Graduate Blog

Dr. the Job You WANT & Mr. the Job You NEED


In a job interview recently my friend was asked the question: “Have you applied for any other jobs?” What would you reply? Me, I’m not sure.

Let’s rewind a little. About a month ago I burst out in excitement in more or less every social media channels after handing in my final BA essay: ‘”hear the bells of freedom!’” Exclamations along the same vibe were, à la modern internet lingo, accompanied by an over-the-top gang of euphoric emoticons and enough exclamation marks to make a cyber-version of the Amazonas. Cloud Nine was merely a dot in the distance below from my location at that time.

However, this elation of finishing university lasted about as long as the satisfaction of a piece of chocolate, take or give a few hours.

Because as soon as the sweetness of success had subdued and the adrenaline of post-stress syndrome had receded, anxiety stabbed at my exhausted mind. I remembered I’d soon no longer be a student; I’d be a “real” person. I also remembered that I needed a job, like other “real” people.

A dilemma tainted my glorious horizon: would I go for the job I wanted or the job I needed? What would my reply to the question be if asked in an interview?

Some applications “accidentally” took so long to write that I either missed the deadline, or only applied minutes before it was too late. Once submitted, that all-too-familiar bubbling sensation arose inside, but it not because I was worried something would go wrong, or that I hadn’t done enough to get the job as was the case with certain other applications…

…but because I was ravenously terrified I might just get it.

In today’s financial environment young people entering the job market (such as myself) cannot exactly afford to be picky about jobs. (Truly, anyone dare call me fussy and I’ll be sure to set them straight quick enough. I’ve applied high and low, far and wide, all over Europe.)

On the other hand, wasting precious time and effort on applications for a position you don’t even want seems to me if not the epitome, then at least a medium-sized peak, of superfluity. In a previous post here I ranted about how you should look for jobs for which you have the skills, but shouldn’t you also think about jobs for which you feel some sort of excitement?

In reply to the question in his interview, my friend said that he had not applied to any other positions (it was true), but that he focused instead on companies he felt passionate – excuse the cliché – about. Because without passion, this forbidden word nobody wants to use but everyone wants to see demonstrated, doing a good job becomes immensely difficult, and let’s be honest – that’s not fair neither on you nor the employer. Just think back to university essays or exams: how motivated have you felt about topics that would, on a regular day, send you snoring on a bed of fire ants?

So in the continued treasure hunt towards the place marked X on this winding map of the job market I, at least, will take an extra moment to consider whether certain industries interest me at all. Chocolate, after all, might only satisfy for a moment, but if it doesn’t satisfy at all then what was the point of eating it in the first place?

I still have a few applications buzzing around out there which I’m almost hoping will go by unnoticed, so can we all keep our little fingers crossed that they do?


About the Author

Johanna Johanna

Since graduating from Royal Holloway College, BA English and Creative Writing, I've been searching the skies for the Dream Job, whipping up French vocabulary, devouring books of my own choice, and taking courses in PR to keep busy. Most importantly, I'm finally adding lots of words to a YA fantasy novel which will hopefully be completed before the end of the year!

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