In my op-ed from a few months ago, I discussed the pros and serious cons of being an English and professional writing major. Despite the few panic attacks I’ve had since then thinking about what I’m going to do to support myself once school is all finished, I felt uplifted by recent information distributed by the Academic Affairs Committee.
In light of the highlights from a survey they conducted, 59 percent of graduates found a job that pays between $30,000 and $50,000 while 29 percent managed to rake in over $50,000 a year. It’s nice to know that some people legitimately found a full-time job after graduation.
Despite my enlightenment with these numbers, it isn’t necessarily reassuring when you think about how low the number still is. I can’t really complain about not being able to find work since I’ve had a paying job for the past three years at the paper. I was lucky enough to score a job here at The Medium a few years ago when I landed the gig of features editor. I’ve climbed the ladder little by little as the years progressed and managed to earn myself a few promotions, which is a great way to make money and use the skills I’ve obtained in my programs.
But I always wondered what I would do without this place. During the summer, I tried to find a job to keep me afloat before I returned to school. Over 300 applications later to jobs that, quite frankly, would only pay the bills, I still wound up nowhere. The only job that considered taking me in was Town Shoes in downtown Toronto. I was pulled in for an interview with the manager of the location and, once approved by him, needed to go through a second round of interviews with his boss.
Both of them loved me and just as I could see the finish line ahead of me, my employer asked about my availability. After days of interviews and emails to them, I ultimately had to walk away due to my school schedule in September, which was months away. Although, I did get the nice parting gift of being told, “I would have hired you on the spot but I need people to work Sundays.” Because of this heartbreak, I racked up a pretty hefty debt to my mother, which I needed to pay back with the first paycheque I made at The Medium in September.
According to Statistics Canada, “Youth unemployment rate in Canada increased to 13 percent in December from 12.7 percent in November of 2015. Youth unemployment rate in Canada averaged 14.15 percent from 1976 until 2015, reaching an all-time high of 20.7 percent in October of 1982 and a record low of 10.4 percent in July of 1989.”
We also can’t lose sight of the fact that minimum paying jobs offer employees a handful of peanuts for hours of hard labour. Labour is also exploited when it comes to internships. I’ve had a few, which were good learning experiences but were ultimately very obvious months of work without pay.
In light of these numbers, the Liberal Party is promising to spend over one billion dollars over a four-year span in an attempt to help 125,000 young people find work, as reported by Huffington Post.
Also reported, “The Liberal plan includes spending some $300 million annually for three years on a youth employment strategy, a move the party believes would create 40,000 jobs each year. The party also promised to pay up to one quarter of a co-op student’s salary, up to a maximum of $5,000, for every new position an employer creates.”
I consider it a good thing that we have the Career Centre available to us after we graduate but their services only stretch so far when it comes to finding a job in your field. And I’ve got enough time left on my ticket at university where I don’t have to worry about these things right now. But the questions of where I’m planning to go after graduation and what I want to do when I leave have already started (shout out to my relatives).
It really wasn’t until my clock began ticking at university that I really started to focus on the harsh reality that I actually need to do stuff on my own once I leave here. I mean, I live at home and don’t need to pay for anything other than my phone bill and takeout (because I’m on a big health kick) but I do freak out when I think about funding my own life. Funding my own life despite the fact that I’m going to be in an approximate $25,000 to $30,000 of debt due to OSAP once I graduate.
The good news is I can tell people I’m a successful writer as I work out of my mother’s basement.