for someone with a degree that has obvious relevance; rather, they want people who have intelligence, enthusiasm and personality.

I’m doing pretty well – so far I’ve got telephone interviews lined up with KPMG and Sainsbury’s, and am waiting to hear back from a few others. Some companies have already rejected me, but I don’t think they were right for me and in a way I’m glad they agreed.

Where will I be this time next year?

N.B. If you think these kinds of graduate schemes might be for you, a good starting point is The Times’s list of the Top 100 Graduate Employers.

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