Unemployment is word of the week at the beeb.

The BBC are focusing heavily on the subject of unemployment  at the moment, and there have been a few interesting programmes recently to come of it.

The sensitive documentary Jobless highlights the plight of thousands of professionals that have been made redundant during the recession through no fault of their own, and had their whole life turned upside down overnight. The documentary follows them and their families, and manages to convey the feeling of loss of  identity and decreasing self worth that accompany unemployment.

Famous, Rich and Jobless (Episode 1) is more a type of ‘tabloid tv’.It’s a shame the Beeb have turned to the format of ‘rich ‘celebrity’ out of comfort zone’ for such a serious subject, but if it gets people watching then that’s no bad thing. And it certainly is an eye opener; particularly interesting towards the end of episode one where the programme addresses what constitues benefit fraud from a suprisingly empathetic and anti-legislation stance.

Famous, Rich and Jobless (Episode 2)

Although not specifically about graduates, these programmes are effective in highlighting the plight of the long-term unemployed, and importantly in tackling stereotypes that exist about people claiming benefits, and actually beginning to offer reasons for and understanding the behaviour of the minority who are resigned to a life living off benefits.

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Political Correctness Gone Mad.

When I read this article in the Daily Mail last week I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s the story that the boss of a recruitment agency was forbidden by the Jobcentre Plus to include the words ‘hard working’ and ‘reliable’ in her job advertisement, on the grounds that it discriminated against unreliable people.

It seems at the moment there isn’t a week that goes by where we are not subjected to more barmy notions and language tweaking reminiscent of the ‘newspeak’ in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. It is no longer acceptable to ask if you like your coffee black or white; the word ‘brainstorming’ is offensive to epileptics; and teachers can’t so much as look at the children under their supervision, let alone administer them with, say, a plaster or …. Heaven forbid…. suncream.

The phrase ‘political correctness gone mad’ is banded about all too often – but this really does take the generic, multi-national, non-gender-specific biscuit that caters for all dietary requirements.

Of course employers should be able to specify that they want hard working and reliable people. To suggest that they should not is completely absurd.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission were quick to condemn this, reassuring us that Mrs Mamo’s advert ‘is in no way in breach of any discrimination law’, and continuing on to say that any advice that she may have received implying that this aspect of her advert was discriminatory should be considered unreliable.

Well they can’t say that, that’s discriminating against people that give unreliable advice isn’t it.

And anyway it’s in the Daily Mail so it must be true. Or racist. Must be the immigrants wot dunnit.

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In The Words Of Sony – ‘Every Moment Has Its Music’

The effect of music on your emotions is something that never fails to amaze me. With a simple tune or just a few words of a song your whole mood and entire outlook can be transformed. One particular guitar rift can move you from that dark place to on top of the world, or equally you can be going about your day as normal and be reduced to tears at the sound of a certain melody. Music is all different things to different people, at different times in our lives. It’s a person, a place, it’s a memory, it’s hope, it’s the past and it’s the future. I love the power of music and what it can do, and I thought that I would share with you the songs that I listen to when I’m feeling low, that uplift me, inspire me, and most of all really motivate me.

Joe Mcelderry – The Climb                                                       (watch on youtube)   (download)

Embrace – Ashes                                                                         (watch on youtube)   (download)

Coldplay – Viva La Vida                                                           (watch on youtube)   (download)

Lighthouse Family – High                                                       (watch on youtube)   (download)

Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us                                      (watch on youtube)   (download)

The Corrs – We Are So Young                                                  (watch on youtube)   (download)

Amy Macdonald – This Is The Life                                         (watch on youtube)   (download)

Supergrass – Alright                                                                  (watch on youtube)   (donwload)

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’                                                 (watch on youtube)   (download)

D:Ream – Things Can Only get Better                                  (watch on youtube)   (download)

Chumbawumba – Tubthumping                                            (watch on youtube)   (download)

Dario G – Sunchyme                                                                   (watch on youtube)   (download)

So turn these up LOUD, put a smile on your face, and go for it!

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Being Unemployed Is A Full Time Job.

When you think about it, there are very few times in life when a person truly stops and takes time out to really reflect on themselves and who they are as a person. It is usually after a difficult time or an unpleasant event when feelings of dissatisfaction within oneself are triggered, and we delve into the depths of our psyche for answers.

I believe that it is only during these times of real introspection and deep contemplation that self actualisation can take place, and with it the ability to really change and develop yourself. Being unemployed for a substantial length of time is one such situation, and I have found myself analysing life and my place in it over and over again. However I realise now what a unique and positive position I am in, and recognise the significance of what is happening.

I have the opportunity now to fully concentrate on developing myself; to use this time to make myself a better person. I can identify my weaknesses and I’m at liberty to take the necessary steps to address them. Instead of asking ‘what’ problems I may have, I’m asking ‘why’, and trying to resolve them. It’s very liberating.

I’m teaching myself new things too, on a professional level. I’ve mastered different publishing software, I’m getting to grips with content management systems, and I’m studying for a diploma in Journalism and Newswriting. Oh and I’ve set a new record of unloading and loading the dishwasher in 30 seconds flat.
It is disheartening at times, but if you turn being unemployed into a full time job and spend your days being productive and developing yourself both personally and professionally – not only are you increasing your chances of securing that perfect job, but you will be much more content and self assured as an individual. Doubt you’ll be able to beat my dishwasher record though.

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Government Rescue Plan For Unemployed Graduates

Good news! – This January the Government has introduced a rescue plan to help unemployed graduates secure a job.
If you graduated in 2009 and have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for 6 months, under the new scheme you could be offered the chance to do an unpaid internship while still being allowed to claim Jobseekers Allowance. There’s also a possibility of getting a ‘training premium’ of an extra £10 a week. (Don’t spend it all at once!)
The internships available are advertised through Graduate Talent Pool, and cover a wide range of sectors like Advertising, IT, Healthcare and Law.
To get all the info and find out more click here.

There won’t be a ‘quick fix’, but I think this is certainly a big step in the right direction, and it’s very promising to see that something is being done and the issue is at least being addressed. Internships are extremely valuable for graduates, and many lead to full time employment.

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The Boomerang Generation? How Insulting.

It appears that Lord Mandelson feels it necessary to provide advice to parents on how to rid their homes of their graduate offspring that have moved back into the family home – namely the ‘boomerang generation’.

The Times reported that in this guide for parents, Mandy states that ‘if you are making life too comfortable at home, why would they get a job?’ Ah well that’s it then! That’s why 100,000 university leavers are unemployed – because they’re too comfortable!  That’s why graduate unemployment is at an all time high  –  because they just like being at home! 

How very insulting. The only way Lord Mandelson’s ‘guide’ could be of any use to graduates and our parents is if we ground them all up into a pulp and created building material out of them, from which to build ourselves a house of our own. In fact, we could go one step further and grind him up along with them, then employ many graduates to take his place and write a new guide about how to allieviate the effects of the economic downturn. 

As David Willetts, the Shadow Skills Secretary, put it: ‘Young people are driven back home after university out of financial necessity. They are finding it hard to get jobs in this recession. Peter Mandelson would be much better [off] focusing on improving the performance of the economy than setting himself up as the nation’s agony aunt.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself!

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This is the winter of my discontent.

I’ve been in this situation for a few months now, and despite trying to have a positive outlook, it’s very difficult at the moment. I’m finding it hard to let go of my plans, and lower the ambitions that I had when I left University. I spent four years at Uni, and at times it was really hard, a real struggle, but I knew that it would all be worth it in the end. And now I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been cheated. By who or what I don’t know. The system? The Government? Myself? It’s inevitable I suppose to turn inwards towards oneself to look for answers, but my feelings of self worthlessness and rapidly diminishing self confidence are just consuming me at the moment. Why aren’t I good enough, why does no one want to employ me?

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Work experience Catch 22.

The Government is encouraging graduates to undertake work experience during this recession, to greatly improve our chances of securing a job. With the competition for jobs higher than it’s been in years, to stand out from the crowd you need to be able to take the initiative and demonstrate key employability skills. Ok, great idea. Except for one thing – how are you supposed to be able to afford to live?

Graduates doing UNPAID work experience are not entitled to claim any Jobseekers Allowance, on the grounds that it still counts as ‘employment’. Never mind the fact that we are acting on the Governments’ own advice, thus increasing our prospects of employment, and enabling us to give back to society. This creates a catch 22 situation, whereby many have to sacrifice the opportunity of work experience as they are unable to afford to live.

It’s a ridiculous situation – No Jobseekers Allowance for those who are actively seeking a job.

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Well, this is my blog. It is what it says on the tin. Just thoughts from one of Britain’s 2.46million unemployed statistics.

At first I was slightly dubious about how a blog written by me would be received. Does anyone out there really care what I write? Will anyone even read this?  However I’ve soon come to realise that essentially I’m not doing it for others, I’m doing it for me. I’m doing this for myself. Writing is incredibly therapeutic for me, and as I know there are thousands of other graduates in the UK in the same position as me – who knows, maybe someone will actually read this; and maybe even find reassurance in the knowledge that you’re not on your own, and derive comfort from that, as I will get from writing this.

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