So I sit here…

I am suffering a bit (a lot) with the insecurities of not having a job or a clue what will happen in the future – my future.

Firstly there are very few to no jobs to actually apply for. Secondly they all want someone with a Masters. Now I have 6 years of experience that I feel is equivalent to a Masters but I think I am the only person I can convince of that. Ha.

The heartbreaking part is that the jobs for people with Masters, the jobs for people who have studied 6 YEARS, pay half of what I earned in the UK. Half. Geez, yes, let me study another two years to earn half of what I was earning before, oh yes.

Being a scientist in South Africa just doesn’t seem to make sense. So I am telling you now, do not do it. Do not waste your time. I almost want to become a Biology teacher so that I can warn every single one of my students to not study my subject further at university.

But anyway, I did it and so now I am looking at Masters courses to study, so I can look forward to halving my salary, woohoo. I would much rather be working. I am on the lookout for that rare job that would pick me, but it does not seem to be out there.

Other people would seize their free time and do something constructive, volunteer, travel, write a book. I sit here anxiously scanning the internet and feeling afraid and down.

I need a kick in the pants and a “how to use your unemployment consturctively” course.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helen
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 13:32:23

    Awww, I’m so sorry. I remember when I FINALLY handed in my thesis and went rushing out to the job market and nobody would hire me because I didn’t have any experience. They would have preferred a BSc with experience than a PhD.

    I’m not going to try the platitudes. The only thing I can say is don’t give up. Send your CV to at least one place a day and after that you’re allowed to lie on the couch and wallow.

    Worked for me!

    PS. Do you want my job? The novelty is gone and it is not so shiny anymore.

    P.P.S. Qualifications shrink your salary. The miners went on strike and now they earn more than me.

    P.P.P.S. We should become miners. I bet I’d be awesome at rock-shovelling.


  2. Po
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 13:52:07

    Wow Helen, one place a day! You are a machine. I seriously don’t think I could come up with one place a day to send to, but that could be part of my bad attitude at not seeing possibilities. I even had one job lead/kind of offer of being a lab manager, but somehow it just didn’t sound good to me, it is just not what I want, although with my qualifications, maybe I cannot want anything more. So I said no and am now panicking a bit if that was the right thing. But I have applied to a few Masters Courses :P

    PS would take your job! Probably not qualified but you know…

    I am tempted to go on a biologists strike, some sectors are paid very badly in South Africa, biology is one of them. And I wish I had become a miner, they do seem better paid. Also, have you seen what geologists get paid, why did no one tell me this at school?!


  3. Po
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 14:01:11

    I should also add that the first time I looked for a job in the UK I had to wait 6 months, so I am probably being overly glum about the prospects, I think I really really am not good at being unemployed the anxiety gets to me. Also I have applied for these masters courses and will probably get one of them but as I really want to work it is playing on my mind, I need a job offer soooon to be able to turn my back on studying.

    I.e this is all my silly mind :P I just wanna work now!


  4. Champagne Heathen
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 03:53:18

    Ah man, all the best with this kak stage.

    I’d have to disagree with that doubting voice at the back of your brain saying “other people would…”. From my experience and 3.5 years of talking about this subject with others, too many of us feel frozen in this state of not wanting to walk away from the computer out of guilt we’re not searching or the hope something miraculous will pop up in that split second we turn ours eyes. And that if we leave the computer, we are spending money that is not coming in.

    I agree with Helen to do one thing a day towards finding a job or Masters (in my case, I call it finding my purpose) & then get out. Explore or do coffee or a movie or something out of the ordinary… climb a certain mountain. If you are like me, if you don’t do that, you slip much faster into the frozen demotivated sloth of unemployment.

    I did a course through a recruitment company recently where I was told that (make up random high percentage here) 80% of jobs are not advertised and are found through networks. So you are supposed to find one admirable person in your field, and ask if you can take them for a 20 minute coffee. Don’t ask them for a job before or during the coffee meeting, you are simply gathering info (and selling yourself to them). The idea is that you are putting yourself positively into their head when they do hear of that newly available job. At the end of the meeting, ask them who else you can meet & get 2 or so names from that, and invite those people for coffee. Keep doing that with 3 to 4 meetings a week, and you will be at the front of everyone’s minds when the right job becomes available. Sounds so simple… I have managed to email one complete stranger so far for this “coffee”. She came back with a “definitely! How about in November?”. Not ideal, not easy to actually pull off as it sounded to me, but it definitely motivated me when I got her response. And I see it as a way to investigate the companies & see which ones I really want to target.

    A Masters is potentially another great way to build networks & hear about job opportunities you won’t find on websites.

    I tried an internship during my most recent unemployment stint & it really helped to get some routine & confidence into me – I made it one day/ week, to use the rest for job searching & studying. (Hmmm, that makes it sound so much more clean cut than my disturbed frustrated emotionally-ping-ponged head has been since end of June).

    All the best with it!!! I will happily turn over all other pieces of unemployment advice I have thought up or received over the past 3.5 years if you’d like them to consider. That said… I can’t be that good at unemployment, I am still unemployed!!


  5. Champagne Heathen
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 03:53:43

    Sorry for length of comment… some things never change!


  6. Prixie (@prixi3)
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 05:56:45

    Welcome back home, Po! I have been on a Bloggerville hiatus because work has been all consuming, so I have missed a few things…

    Have you ever considered teaching about science? How are the job options there.

    I know when I returned to SA it was a strange sensation….things did not change at all, yet so many of the people I cared for seemed different. In hindsight, I realised, at that time I lacked shared experiences with them which left me feeling exceptionally alienated.

    I hope you manage to find something real soon!


  7. Po
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 08:47:55

    Champs, thank you for your long comment, I really appreciate the whole thing and your advice is great. I too have heard that most jobs are not out there for us to see. I am a horrendous networker but I did think that studying a Masters would be a good way to get into “the system” and find some people who can help me later.

    I also like the idea of doing an internship but I find that they are usually looking for young people, recent graduates, at least that is what the ad says? I should probably apply anyway. I know the mental anguish of unemployment well and have never been good at it, but I think that what you have experienced outweighs my own unemployment blues, so I respect your advice! It basically sucks, that is all there is to it. I remember the first time I was unemployed I started studying a UNISA degree and I barely even noticed the unemployment blues, but I can never forget the second time, because it was pretty awful. I was still studying but I could barely get myself to even get out of bed and wash the dishes, the demotivated sloth mode was so strong. And the memory of that is partly what is making me fear this time, I don’t want to be like that again!!


  8. Po
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 08:52:00

    Prixie: I know exactly what you mean! However my case is slightly different – I was gone for 9 years, so I no longer have any base of friends here at all really. All of my close friends have moved town or country. There are a few people here that I know from before, and they have been very accomodating towards us, as if we never left, which is weird. IT is pretty funny actually when people see my boyfriend and get a confused look on their faces, like I haven’t seen him in a loooong loooong time, but then they obviously just figure that sometimes you don’t see people around and assume he was here and not in England.

    I guess I don’t really have people here, I am starting from scratch, and I am used to that from England and I found that I used the people I worked with as “my people” so I am hoping that can happen again. Who knows? I have thought about teaching Science actually. I want to wait and see if I can find something more suited to me, as I am a major introvert and know from my own introverted parents that teaching can really deplete a person, and make them really grouchy to be around! But if I cannot find something more suited to my quiet self then I will give it a go!


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