I remember getting the email that my results were out. This was shortly followed by an email congratulating me for passing all my exams and graduating. So before I even saw my results I knew I’d done it. The “final frontier in education”and I had conquered it, or so I thought.
When you’re applying for Uni the common message you hear is that you’ll never fail, it’s up and up from there. No one tells you about how hard it is to get to that place.
My first hurdle was my Graduation Ceremony, I didn’t really want to go but the second I got my purple and gold LBU 2018 graduation invite I knew I wanted to walk those steps, do a quick vosho for the culture and spend the afternoon being celebrated by my family. It’s only when I factored in my complicated blended family that I realised that would never actually happen. We get 2-3 tickets for graduation depending on needs etc and I’m sure some are available for purchase ( I never bothered to check). The dilemma was my parents were long divorced and not on amicable terms, I wouldn’t say my stepdad is someone I count as family enough to deserve the ticket and I basically have no relationship with my stepmom.
The first ticket was always going to go to A because I seriously would not have graduated without him. I knew my parents both being there was a no go and I didn’t really want either of their partners there. It was making me anxious and depressed so I decided to forgo the ceremony and graduate In Absentia. It was the right choice and I don’t regret it. I’ll get to walk when I get my masters anyway
Exam season ended in May and results were out early June. I had been basically looking for a job since I handed in my final paper. I signed up to all the legal recruitment agencies I could find, spoke to a few contacts I had made during Uni but nothing really had my interest and at the time I thought I deserved better than the £18-£20k pay packets that were on offer. To make things worse it wasn’t even the law jobs that were offering those kinds of salaries it was jobs in sales and recruitment.
I went to an interview at a Medical Law Firm and they were recruiting Trainee Paralegals and offering £14500. This was basically the case almost everywhere. After 3 years of a law degree battling depression , social anxiety and securing a 2:1 I realised that I was sold a dream. Everywhere I looked where they wanted a degree and were offering a good starting salary they also wanted experience and my work placements and vacation schemes were not enough.
Bottom line I felt scammed. I was in a worse off position than friends that did 1-2 year professional courses and went into jobs that required that qualification. I found myself regretting all the time and effort I’d spent on Uni. My dream was to be a writer anyway and I know I’m talented so why didn’t I just push for that?…
My parents were a big factor when it came to choosing my Degree but mostly my Mum. When I told her that I wanted to do English with creative writing she said that there was no point because I have natural talent and don’t need to do anything except practice whenever I have time. She told me that my Law Degree would get me better job prospects. It didn’t feel like that when I graduated in fact I felt like companies and recruiters knew that I was desperate to get my foot into law and they were trying to take advantage of that.
Initially I didn’t get many offers worth my time and because of that I started to fall into state of depression, I stopped looking at my emails and answering phone calls. I actually missed out on a lot of great opportunities because of the shock of not having my expectations met immediately .
The saddest thing was that I had set up my summer in anticipation of getting a job quickly. I had already signed for a house with one of my closest friends, made plans to see my ex housemates and I had convinced my partner to move up from Colchester to Leeds.
Basically all of it went to shit, calling it a hot mess was an understatement.
Thankfully everyone was understanding, I found someone to take over my tenancy agreement, made alternate plans with my housemates and my partner postponed his move until I stabilised.
When I moved back to my Mums place it felt like I applied for 100s of jobs, I kept getting calls from recruitment agencies about well paying teaching and sales jobs but i knew I wouldn’t last in a teaching or sales environment.
Out of all the jobs I applied for I went to two interviews and I was offered the role in a medical law firm that represents NHS patients and a role in optical retail. I was so excited when I got offered the job in the law firm that I didn’t really do any checks into what the role entailed. All I can say that it was highly contentious and being that I hated Medical Law no amount of money could’ve convinced me to practise it so I took the optical retail job.
At this point I had given up on working in Law so I stopped applying for jobs in law firms and just settled with climbing up the ladder at my retail job. The company really believed in me and sent me on multiple all expense paid training days within my first month of working. So i thought why not?
I hated the work culture though, coming in early to get the shop ready, leaving late to cash up the tills, interacting with rude sometimes unwashed customers, mouth breathers and men that felt it was appropriate to ask if I was single/ one guy that proposed to me whilst the shop was super busy.
I was getting sick of it but felt like I had no choice, it was only until my partner A asked me why the fuck I wasn’t using my degree that I started applying for jobs in law firms again. I tweaked my CV and lowered my salary expectations and I got replies within 2 weeks and an on the spot job offer at a small newish firm in Derby.
The interview was one of the easiest I’ve ever had, the HR Manager just wanted to find out what I enjoyed most at Uni, what my ambitions were and whether I actually had a genuine interest in property law. I was super excited about this firm in particular because of its close links to the Mortgage Brokerage Business which is what I ultimately want to do.
My ops manager likes to remind me that I’m the only one that he’s ever offered a job in the spot which I love. I’ve been in industry for 6 months now and I really enjoy how challenging it is. I haven’t made any disgusting mistakes yet but the pressure of handling people’s savings and people’s homes really makes the job rewarding. I had a client ring me after a transaction completed to tell me that I’m the best Conveyancer she’s ever had and my emotional ass almost cried down the phone to her.
There are some things I don’t like about the job. Dealing with Equity Transfers makes me sad because most of the clients are divorced partners ( my regular blog readers will know why that’s a particularly soft spot for me). First time I did one I had to leave the office and take a breather in the bathrooms.
Anyway I’ll stop rambling and leave my fellow recent graduates with a few words of advice
1. Lower your Salary Expectations (if you don’t have at least one years experience in industry)
– your degree isn’t an immediate fast track to more money for your role. Your degree is proof to your employer that you are dedicated and disciplined enough to commit yourself to something that doesn’t immediately gratify you.
I can only name a handful of people that got what they wanted within 3 months of graduating, a successful friend of mine has to work in a call centre for almost a year before he got an offer that piqued his interest.
2. Pay Your Dues
– within every single conversation I’ve had with a successful person they always tell me how hard it was and how they had to start at the bottom. The bottom is different from everyone, I know a man that was homeless in his mid 20s sleeping in a carpet he salvaged from his repossessed house that now has 2 million in his account and 3 properties across Europe
Realise that no one is going to reward you unless you show that you are going to work for it. You’re gonna need to take that shitty retail job whilst you wait for something else to come along, once that things comes along you might have to be someone’s assistant. Nothing worth the while comes easy so don’t squander opportunity because you feel like it’s beneath you.
3 Keep Your Support System in the Loop
– having A and my sister and my best friend be 100% in the loop helped me out so much. They knew when to reassure me and when to tell me to buck my ideas up. They also reminded me that I didn’t get through Uni to end up in the same place that I was before. Basically without them I’d probably still be working in retail
4 Pay Your Dues but Don’t Be Taken Fi Eeediyat
-Understand that you’re not going to be able to get everything you want from the jump but also pay attention to how the company treats its employees.
Are people rewarded when they work hard?
In terms of room for progression do they look to promote people internally?
Do they offer any company funded training?
How does HR deal with complaints?
One thing your degree guarantees you is that as long as you can back it up with experience and a good employment track record you’ll never go backwards. If the company isn’t right, pay your dues then use your experience to step up the ladder, it might be more pay you’re looking for or more responsibility but at that point the world is your oyster.
i hope my ramblings were at least entertaining, thanks for reading xxx