Jamie Fox and the reality of the pheasant chasing Graduate – Diary of an Unemployed Blogaholic
A few weeks after university I returned home to the rural countryside of Suffolk – jobless and needing to earn a bit of cash. I think I had plans to stay in Suffolk for a few weeks and after 3 years of eating, drinking and being merry (some of the time), I felt that I needed a little pick me up (in terms of money anyhow!) I was offered some work picking strawberries with a few of my mates and was to be paid based on how many strawberries I picked and the quality of the strawberries themselves i.e. were they M&S quality strawberries or not! I think I lasted a day, and complained to myself that really this was too much like hard work – for little pay.
Now in hindsight, whilst the work was mundane, I should have stuck at it. Hanging around with my mates, picking strawberries and being paid, and on a hot Summer’s day too, was not really all that bad. Suntan included, I think I would quite happily have been paid to pick strawberries ten years later, as I sat hearing the sad news that my office was going to close and the staff, me included, were to be made redundant.
Anyhow, this leads me nicely onto a story that the media had picked up on a few months back. Jamie Fox had graduated from university with a degree in Music and English and found himself working on a oil seed rape farm in Norfolk. His job was to chase away pheasants and other undesirable birds who may wish to feed off the seeds. Chasing off birds is hardly the best job for your CV, however it’s also not a story that the worldwide media should have clambered onto with such excitement.
The thing is, recession or otherwise, every single graduate who does not study a vocational degree, like Nursing, Teaching or Medicine is likely to have to do some pretty crappy jobs post university. That is called the reality of having to both earn cash and also gain experience.
Having a little chuckle at Jamie Fox and his chasing pheasant job is all well and good (and it is a rather funny job I admit) however it is up to all of us career advisors, recruiters, and of course the media, to set the bar on the reality of what most graduates will have to do to find work now or at any time in the near future.
Going back to my own strawberry picking day, and then comparing this to the stress and impersonal nature of my redundancy, it was I who was the fool for not enjoying the sun and the odd nibble of a strawberry just for a few more days – just because I had grand ambitions above my own “just qualified” graduate status.