Used and Abused (as a graduate)

Quick question: how many graduate jobs does it take for you to land a decent one? I’m still counting…

I’ve worked from the age of 16 and there has never really been a job that I have hated, felt used or not supported and I enjoyed going to work. Graduating from university was one of the most exciting days of my life and one of the proudest achievements to date. Yet, here I am a year on, and I still have not secured that dream graduate job I am looking for. And why?

Because I’ve been used and abused as a graduate.

Graduates everywhere are exciting and keen- we’ve just spent the last year in a library– we have not worked our asses of for anything! I starting applying for roles early on, before graduating. It was good interview experience, in a more professional role, and although I didn’t always hear back from them, or I turned some down, it made me certain over what I really wanted to major in.

I accepted a job as a Dementia Adviser, as I have plenty of experience, knowledge and expertise in supporting individuals living with Dementia and their families and felt this was a role I would really enjoy. However after the two weeks of training, I got asked if I could drive, to which I replied no- and clang bang that dream was over. Apparently one of the essential criteria, they had missed off, was to be able to drive. So I had to start my search all over again!

I came across a job which sounded too good to be true- and please be aware that if a job or opportunity sounds to good to be true- it usually is- which I learnt second time around. It was a support worker but an agency one, which meant better pay. But did I receive this pay? No. 2 months into the role, I had not received any money and was constantly ringing them asking when were they going to pay me, which was a different response every time. Eventually, 2 and a half months later, they paid me and I handed in my resignation. Not only was I annoyed over the delay in payment, it was how they wanted me to travel to places, which would take me 3 hours via public transport for a night shift, and then come back on myself for a day shift- when was I supposed to sleep?

You need a job where you feel valued as a member of staff.

I yet again applied for jobs and had a few interviews and I got accepted as a Care Coordinator for people coming out of hospital and living with Dementia. Again another role that I really liked the look off, the paperwork was all fine, pay was good and I was excited about starting. But after 2 weeks of training- which I really enjoyed- my first day, no one knew I was meant to be starting. There was suddenly no role for me, as the other new girl had taken my position, as her Mum worked there, and had got her a job. She had no experience in working in healthcare and didn’t even know what Dementia was, she thought it was to do with teeth- yet they put her on the Dementia team. I then spent another 2 weeks, being passed around like a toy panda between people and them telling me what their role was, and I was their little PA. Eventually they found me a role, and I was allowed on rota. But alas, trouble wasn’t over yet. The rota worked that if you worked Monday through to Sunday, you then had Monday and Tuesday off- as you need a break right?! So I worked my weekend, and lo and behold Monday morning I awoke to missed calls and emails asking where am I? Where am I? Having my day off! I wouldn’t have been so annoyed about this wasn’t it for the fact that they had a rota which took up the wall and then it was how many times they wanted to contact me!

In all of these experiences I felt undervalued, under appreciated and very, very stressed to the point where I was dreading going to work. I’m now in a job completely different to the sector I want to be in, but its a job I enjoy getting up and going to and your happiness is more important than anything else.

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