One of the really weird things about my new job is that I don't hate it.
Now, that might sound like boasting, but it's mostly given me so much-needed perspective about my old job, my first real 'graduate' job. I was there for three years, and it's very weird the awful, awful things you start to take as being both normal and entirely acceptable. It wasn't quite full on Stockholm Syndrome, but there was an element of pushing things to the back of my mind and pretending that they were a-okay.
You see – and I speak for a lot of graduates, I think, of the last five years or so – is that we have been made to feel quietly worthless. Not being NEETs, generally speaking being childless, having a public perception (whether true or not) that we have parents to fall back on and not having mortgages, etc, there was a sense that we were constantly at the back of the queue. We're all useless, with our silly degrees and no hard experience, expecting to walk into an amazing job. We should be grateful for any kind of paid employment we should have because we deserve no better.
Which has led to some employers, frankly, taking the piss.
I'm not going to go too far into details, mostly because my old employer is litigation-happy and liable to withhold references, but basically I put up with a long list of crap. I casually mentioned in my newest job that there was CCTV at my old work, which took in our computers and the boss would occasionally watch it on his laptop at home if he was running late. Stunned horror met this statement. I... sort of didn't realise that wasn't normal? There's CCTV in many workplaces, I realise that, but in an office was that strictly necessary?
That's just one example, and a rather specific and non-graduate one at that. The point is that I was willing to put up with everything, despite the fact that I was deeply unhappy and often fantasised about somehow crashing my car in a non-fatal way in order to miss work that day.
Graduates, you will have to put up with some crap in your working lives. My last job had some good things about it, and got me some much-needed office experience, but in the end I was too scared by the economy to move on.
Let's get some things straight: my new job isn't perfect by a long stretch. New people are scary, and these are a lot of new people in a very technical field that I mostly don't understand yet. Some of the work is a bit monotonous. The Tube is still a challenge most day, and the day is a significantly longer one. I don't look good in proper office clothes, either. But I don't wake up unhappy, and I've remembered that actually I am a rather intelligent human being, I have worked hard, and I deserve a job where I can proudly say: “I've earned this.”
Graduates: you will almost certainly have to put up with crappy jobs, but don't stay with them forever because you think you should, because you think you're no better, because you're scared. My new job is not a perfect job, but it's a damn sight better and life feels like a better place.
Most of the above is not particularly enthralling blog material, which is why it's been a few weeks to put together. However, I think I may be getting some more material together soon, and you can always rely on the government to say some face-gnawingly stupid things before too long. So there's something to look forward to.