I graduated from Newcastle this summer – now I’m serving coffee at the Careers Fair

Liam Tilbrook

It could be you

Architecture graduate Liam has a degree from Newcastle.

Now he’s serving coffee at our Careers Fair.

I knew my life wasn’t exactly on track the day I left Newcastle, swapping the city with either a trebles bar or a Gregg’s on every corner for the spare room at my Mum and Dad’s was never going to be easy.

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Liam in better days

Without a clue of where my life was going from that point, and (more importantly) with HSBC on the phone every other day telling me they wanted their overdraft back, I was forced to return to a handy part time job.

The job had been good to me. It had fed my standard student addictions to alcohol and pizza, and allowed me to rent a room from the thieving bastards that are the Jesmond landlords.

However it was about to start (almost) literally laughing in my face at the sorry state that was my life, post-uni.

Ironically the job happened to be with the catering arm of the University of Sheffield. I was still constantly surrounded by students, who were unknowingly and incessantly reminding me that I was, in fact, not one anymore.

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Unimpressed

I was asked by my boss to work on a coffee stand in the University Octagon Centre. I was in no position to turn down a shift, even if it did promise to bore me to shit.

Walking through the doors of the grotesque eight-sided building, I was suddenly surrounded by a word i’d tried to avoid for the past three years.

Careers.

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It was everywhere and it was my nightmare. Why me? Why now?

I’m not a superstitious man but if ever I believed the universe (Debbie, my boss) was sending me a message it was here and it was now.

I put my head down and found my station, all I could do was wait to be ignored and overlooked by a steady stream of prospective employers, while I satisfied their caffeine addictions.

For eight fucking hours.

As a guy with currently very little direction in life, the careers fair environment was is obviously a fairly hellish one.

I was surrounded by more-successful-than-me graduates wearing dodgy suits, and carefree students pretending to seriously consider their futures (and/or stock up on free pens).

Then there was me, somewhere in between, crying inside.

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Giving ‘FML’ a whole new definition

I felt the half-hearted sighs of sympathy from some customers were uncalled for. “Is this really your only job” asked one jumped up prick incredulously, as he watched me pour his fifth cup of coffee of the morning.

I noticed his HSBC name badge, wondered for a second if he might have any influence in their overdraft department, then made mental note to serve him shitty decaf for the remainder of the day. The small things.

The fit lady from Cadbury’s took notable pity on me, drip-feeding me complimentary Freddos, and the Asda graduates at one point apparently got lost, instead engaging me in Made In Chelsea chat which of course, I couldn’t fault.

Although I can appreciate the screaming irony of the event, and those to come, I didn’t think that yet another dose of pressure from society to decide which bloodsucking multinational corporation I wanted to work for was really necessary.

But consider the message well and truly received. I will begin my hunt for the perfect graduate job bright and early Monday morning. Next week. Maybe after Christmas, in the New Year. Decision made.

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