JobCentre Plus: A Graduate's Perspective

Tomorrow I go to the job centre again. Ten minutes sat watching the dregs of society wander around me in tracksuit bottoms and t-shirts with holes from labels ripped out, […]

The real world is hard

Tomorrow I go to the job centre again. Ten minutes sat watching the dregs of society wander around me in tracksuit bottoms and t-shirts with holes from labels ripped out, and I judge them. I make stories of deceit and stories of despair for those desperate people who wander around me. And I consider myself better, I have a degree you see, I am educated, I am a lower class boy done good, I am no longer part of this culture.

Then the beautiful part, ten minutes with an overweight man who I know I am better than, who tells me to apply for jobs that he could never get, because you see, I have a degree. I smile and nod politely and go along with this foolishness but the sparse directions he gives me are a weak ghost of what I am already doing, so why am I here? For fifty six pounds a week? Is that what I am worth to the world?

But that’s not why. I am there because I am not better than them. I am one of them, this is my place right now and I should not judge. But I do, that is what I have become, university has made me one of an elite many who are specialists in wants, who know much without knowing how to exercise that knowledge in such a way that someone will give me money for it.

It was easier to judge at first, such high hopes upon graduation. I have a degree. I have worked in my field of choice, I am ahead of even those who graduate with me, I am better than them. And so, of course, I get the interviews. Every company that could conceivably want me sees my C.V, the platitudes of wonder that I can express about myself on two electronic, unreal pages of utter crap and calls me in to be viewed, like a zoo animal, is this the graduate we want?

But I am found out, I am not better than them. I walk in calm, composed. I look good in a suit. But I am found wanting. Another has more experience they say. You weren’t quite right for the role they say.

Meaningless, meaningless sentences for meaningless roles in meaningless companies in a meaningless life. I eat, I piss, I shit and on occasion I fuck but it is all so meaningless now. Now I have been one of them for so long. Now I accept the den of sin that is my life, even though the sin is sloth, that most boring of sins. I accept it because the government gives me fifty six pounds a week to accept it, a sum of money too large to warrant ignoring but too small to allow for a life with any meaning to be lived. Or in terms a student would understand, enough to get drunk but not enough to forget why you’re drinking.

So tomorrow I will sit there, I will put my signature in a small green box and nod politely at the fat man who controls my money like little golden drugs with an aging monarchs face smiling on them. And I will slowly come to accept that I am as shitty as the stories I make for those around me, and it will be harder to think I look good in a suit, it will be harder to be confident at interviews and it will be harder to keep the fat man happy. It will be harder to keep up the façade in my mind that I am better than them and I will fester and rot and all the good and all the knowledge I contain will seep out, like so much shit that I no longer need. And then I will be one of them. And then what?

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  • Biochem graduate

    What utter bullshit. Get your head out of your ass, you’re insulting all those who can and do actually get jobs out of uni.

  • Andy H

    Remember kids: This is why you don’t go to university to study English.

    • Luke Southan

      In the interests of fairness I have a degree in Biomedical Sciences. The real issue for me is Birmingham has a very limited range of employers who do anything related to that (and i’ve already worked for one of the major ones in the private sector and they are an awful company to work for), but a piece called ‘Why I need to move to Cambridge or London to get a job I would enjoy doing.’ would have been less fun for me to write.

      • Matt

        So in essence you choose to take taxpayer money because you don’t like the job opportunity you had, and you can’t be bothered to move?

        • Luke Southan

          I had a job with the company in the past summers, but they don’t have any roles free at the moment otherwise i’d rather work somewhere shit than have to take jobseekers and moving requires a certain amount of start up capital. I’d say to move to a new city unless you get offered a job with a starting bonus you need at least a grand for deposit etc.

  • Abe

    I’ve just got a job after graduating in July, and went to the Jobcentre in the interim. It was so depressing, but I got a young, cool personal advisor who understood how I was there and stuff, so that really helped. All in all though, it’s a very depressing situation to be in, but a necessary one!

  • Jae

    Man the fuck up. Jesus Christ. Maybe if you weren’t so judgemental in the first place and tried not-whining for twenty seconds someone would mistake you for a positive individual and employ you. The dregs of society? Twat.

    • SK

      You do realise he is being sarcastic… the article is a satirical commentary on the naivete of graduates who expect to be snapped up right after graduation.

      The only “twat” I can see is the guy who needs to go back to primary school and revise his reading comprehension skills.

      • facepalm

        It’s not satirical, as you can see by the authors comments. It’s whining and if it IS satirical it’s not funny at all. It’s not funny to ‘make up stories’ of despair and poverty for people at the jobcentre, it’s just stupid. And I think I’m doing alright in terms of reading and writing, thanks.

        Also stop being so presumptive with your pronouns…

  • Jae

    “Now I accept the den of sin that is my life, even though the sin is sloth, that most boring of sins. I accept it because the government gives me fifty six pounds a week to accept it, a sum of money too large to warrant ignoring but too small to allow for a life with any meaning to be lived. Or in terms a student would understand, enough to get drunk but not enough to forget why you’re drinking.”

    Do some fucking volunteering, then!

  • derpy hooves

    This article sums up why no one wishes to hire you. You need to get off your high horse thinking that you are better than everyone around you, learn some humility and stop thinking that you are going to be given everything you want because you have a piece of paper that says you wasted your money at university. Also, please soton tab, stop posting puff pieces from selfish individuals like this one, I know this site isn’t supposed to have quality journalism but you can do better than this.

    • Reading Comprehension Instructor

      The author doesn’t think he is genuinely above these people, he is mocking the idea that a degree is a failsafe platform for building a dream career, something that naive undergrads often assume.

      • Chris

        Sad that so many did not see this.

        • Mclean

          Its more the fault of the author’s poor writing skill rather than the reader’s incomprehension. (His poor spelling and grammar don’t help).

          @the author
          Where did you get the idea that obtaining a degree makes you ‘better’ than other people? You are critiquing a notion that simply isn’t even the case.

          The economy is in recession, jobs are sparse, and the few companies that are hiring, aren’t hiring for charity – and certainly not to maintain a few graduates foul world views.

          • Luke Southan

            I don’t have the idea that having a degree makes me better than anyone, I do think that the majority of people are taught throughout most of their life in education that having a degree makes you more employable. However this seems to be the opposite for any jobs that don’t actually require a degree as you suddenly become ‘over-qualified’ and you can’t just remove it from your c.v when applying to non-graduate/non-degree requiring jobs because their is then massive gaps in your c.v.

            • facepalm

              Then get some experience elsewhere and actually invest some *time* into making your CV better instead of just wishing that the money you threw at the University made you instantly everyone’s first choice for a job. Whining about your free-time when that free time could be spent working for a charity shop or support group or a youth group like so many other (and now employed, I hasten to add) people opted to do in their meantime instead of writing existential bollocks on student blogs is hardly conducive to your current situation. Besides, that part about not being able to get a job that doesn’t require a degree is a bit pants as well, isn’t it? I got work in a pub before I got a 9-5 job, with a Master of Chemistry, and they weren’t concerned with whether or not I was planning on analysing everything that came out of the taps. There’s more to job interviews than wanking over your qualifications. How many could you have applied for in the time you took to write this sob story. Sheeeee…

  • Rastamouse

    I’m in the same boat as you.

    Except I’m rather happy that I’m essentially given free money by the state (not that I’m in support of statism or any form of socialism personally, but hey – don’t hate the player etc.etc.)

    But yeah. Dude. Seriously. Try living in a third world country and stop being a massive p*ssy.

  • stiv

    This is the biggest humblebrag there ever was and ever will be.

    You should be ashamed. Student publications are absolutely awash with writing like this. You should walk to the nearest bin and get in it because you are rubbish.

    I’ve got a degree, been to that very job centre.

    • Luke Southan

      I should be offended but that is actually a fantastic insult.

  • ?!?

    Maybe you haven’t got a job yet because employers have been reading your articles online and have decided that you are an arrogant douche?

  • Mario

    I too have a ‘fat man’ adviser, what’s worse is that he has a major stammering problem which in ‘real life’ (i.e outside of the job centre) wouldn’t bother me, but it means our little sessions take 3 times the length in which they should.

    He also types with one finger, they can’t hire people who can type at a reasonable speed. I have to sit and watch him search for a letter, and poke the correct key with his short stubby finger.


    I’ll tell you what the biggest issue is, it’s not that Uni students have an ‘elitist’ attitude, It is the fact that despite growing up in a ‘lower class’ area, I worked hard and avoided many temptations that could have been detrimental to my education, and ultimately came out with good grades.

    Yet I am stranded in the unforgiving desert of the unemployed, alongside some of my peers who didn’t get their grades and didn’t care about their education.

    So as I said, it’s got nothing to do with feeling like I am ‘better’, it is the fact that in life it is generally taught that you need to work hard in order to achieve anything.

    I worked hard.
    But I no longer work hard because I do not have that opportunity.

  • Fortunately Employed

    I must say this article and the comments made for fascinating reading, especially so because I currently work in said Jobcentre.
    I love hearing peoples opinions about where I work and of their fellow unemployed.
    Yes the article is meant to be satircal however it would have been more obvious if the style of writing was better, however the underlying message is probably true. I see dozens of young unemployed every day. Some of them, like yourselves have attained their degree; but all that says to an employer, if your applying out of field, is that you can stick with something for a few years.
    Try applying for jobs with the mindset that you have not got a degree. If you can make yourself sound better than all the other applicants without having to rely on that piece of paper, then you improve your chances greatly.
    Anyway, hope I never see you there, but if I do, please be nice, because we are just like you. Tried to do something we wanted with our qualifications, then ultimately ended up taking the best job available.

  • T-total

    I cannot believe how many people are offended and disgusted by this, especially the Comments complaining about a few grammer issues…It’s absolutely brilliant.
    I’m not the one to judge, but come on…are non of you people human?! This poor guy has just experienced an overwhelming realisation, it’s all part of life’s experiences, it will make him stronger…or not, Either way I don’t give a shit, it was an interesting read and I’m going to steal the idea to make a short film, thanks and good luck!