Student Issues

“finding a job was probably the biggest struggle of my life so far”

I only started first proper job recently which is fairly shocking for a 21 year old. In general, I’ve seen most people get their first job at around 18 years old, so you’re probably wondering how in the world it took me this long.
Most people start applying for jobs and handing out CV’s when they’re around 17/18 years old. When I was this age, I was a total mess. Even if I had applied for jobs there was no chance I would have ever been employed anyway. 
I was lazy, I was addicted to Call of Duty and most importantly I had no motivation to leave the house. I lived a very comfortable life at home away from civilization. 
I didn’t spend money and if I ever actually needed money I had savings I could dip into and two parents I could lean on. 
I went into my first year of college after the Leaving Cert in 2012 with no job, and after dropping out, I immediately hit the hard ground face first. 
I was a 19 year old unemployed college dropout getting €50 a week from the social welfare with absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do with my life.
It was that summer of 2013 that I started applying for jobs. Mind you, I was probably more of a mess than the previous years, but now I was more motivated to change my life. 
I started handing out CV’s, applying for jobs online and I actually got a few interviews, but I still couldn’t find someone willing to employ me. When you’re 19 employers will probably expect you to have some sort of work experience, so that was probably my biggest issue. 
May 2013 to August 2014 was probably the most difficult time of my life. Being unemployed and out of college (I was doing small FETAC courses and volunteer work though) is tough when everyone else is busy with their lives and actually achieving some of their life goals. 
For me there was a lot of disappointment, loneliness, bitterness and sadness in those 15 or so months. I worked with my Dad whenever he needed me and helped my mother with whatever she needed. I did some volunteer work as well such as working for the Special Olympics in Limerick last summer.
However I still spent a lot of time sitting around the house watching E4, playing the Playstation and listening to music. It sounds nice and there’s times now where I wish I had the time to do that again, but ultimately it was very tough. 
I felt worthless and had very little money to spend on anything. All of my friends were working and I felt very abnormal for not having a job. I was really trying my best to better myself and it was hard to keep morale high when I was continuously getting a very small percentage of call backs from employers. I had nearly given up hope when I finally got that call.
If anyone reading this is going through an unemployment phase I have some advice:
  • Make the most of it, you won’t be getting free time like that forever (I hope).
  • Keep sending around CV’s, talking to managers, going the extra mile, but most importantly keep the faith.
  • Don’t feel ashamed for being unemployed, most of us will go through a stage where we can’t find work and consider yourself lucky if you don’t.
  • Don’t get into lazy habits. It’s very easy to sit back and relax when unemployed, especially when you don’t have any real push to go and get a job. The sooner you get a job the better.
  • Do not rely on job searching websites when applying for jobs. Handing out CV’s in person is still the best way to impress an employer.
  • Smile. A simple smile goes a long way.

Photo: Flazingo Photos/ Flickr