Friday, 25 February 2011


I just thought I should give you a quick rundown on my job situation. I know I complain about it a lot and I know that a few people have offered me advice and I don’t want to appear as if I’m ignoring it so thought I’d just bang a few things out to try and make things a little clearer about the position that I’m in.
I work as a research assistant in the social science field.

What does social sciences mean? Basically anything that’s not real science. So anything to do with communities or life in general. Some would call it touchy feely. Some would call it woolly. You know when you hear someone talk about “community cohesion” or any of those other buzz phrases? You’re looking at my field.

I have been doing this job for about 3 years and have been working for the same company for 4 years. I fell into this role completely by accident when someone heard that I had done some research work for my Professor when I was studying for my MSc at university. I work for a charity. In the North. Wages are never going to be high and I have accepted that, I really like what I do, I’m just not enjoying the place I do it for at the moment.

I am more than happy to move away from Hull. I know I talk about how much I love it but it's a love borne out of necessity. I’ve been trying to get out of Hull in the 4 years that I’ve been back here. I don’t know how much you know about the region but Yorkshire and the Humber is not a happy place to be if you’re looking for a job. It’s an even less happier place if you’re looking for a job in research.

For the past year I have been looking for a new job. And when I say looking I mean actively looking. I mean I check job websites every. single. day. In that year I’ve lost count of how many jobs I’ve applied for and have managed to get 2 interviews. In a year.

You know how people say “There are no jobs out there”? It really is true. Especially in my field. Social sciences is not spectacularly well funded at the best of times. Real science gets that honour. In the current climate, despite Mr Cameron’s lofty ambitions for Big Society (which technically should benefit me because there’s a lot to research there) there is even less funding for jobs like mine.

Going back to my roots in Economics I shall take you back to the basics. What do we know when the supply of something diminishes?

The demand gets greater.

The first job that I interviewed for had over 75 people apply for it. The second job I interviewed for had over 40 people apply for it. And not just “people”. Over-qualified people. People that I wouldn’t normally be competing with for jobs are now battling me head on because they can’t find employment either. I am living in an unfortunate world where even a Masters degree isn’t enough (the last job went to someone with a PhD)

So when I complain about my job don’t think I’m sitting here passively whining that it’s not good enough and waiting for the job fairy to throw one into my lap. I am out there. I am applying. There is literally no more that I can do.

Please don’t say “You’ll find it” or “You’ll get one eventually” or “Keep at it.” I know all these things. I say them to myself a hundred times a day. But when you say them to me it conjures up an almost irrepressible urge to rip your head off and smear your entrails over the wall.

And that, my friends, is that.


  1. It is terrible, isn't it? I used to freelance in a field that is oversaturated and employers know it, so everyone is paying ridiculously low wages. (Eventually, with my husband's encouragment, I walked away.)

    Sometimes there IS nothing else you can do but keep waiting it out. It is awful and disheartening. But I won't say "keep at it" because I don't want anyone showing up at my house to rip my head off. ;)

  2. I'm going to say 'I'll keep my fingers crossed for you' and if you end up moving to London, you've got a ready made friend in me. x

  3. Job hunting fucking sucks. And I don't tend to swear all that much.

  4. I don't know what to say! Looks like you are doing all you can. The job thing is hard and getting harder. I just feel very lucky that, at least for the moment my job is safe. Babies are still being born and women still have gynae problems. Take care x

  5. come and live here with me (a lot closer to Preston too...) and open a yarn shop with me! xx

  6. I can't add anything to this - you've said exactly what I feel, it's horrible I know. Maybe take to buying lottery tickets? (Odds of getting a job in this 'climate' probably aren't too dissimilar!)

  7. I know, it is hard isn't it? I am unemployed and it is even worse when you have no spring-board of a current job to jump off from. My daughter was an A grade A'level student who didn't want to go to university as she wanted to get out into the working world. 3 years unemployment changed her mind - 1 interview in all that time as a dentist's receptionist. How do you think that made her feel? Yes she was willing to do anything but no one was willing to let her! People talk of shop work as if only people would lower their sights and take 'anything' and stop being so fussy they would get work but that is some of the hardest work to get - shops are closing every where, replacing staff with self-service tills and not taking on anymore staff. She did voluntary work but no paid work, (one of her co-workers tried over 3 years to get a job in retail and finally found one as an shop assistant - she was a very able and personable young woman with a degree.) So my daughter went to university and is going to finish next year. Will a degree help her? In all honesty probably not. The new apprenticeship schemes will not include her as she will then be too old. The situation is dire. If you are young forget it - sometimes it looks like their future consists of debt, unemployment and never owning their own home. If you are older, forget it also. If you are past 50 you have almost no chance of being re-employed if you lose your job - I know of many in that situation and it can happen to anyone. I am in my 40's and have been unwanted for 4 years. I keep up my skills and add to my skills via voluntary work but no one wants me either. Even voluntary work is like gold dust - there is an over demand. I don't know what the future holds, but it's not fun right now. Am I depressed? Despite sitting in the freezing cold (no heating on, can't afford it) on a February day, no. I try my hardest and I can't do more and I plug away. I know my worth and I am being wasted as I have a lot to give. I don't own to being a 'sponger' and 'skiver' because I am not. There is much talent being wasted. It is very very sad. Young people should complain LOUDLY- older people messed up for them; they took everything, sucked the country dry and pulled up the ladder behind them. I never bought a house because of choices I made. Today's young people have no such choices. They have been sold down the river. I could cry for them, really I could. You are doing well, take heart from that - even if things are not just as you wish right now. Things can only get better! And they will.

  8. I really feel for you, I haven't entered the world of full-time work yet as I'm still a student but I can see how hard it must be.
    I'm graduating in a year and a half and I'm really not looking forward to having to search for a job. People won't even take me on for unpaid work experience at the moment, and without this to provide me with relevant skills what hope do I have of finding paid work?!
    Fingers crossed that someone (who peobably won't be Mr Cameron) comes up with a magical solution to all of this...

  9. Lady, I know the feeling...even I am feeling the pinch in the Marketing world. I have applied for jobs I would normally at least get an interview for in the past and instead nothing... I'm really languishing and there is no job certainty when you are a temp so it could easily be a matter of time before I am on the dole... hopefully not...

    It doesn't help that I don't have a lot of work to do and people know it. The MD noticed lots of people on facebook when they shouldn't be recently so we were each approached and asked to cut back/be more discreet. I looked at this person who approached me as if they were mad! My work comes in peaks and troughs so if I don't use social networking sites or do other stuff all that is left for me to do is literally stare into space twiddling my is hard enough trying to find enough to entertain me anyway when the work dries up for a few hours/consecutive days...but if I push this point...well I am dispensible...

    Not much fun...Could look for a new jobs but - and here we are back at the same problems... Oh well... Like I said...totally


Go on. Say something. You know you want to...