AIBU to feel like a complete failure since graduating

(53 Posts)
guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 18:34:19

I graduated from uni in June 2011 and ever since then feel completely lost. My degree was my focus and I gave it my all and graduated with a first. However, I studied the wrong subject- a creative one. I realised I do not want to go into that industry and I didn't have any luck when applying for jobs anyway.

Since graduating I have been changing my mind on a monthly basis about what to do with my life, I am on a masters doing something I would like to work in but the job prospects are utterly miserable (if I google 'job vacancies' in this area not a single one comes up for the UK, very specialist). The MA is 3 years long, I'm about 7 months in and although it is interesting, I just don't think the opportunities are there.

I am working in a very low paid position, term time only so have barely any money. I still live at home, have a young dc with no chance of moving out. I have an interview for a pgce coming up, but highly doubt I will get on as it's at a very competitive uni but the only one I can get to. I don't even know if I want to teach, it just seems like the only option. I have also been thinking a lot about a degree in nursing, but that's another 3 years of studying and I have a dc to support.

I'm so bitter than I have worked so hard but made all the wrong choices, I wish I'd studied something more academic. Everywhere I look I see people my age in good positions getting decent wages and I am so jealous.

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 21-Nov-12 18:38:20

I think you need to do more research on what you actually want to do. Have you thought about applying to a corporate graduate programme? A lot of them don't require specific degrees and if you are not sure about what you want to do then at least you would earn decent money and be able to move out? Have you asked for help with your CV? I know how easy it is to get disheartened I was applying for jobs for ages and it really got me down.
What about TeachFirst? Then you are not committed to teaching and get exposure to lots of businesses who are looking to hire.

PeppermintLatte Wed 21-Nov-12 18:38:27

I really feel for you, i'm in a slightly similar position. Don't ever feel like a failure, you've achieved something amazing. It doesn't seem like it now, but it'll all work out one day. I'm so sorry i don't have any advice, i can't even advise myself.

Do you mind me asking how old you are, OP?

MissCellania Wed 21-Nov-12 18:40:06

I have to ask, if you picked the wrong degree with no prospects, why did you then go pick a different masters also with no prospects? Wouldn't that have been a sensible time to focus on doing something that would actually get you a job?

No point being bitter and jealous, you made your own decisions and you need to accept that and work out where to go from here. Ditch the 3 year (!) MA for a start off and look for a job instead.

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 18:44:22

I'm 23, and can just visualise my 20s being eaten away by uncertainty and crap pay. I'm wishing time away and it's ridiculous these should be the best years of my life! I did look at teachfirst, the problem is I'm not very confident/public speaking terrifies me, so I don't think I'd get far.

I'm not sure who I could get to look at my CV, I guess the problem is I don't know what I want to tailor it towards iyswim. I'm currently doing 3 different voluntary placements, 2 to help towards the pgce and the other for my MA subject all because I can't decide what to do.

I feel like I am having a complete quarter life crisis. All my friends seem to be doing so well and I'm the lowest paid/least successful. I guess the biggest problem is I really don't want to go into the industry I am qualified for. I'm so angry with myself for doing the degree I did!

NoraGainesborough Wed 21-Nov-12 18:46:38

What is bring bitter or jealous adding to your life?

As you have said, its your decisions that have led you here.

What research did you do into jobs before picking your masters?

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 18:47:06

My degree subject does have prospects- in theory. There are a lot of jobs, but none I had any luck with. I don't have the massively confident and cut throat attitude needed from the industry, it took me some time to work this out.

Regarding the MA- it's something I really wanted to do, that I thought I'd be good at. Since starting the course, I have realised just how bleak the future in it seems to be.

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 21-Nov-12 18:53:51

If I were you I'd drop the MA and do TeachFirst or something like that. There is no point studying for three more years when you know you won't be working in that field and anyway postgrad study doesn't generally improve your prospects that much ( I mean look at the cost benefit ratio of it )

Also I don't wish to sound rude but you would be doing yourself a favour if you adopted a more proactive approach rather than saying "poor me". You recognise that maybe done of your decisions were not ideal, so be brave enough to start changing things now

saadia Wed 21-Nov-12 18:58:33

op sorry if I sound patronising but you are so young with so much ahead of you but I think lack of confidence is holding you back. Sounds as though with your placements and job and study you are getting a whole range of experience. What came across to me is that you enjoy studying and your interest is in your MA, are there any other jobs connected to this that you could explore or could you do further study (Phd) in this area?

I would recommend that you seek careers advice, your Uni should be able to help with this, Good luck and look at your career as a long game, it doesn't all have to happen immediately but try to have a plan.

pmcblonde Wed 21-Nov-12 18:59:48

Go and talk to the Careers Service at your University. There's not a lot of point in being angry about your past decisions. You need to identify your transferable skills, learn about sectors that you're actually interested in and use the Careers Service to help with your CV, networking, internships etc etc etc

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:08:13

Thank you for your replies. The MA I am doing is art psychotherapy, so it isn't a career you can enter without the MA- there is no degree in this subject.

I have been applying for lots of primary school TA jobs, to get the experience that would either rule out or confirm this is the right career for me. I haven't heard back from a single one- rang them for feedback on my application but they all informed me as I wasn't shortlisted, they wouldn't give feedback. It took me 2 months to even get voluntary work in a primary school and now I have, it's only because my dc attends the school in question.

ImperialBlether Wed 21-Nov-12 19:13:28

Oh I can help here! My daughter was in exactly the same situation as you and is studying an MA now, too.

She went back to the university careers people and they were really helpful. They helped her to completely rewrite her cv and to have several cvs, too, that you use for different types of jobs. Hers is completely different now to how it was before.

I agree about the graduate training programmes. You're well in time to be applying for next year. You've a first which is incredible - do you realise how few people get them? My daughter was invited to apply for an MBA at her university on the basis of her first - is there anything like that running at your university?

Please don't go straight into teaching! (I'm a teacher.) Get some experience elsewhere first. It's a draining job with few opportunities and although there are good times to be had, it's no life for a 23 year old! Aim high. Go for something that will really challenge you and bring back that focus you had.

NoraGainesborough Wed 21-Nov-12 19:15:48

Picking a MA because you think you will enjoy it, is perfectly fine.

But you yabu to moan it has no propects if you don't look into that until after. Studying because its intrests you is fine. But you can't really moan because it does have prospects. That's not why you chose it. Iyswim.

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:16:30

Thank you so much for your post ImperialBlether. At the risk of sounding totalling idiotic, can I ask what is an MBA? The thing is when I am really focused on something I do well, it's all this uncertainty that is holding me back. I will be arranging an appointment with the careers advisors tomorrow!

NoraGainesborough Wed 21-Nov-12 19:16:46

doesn't have prospects

MadeInChinaBaby Wed 21-Nov-12 19:17:43

I feel for you, I really do, having been in a similar situation at your age.

You say that you don't think you have the confidence or the public speaking skills for TeachFirst; it was through teaching that I gained both of these things and worked out what I wanted to move on to. Give it some more thought.

SunflowersSmile Wed 21-Nov-12 19:18:08

Try not to panic. First do you want to carry on with your MA? If you do you have plenty of time to explore options re related career [or otherwise].
Don't see your volunteer stuff as a waste of time- you are experiencing new things and it is all part of finding out where you want to go.
Are you happy with TA post? Great experience for lots of things and as you say- term time working- gold dust!
Try not to compare with others [hard I know. I MUST not google university contempories!!].
Be kind to yourself and... breathe...
A first- brilliant.
You are young and clever and achieved so much and have a child- a lot to be proud of.
I am twice your age and envious of the future you will have.
Good luck.

I had a fab degree from uni (good degree, good uni) thought I would find a job, and didn't. I applied for so many graduate jobs it was silly. Finally I ended up in a bedsit, got a job with in house training but also had a small kid. I qualified, but never earned much and felt like a total failure. However, I found, in my late thirties, the perfect job and now I love my work. It is nothing to do with my degree at all.
There is hope. Keep working, and take any training possible. Work in a supermarket and go for training - supervisor, then manager etc. Or apply for a jnr role with an accountants. You need a springboard, that's all.

AlexanderS Wed 21-Nov-12 19:31:22

An MBA is a Masters in Business Administration - needed if you want to be a high-flying business type (most MBAs expect you to have experience of working in business).

Graduates can now do a 2-year accelerated course to qualify as a nurse.

Have got to go put my little boy to bed but will be back.

mummmsy Wed 21-Nov-12 19:34:52

utterly sympathetic - just got my PhD with small child in tow and I'm sad too, feeling totally unemployable

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:35:55

Wow, how do I find out about the nursing programme? Very interested in that! I see a TA post as a stepping stone, it's pretty much what I'm doing for my employment at the moment but in a college and I hate it. I keep thinking there must be more to life than this. I recognise the careers I am interested in- nursing/art therapy/teaching are all working to help people in some way. This is definitely the route I want to go down, but I'm unsure of which exact path.

DuddlePuck Wed 21-Nov-12 19:44:04

Totally sympathise. I did a degree in a combination of -ologies and realsied that I didn't want to follow up one and the prospects were few and far between for the other. Hence several years of bar work... hmm

DO NOT go into teaching if you are in anyway unsure. It's bloody hard work and if you do decide you don't like it, it is yet another year (two to complete NQT) 'wasted' (though no experience is truly wasted it sounds like you are keen to start a career now.). I speak from experience.

I have just realised that I will be most fulfilled by taking on a variety of roles, supported by my amazingly understanding husband and using my teaching qualification to keep us afloat by doing supply work.

It is uncertain, but i know I will ultimately be happier. The only issue facing us now is financial security as we think about starting a family.

Ask yourself what you would really like to do - in a perfect world where your dreams can all come true. Be honest about how realistic it is, but at least aim for something near (even if it means a few years stacking shelves waiting for the right opportunity to come along).

I really do sympathise, it must be so much harder with a little one to support too. What if your support network like? Any DP/Parents who could help you out?

pmcblonde Wed 21-Nov-12 19:45:22

If you want to see whether you'd enjoy teaching contact some schools and ask if they can give you a day of classroom experience. They are used to doing it and some will help you out. You will about 10 days of school based experience to get onto a decent PGCE. You might also be able to retrain to teach an at risk subject - with a first class degree you'd get a £20k PGCE bursary for an at risk subject group.

You could also see if any schools are doing School Direct which is a new route into teaching that's completely school based. You can get this information from the Training Agency.

You really need to identify what you want to do so straight to the Careers Service for a chat and a CV review.

DuddlePuck Wed 21-Nov-12 19:46:56

Sorry, just re-read and you are living at home.

If nursing is what you want to do, then go for it... you are only young, think of all the years you have ahead of you after just two or three more years of training. If it's something you love, then it is so worth it.

Good luck smile

guccigirl666 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:50:47

My parents are incredibly supportive, I am living with them and they help me out considerably with childcare- I would never have managed to get my degree without their support and I will be eternally grateful for that opportunity. However I am itching to support my dc myself, move out and provide for him on my own. I need a salary first though!

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