As Careers Week winds down in UCD, Amy Bracken broadens her horizons and assesses the more extreme side of the jobs market
Did you attend the UCD careers fair last week? (No? Me neither.) In these recessionary times, the number of university students – or graduates, for that matter – currently employed has fallen dramatically, and it’s no secret that a part-time job while you study has become even harder to obtain, just like it has become virtually impossible for the average student to qualify for a third-level grant.
Yet it may come as a surprise that if you look in the right places, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your part-time (or full-time, if you’re a graduate) earner. In these businesses it’s not who you know that will land you the post, but rather what you’re willing to try in order to hear jingling in your pocket. Looking for some work to fund your weekly boozing exploits while at college? Here are some suggestions currently on offer – so long as you’re not fussy as to what type of work it is, one of the following might be the answer to all your problems.
For the male big-guns – though, of course, some females may be suitable – a hotel in Cork is currently seeking some “well build body bouncers [sic]”. If you can handle a bit of shouting, a reasonable amount of rioting and an awful lot of vomiting, this might be the solution to your intolerable weekends at home with your parents. Not for the sensitive, though.
Or perhaps our female audience would prefer something involving a little more class and a little less vomit. In that case, a career as a pole dancer is for you. Some training classes are a prerequisite, most of which won’t break the bank, and will make you very attractive to employers (in more ways than one). You’ll burn calories, make tips, and feel gorgeous, but it’s not to be recommended if you don’t like being stared at.
If neither of the above is sufficient for the adventurer in you, then perhaps spending your holidays with the circus will satisfy your daredevil desires. Although none seem to be currently hiring, the circus offers those with talent the opportunity to embrace life in a caravan, although this is not as glamorous as it sounds. Applicants are informed that being in the circus involves lots of hard work and sacrifice. Your caravan may be located next to the scary lions or the foul-smelling elephant trailer. “You’ll be expected to put on a smile and work weekdays, weekends and some holidays, through fatigue and bad moods, even when there are only five people in the audience. After each succession of performances is over, you pack up, move to a new town and do it all over again; this goes on year-‘round”, informs one website. Maybe your experience of being a student has abolished your squeamishness and your normal body rhythm. Stinking elephants probably sound like heaven, compared to your stinking pad in Belgrove or some other UCD campus residence.
On the other hand, if taking care of stinking elephants is in fact your forte, then why not consider a long-term career in zoo-keeping? (This is not specific to students of zoology-according to the Dublin Zoo website; anyone can complete the required Zoo Animal Management Qualification course.) But be warned: those with the experience will tell you that it’s not all about cuddling the cute little animals, but that “working with zoo animals all day is often dirty and smelly,” as one staffer told me.
If your stomach can tolerate the faeces and general stench that permeates that region of the Phoenix Park, however, then the compulsory public speaking should be piece of cake for you. But after all the physical work involved, at the end of the day you shall be well-deserving of such a piece of cake – though not before you’ve thoroughly washed your hands.
The point of all these weird and wacky suggestions is to emphasise that despite the current economic doom there are jobs out there, even for students: you just have to be willing and lose your fussiness. The media is busting with reports of ‘economic meltdown’ and full of statistics on rising unemployment figures, but if you’re flexible, adventurous and able to swallow your nerves or squeamishness, then you will find something to fit the bill. It’s all about confidence.
In short, there’s no need to attend a careers fair where 500 people are competing for two posts in a well to-do firm, working 9am-5pm six days a week. Just broaden your search-terms on that jobs website, broaden your flexibility and your willingness and you’ll easily broaden your horizons – and hopefully earn some cash too…