I’ve been reading the Guardian’s series on graduate unemployment with interest, what with being one myself, yet I can’t help feeling like my experiences are miles away from those reflected in the mainstream.
I struggled through years of being ill at school and college and university and now I’m out the other side and thrown into a world that insists people like me are ‘scroungers’ and should ‘pull ourselves together’. Facing cuts in mental health services, high levels of graduate unemployment, benefit cuts and the constant harassment of ATOS.
All graduates are in the shit, but I suppose for those of us who were less privileged to begin with, not just those of us with disabilities, it’s just yet another layer in the shit sandwich.
I try not to be bitter, to be all ‘oh woe is me!’ but it feels like I am banging my head against a brick wall most days. I try, I have volunteered and continue to do so, I have done voluntary work experience, I have attempted to get a crappy part time job knowing I cannot cope with a crappy full time one yet as I have a degree but no previous employment (with being too ill to work and get an education I focused on education). I am aware that as someone with big gaps on my CV I am verging on the unemployable, especially when one admits they are due to long term health conditions, mental health problems and all the stigma that brings. I wonder everyday if I should lie about my age or health, to pretend I am 22 say and healthy, erase the CV gaps, that I came out of school with a full set of GCSES ( I have 3, I always thought once I had a degree it wouldn’t matter but maybe it does?). I wonder if the years I have spent volunteering, often doing exactly the same work as one would do in a paid job, don’t count as it’s all ‘volunteer’ and I have ‘no experience’. I’m tempted to construct a web of lies to get a foot in the door.
Oh an I have to go and see ATOS again on Saturday (they are expanding into the weekends now) for the second time in under a year to be interrogated.
I could totally pass for 21…
On the plus side I persevered in education long enough to learn the term ‘Kafkaesque’, there is that line in a smith’s song (yeh shoot me now, smiths quote, I might as well be wearing a knitted moustache from etsy) ‘Caligua would have blushed’ and I always think ‘Kafka would have blushed’ where ATOS are concerned. Blushed or considered it going a bit too far, I mean their whole set up is essentially ‘The Trial’ for disabled people, in buildings with no disabled access thus you get refused for not turning up to an appointment you can’t physically get to.
Also, my archaeology degree has equipped me with the skills to dig a really neat and meticulously recorded hole should I need to bury myself in one.
cross posted to