Friday, 30 December 2011

Stopgap Jobs

"Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity." - Bill Gates

What happens when you leave full-time education and you're looking for a full-time job? Of course, it'd be lovely to jump straight into a job in film (or whatever your chosen field is) to pay for rent, bills and food, but in many industries that is easier said than done. 

What a legend. I wonder if it worked... 
So, unless you've got a substantial amount of savings tucked away, or you have some very generous parents, you're probably going to need to financially support yourself while you search for that job. You won't be getting any more student loans, grants or bursaries, so you're going to have to earn some money. Therefore, you'll probably have to get yourself a "stopgap job". ie. a temporary job you do while you look for something permanent.

Many people will be familiar with the idea of getting a job solely for the money, not for the career. A lot of university students get summer or weekend jobs at shops, fast food restaurants or supermarkets to supplement their student loans and help pay for their university lifestyle. However, the thing that separates a university job from a stopgap job is the hours: At university you can afford to only do 10 hours per week. It's enough to get you an extra £50 to add to the beer funds, but it's not enough to disturb your projects and social life. But when you're job-seeking, you'll probably need to do this full time - £50 per week simply isn't going to support you. As a result, you're going to have to work 30+ hours per week, depending on your expenses and standard of living.

Because it's only a temporary job, don't be under the impression that anything is "beneath you". Sure, you would be forgiven in thinking that working in McDonalds is not the best use of your time after getting that 1st Class Honours Degree in Film Production Technology. However, if you just need a bit of money to sustain yourself while you apply to production companies, television studios or post-production houses, don't worry about losing face. It's not smart to put your pride over common sense.

Still waiting for her big break...
That is the important thing about a stopgap job is remembering that it is only a temporary solution. It would be very easy to get comfortable in this job, knowing that you're financially covered for the foreseeable future, and give up looking for employment in your field of expertise. There are so many cases about people getting a stopgap job after university, only to still be working that job 3 years later, just because they got comfortable working there and gave up looking for anything else.

Finding that dream job will be tough, and it may take you years, but never give up on it. To settle in your stopgap would be to give up on your dreams that you spent so many years pursuing through your education.

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