When you first move to London as a graduate, or a young professional, you might need to take a survival job whilst you’re looking for a job in your chosen company or industry.
What is a survival job?
A survival job is usually a low-paying and often customer-facing job that a job-seeker would take on a temporary basis in order to cover basic living costs such as rent, bills and food. Jobs falling under the ‘survival jobs’ category could include barwork, shopwork, waitressing, or a basic office admin role.
If you’ve recently finished university, or have been working for a few years prior to your move to London, you may find a survival job to be completely beneath you. You (and possibly your family) might have spent a great deal of money and certainly time on your further education and the last thing you ever envisaged yourself doing with your BA(Hons) degree is to be pouring pints. But try and keep in mind that there are positives to take out of accepting a job that you never expected to have to do.
First of all, the best place you can be living in whilst looking for a job in London is……. London. So if working in a pizza restaurant is a way of supporting yourself whilst going for graduate job interviews, then that’s got to be a lot better than attempting to apply for jobs from your far-flung home location.
As much as many of us dream about giving up work and sitting at home watching Jeremy Kyle all day (no, really), in reality, this is quite a depressing existence. So for the sake of your own sanity, it’s a lot better to get out of the house and into a workplace – any workplace – so that you’re able to keep yourself busy for the day. This can also help combat depression if you’re feeling that this issue is getting too much for you.
You may not want to end up being the regional manager of your local supermarket chain, but there’s a high chance that by doing a survival job, you’ll actually learn skills that you could use in your future dream job. You might be able to learn or develop customer-service skills, touch-typing, a professional phone manner, cash-till operation or new software packages. Try and look for the positive in any survival job that you decide to accept.
Of course, not all survival jobs are going to be suitable for fitting in with your ongoing job-hunting. If you end up working extremely long hours, then you may not have any time to go to job interviews or recruitment agencies. So make sure you know how many hours and shifts you’ll be expected to work before you accept a low-paid job. Also be aware, that some ‘survival jobs’ will pay better than others, so make sure you know the going rate at other companies in a similar industry before you accept anything too menial.
Remember that a survival job is only a temporary measure to help you get on your feet when you first arrive in London. So long as you don’t accept any job that’s illegal or that is against your morals, then you might even find the experience to be positive and rewarding. You could even meet great new friends who find themselves in a similar circumstance to you. In the meantime, upload your most recent C.V and cover letter for FREE to Monster and enjoy doing lots of cheap things that London has to offer.
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