Creative Graduates’ Pet Peeves And How To Battle Them
If there is anything more annoying than the struggle of searching for vacancies in your field, it has to be certain people’s reactions to it. It generally goes a little something like this:
You: “I’ve graduated with a [insert diploma level here] degree.”
Other person: “Oh, fantastic. Education is important. What did you study?”
You: [insert creative field here]
Other Person: “Oh…”
Our career choices may comprise completely different areas, but the one thing all creatives have in common is a shared dislike for discouraging comments –if we had a pound for every time we heard them, we wouldn’t need to work at all!
The Walking Stereotype
“Oh, you studied acting? And now you’re a waitress. Where have I seen this before?”
Yeah yeah, we know what it sounds like. Now’s the stage in life where you’ll have to work through a number of odd jobs before landing the ideal one. Along with this comes the dread of being perceived as the clichéd struggling artist, or worst yet, hearing people’s affirmations that you made the wrong career choice and this is now the job you’ll be stuck in, forever, till the end of time.
More than a quarter of British workers hate their job, but are discouraged to seek a new one because of three main factors: lack of funding, confidence and financial know-how.
But here’s the thing: you knew this would happen, and you know this is how it almost always happens. You’re working to save up money, you love what you do and are confident enough in your craft (otherwise you wouldn’t pursue it!), and every audition, portfolio or letter to publishers is a step closer to getting to know the ins-and-outs of the business.
So yeah, it might seem cliché, but in the end you’re the one pursuing the job you love.
You’re Throwing Your Life Away!
“Oh, it’s such a hard industry to get into, though”.
Yup, we know. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Believe or not, it’s actually not as hard a job to get into as people think it is. According to Yahoo finance, the hardest major with the weakest job prospect is…business administration/management (followed by criminal justice, followed by theatre arts).
The problem is that people tend to forget that, just like in the arts, the more popular the job the fewer vacancies there are. Everybody wants to be a successful Wall Street banker or a federal agent, and competition is just as harsh.
But whereas the business and law world is strictly bound by age-old rules, restricting it to hiring employers with the best skills, the creative industries are an ever-changing business always looking for something fresh.
“So, you want to be rich and famous, right?”
No, not everybody wants to be the next Anna Nicole Smith.
I mean, having enough to pay the bills AND still be able to treat yo’self is a great deal, but to be honest, if you went through three gruelling years of uni and voluntarily succumbed to crippling debt, chances are you’re not in it just for the money. If you were, you’d ditch higher education altogether and just try to make it whatever way possible. (This doesn’t mean that if you don’t have degree you’re only in it for the money. That’s a whole other topic).
We studied the arts because our brains work best when creating stuff. Whether it’s designing, composing, or any other field, we enjoy doing what we do and are protective of our work.
Money is not the incentive for wanting to pursue a career in the arts; it’s an added benefit.
The Failed Artist
“There is no future for the arts here.”
So, you studied the same thing, tried to make it work, it didn’t, and now you’re convinced it’ll be the same for everyone else?
Let’s backtrack for a second. The creative industries make up a huge chunk of the UK economy, and contribute hugely to employment, foreign exchange and overall wealth, and do so more and more with every passing year.
A recent study in September 2016 showed that total employment in the UK creative economy rose by 5.1% (as opposed to a 2% increase in the average UK employment). “Total employment in the UK’s creative media industries has grown by more than 4,000 since 2009 (from 188,150 to 192,200)”.
Still not convinced? According to The Guardian, “ the UK’s creative industries contribute almost £90bn net to GDP; it accounts for one in 11 jobs”.
Finally: Impending Doom
“So what will you do if this doesn’t work out?”
We’re just gonna keep trying to make it work, then!
Xiomara Meyer is a drama and creative writing graduate with an interest in psychology and the slightly bizarre. Samples of her work can be found here.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.