Getting the foot in the door

You’ve got it, finally. That elusive piece of paper you’ve been working towards for the last three or four years – well, for some it could take the guts of a decade.

The days of missing lectures, and begging for extensions, stressing over being stressed and eating pasta and rice, every day. They’re over. You’re not a student anymore, and as fantastic and carefree a time it was, you’re moving on. You’re hungry for success and for money – just imagine the joys of being able to afford a drink in coppers.

You have your wonderful degree, letters beside your name, and not to mention the impressive spoof on your C.V. about that college radio show with two listeners and that one time back in first year where you volunteered. How could you possibly remain unemployed?

But you will, a lot of us will. The emigration party season starts in November as flocks of graduates migrate towards the prosperous fields of countries that aren’t as frigged as ourselves.

Where does that leave the rest of us?

I’ll tell you where. On our knees, literally, begging employers around the country for an unpaid internship.

Unfortunately you’ll lose your first name and be shouted at, constantly, for things you didn’t do. The word “intern” will be branded across your forehead with a black permanent marker and you will not, under any circumstance be taken seriously.

On the upside you’ll become extremely competent at making tea and coffee, and you may also get the opportunity to master the arts of shredding paper, carrying clipboards and that oh-so important skill of always appearing to know what’s going on.

There is no guarantee that you’ll get any sort of work out of it, and don’t you dare expect any bit of gratitude for doing all those horrible, degrading, tedious jobs that no one else would do. Basically, you’ll feel used.

You can actually walk away though – it’s not as if you’re chained to the office kettle, and you cannot buy experience. It’s been said to us all that everyone’s got to start somewhere.

In Ireland, we have to reignite our ambition. Our work ethic waned with the influx of cash and prosperity, and we’ve felt sorry for ourselves ever since the money disappeared.

Entice an employer by displaying your enthusiasm to gain a little experience. Hopefully, someone somewhere will take a punt on you.

So go on – put yourself in the shop window, sell your soul, bite your lip and get your foot in the door. Who knows, you might have actually learnt something on your eight-hour a week course, and you might impress somebody enough to earn a contract by the end of it too.

Tim Riggins

Image: wikimediacommons

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