Disappointment and Adjustments

As a writer, especially an unpublished and unrepresented one, I've had to deal with a lot of disappointment and I've definitely adjusted my expectations.  The one thing I won't do is give up.  If one book isn't working, I'll start another.  I will find an agent and I will be published.

This isn't the first time in my life I've had to change the way I look at things.

Prepare yourselves, lovely readers.  I'm about to spew REAL LIFE ADVICE.


For me, life after graduation has been a harsh reality check.  I thought a degree would set me up for life, but it hasn't.  None of the jobs I've had needed me to have a higher education.

Graduating during a recession with a relatively useless degree isn't brilliant. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life when I was 18, so I took a broad humanities degree to help me make up my mind.  When I graduated, I decided I wanted to go into publishing.  Unfortunately, the graduate programme I applied to was shut down "due to the economy" and the only other "jobs" on offer were unpaid internships, all in London and all out of my financial reach.

I needed to work.  I tried retail management.  It ended badly.  How badly? I told my boss to kiss my arse and on my last day cartwheeled off the shop floor ^_^

I decided to get a practical qualification in children's care, learning and development.  I trained as I worked and, thankfully, have used this qualification for every job I've had.

Do I regret university? No. Never.  Do I struggle sometimes, feeling like I should be doing something "more" without knowing exactly what I mean by "more"? Yes.  Do I enjoy what I do? Definitely! Would I do a job I couldn't stand just for a bigger payday? No. I've had a job in the past that made me miserable.  The money didn't make it worthwhile. 

I'm still young.  Time is on my side.  Just because I still don't have a plan for a "proper" career doesn't mean I'm wasting my life.  And everything that's happened so far has been an experience I can translate into my writing.

The best part about not being tied to a career? Who knows what the future will bring! This time last year I had no idea the job I was in would lead me to a month in India.

So if you're like me - a graduate whose degree didn't help - don't fret.  You're not a failure! Just because you're not in some high flying career, doesn't mean you're missing out.  Your life is yours, don't compare it to others. 

Live your life.  Endure the disappointments, enjoy the adjustments.  And as a writer, be inspired by everything!

Comments

  1. Hahahah LOVE the Friends gif.

    I wish I had something wise to say here, but um...yes, gifs make it better. :D

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  2. Love this and you're right. The reality of post-college life is quite an adjustment to awaken to. I've been awakening to it for three years now. None of the jobs I've had since college have made permanent use of my degree either, but I've learned something from all of them. (At least I've gotten to draw for some of them.)

    I'd say just roll with it. Whatever doors open, walk through them, and have as much fun as you can. It's a big adventure!

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    1. I still struggle at times, but as time passes I'm coming to terms with it.

      And it's definitely a big adventure! :D

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  3. Haha love the gifs. ^^

    But THIS x100. No-one prepared for post-uni life. Everyone made out that uni was the only way to be successful and we get jobs straight away. English isn't the brilliant degree everyone says it is. I found it pretty useless after graduating. Luckily I love teaching so it will come in handy for my PGCE but it won't help everyone.

    But I think 18 is too young to take that big step into independency and working towards the career you want to do for the rest of your life. We need to have more time and take the opportunity to have tons of adventures before we're supposed to settle down with jobs, marriage, children, etc

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    1. Good luck with the PGCE. I've considered it but decided it's not the path for me.

      18 is very young if you're unsure and in a very uncertain economy. I'm lucky that my debt is so small. Students now are in more debt than I can imagine.

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  4. Both my sister and I had similar problems after graduating (this is just a terrible time to be coming out of university). I got my degree in computer science, which you think would make it easy to find a job, but I had a hard time finding full time work after getting my degree. I did a couple of contract jobs, then starting tutoring. I'm giving writing a go as well, and we'll see how that ends up!

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    1. Let's hope writing works out for all of us ^_^

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  5. I'm also a graduate whose degree does nothing but looks pretty in a frame...but that's okay, because you don't need a degree to be a writer. And I totally agree that we need to take everything as inspiration, the good and the bad.

    And that cat...I cannot look away.

    Also, I've tagged you in The Next Big Thing meme on my blog!

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    1. My degree isn't even in a frame. It's shoved in a cupboard somewhere... I think... er...

      Thanks for the tag!

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  6. I could *really* get on a soapbox here, but I'll restrain myself! :) Just to say, when you're 18, college/university should not be the automatic "next step." It's a huge time and financial commitment (especially here in the US), comparable cost-wise to buying a house. And that's a debt you'll carry with you after. You don't need a college degree for everything. My advice to 18-yr-olds: ask yourself what you want to do with your life. If college is needed for that, then great. If not, then do what you can to pursue whatever it is you want to do. Don't think you have to go to college at 18. Dan Krokos pumped gas for 9 years to put himself through college. Coming out of college without a job is bad enough, but with 100s of 1000s of $-worth of debt too? And for what?

    If you're going to go to university, I say make sure you're doing something you want to do, and that you think would benefit you in the future. Don't go because people tell you you have to, that it'll make you more employable. There are many smart and successful people that didn't go the college route.

    If you're having trouble finding work, I say find your passion first. Figure out what it is you really love doing, then focus on the steps you need to take to make a career out of doing it. That might mean doing other less fun things along the way, but if you set your passion before you as your goal, that will help sustain you and keep you motivated. You'll be amazed what you can accomplish when you really want something. :)

    That's my tip of the day. All the best to you, Cole. :)

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    1. I worked in retail to get through university and I'm still in debt. I think there's a lot to be said now for putting off university until later in life. Enjoy your youth - tie yourself down later if you have to.

      Ta, Colin ^_^

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  7. Oh, Miss Cole, what I would've GIVEN to see you cartwheel out of a job! You're my hero! :)

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't struggle with this as well. I loved--LOVED--college. Put me in a classroom, learning about history and cultures every day for the rest of my life and I'm THRILLED. Alas, it doesn't pay the bills.

    I've learned over time how to walk the fine line of having a job that I'm okay with (don't love it, don't hate it), with the TOTAL understanding that the job is a means to my life. It provides me with the funds to take some writing classes. The schedule is easy enough that I can sneak some writing in during the day, and every two years I have enough money and vacation time saved up for a long trip to Ireland.

    I feel like I've done a lot of "looking behind", wondering how I got here. And even though it's not perfect, I'm still not sure I would've done anything different.

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    1. *bows* Thank you. I quite enjoyed it! ;)

      I wish studying paid the bills too. I love to learn.

      I agree - life hasn't exactly gone to plan, but I wouldn't change it.

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  8. I totally hear you on the degree that has turned out to be less-than-useful. I have an Education degree that I used for a grand total of 2 years, and then teaching jobs became scarce. Thus ended my career as a teacher, and I have to say that I'm not horribly disappointed. I'm disappointed that I spent all of that time and money on a profession that didn't pan out, but I'm still glad I went to university. If I could turn back the clock, I would go into something writing-related. I'm now in my mid-30s and feeling like it's a little too late to start something new.

    That being said, through all of this unemployment and disenchantment I found writing, and it's something that I truly love. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one dealing with this kind of disappointment.

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    1. I don't believe in fate or anything like that, but it's interesting how one thing leads to another. That's why I know not using my degree isn't such a bad thing.

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  9. Cartwheeling on the shop floor is spectacular, you go Miss Cole! :) And thank you for the astute real life advice.

    I dropped out of school after bullying pushed me to breaking point. I always feel this pressing 'I should have gone to Uni' guilt, but none of my jobs have needed Uni qualifications, and having actual work experience has served me better. I didn't have to relocate, to put up with people in dorms, or get myself into debt.

    Sure, the underpaid IT job can feel like being stuck in a dead end, and the writing rejections keep coming in... but I'll keep on enduring and regretting nothing. :D

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    1. I highly recommend cartwheeling at any opportunity ;)

      *hugs* Being bullied is awful. Rejections can't compare.

      Regret nothing forever ^_^

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  10. Wise words, indeed. Student loan debt is literally crippling the U.S. economy, yet people are still pushing that secondary education is the key to everything and a fit for everyone, but good luck paying for it! I love learning and view my degrees as enrichment. I studied subjects that I had passion for and sometimes it has led to rewarding work and sometimes not. But throughout it all, I've maintained my writing and that has been was has sustained me more than anything. Best of luck to you!

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    1. Thank you :)

      I think I'll look at my degree the same way you do - as enrichment. I had some amazing life experiences I never would've had without it.

      Good luck to you too!

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