Don't get a Job, Make a Job - how to succeed as a creative graduate

18 February 2016

First things first – the days of trading in your degree certificate for a nice safe job offer are gone, and who knows if they will ever return. It is simply not enough to graduate anymore, the world demands more from you – you are the future, you are the next generation of entrepreneurs, design-thinkers, hyper-specialists and cultural agitators. You have a role, you have a responsibility…it is no longer about the world of the design…. it is about the design of your world!

Being a writer is one of those jobs where you are one, because you do it. The title makes no grand gestures and has no barriers to entry – unlike many other professions – I love that about it. It doesn’t mean you will be a good writer obviously; there are no junior authors, middleweight bloggers or senior poets! It is quite non-discriminatory in that sense and as such is open and accommodating, it encourages agency and I’m all for agency, for people with balls and determination and it is simple – if you write, then you are a writer. And I wanted to write a book, so I started writing, and I wrote a book. It is all in the mind.

You will be aware that the prospect of “finding work” is tough-going, you have heard nothing but horror stories since the economic downturn began in 2008, yet you still chose a design degree, you are still chasing that dream, why? Because secretly, deep down you know that the future will be led by free-thinking, forward-looking, rule-bending, problem-solving, question-asking social-radicals, that’s why.

I’m very much a why-not, why-wait, move-over-let-me-try kind of girl and being a writer isn’t the first job I made for myself, and it sure as hell won’t be the last. I’ve had many different jobs in my years spent partaking in society’s ritual of employment, only a small number of which I obtained in a traditional way such as an interview. I truly believe the notion of employment to be a habit imposed on society, we are conditioned from a young age to believe “getting a job” is the safest and easiest route to a secure life. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. So I wrote this book to remind people that the employment system is just that, one system, it can be side-stepped, it can be bull-dozed, it can be re-written… and it is being, right now. Creative graduates now entering the industry face a very different world, with a different set of challenges. The markets have shifted. Because of the clever people – the ones with independent thought and ball-breaking ambition that wouldn’t let the apocalypse beat them, the ones that went out and made their own opportunities – they raised the stakes dear friends, and they raised them high, you now have some serious competition.

Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job tells the stories of these new-gen trailblazers amid the changing world; it explores their strategies, introduces their working methods and tells exactly how and why they chose to make their own way. They put themselves out there and nail personal propaganda, they hit the streets, go guerrilla and bend the rules. They learn from their idols, they learn to specialise and to diversify; to swim against the tide and to question everything. They make tough calls; they trust their instincts, move mountains and imagine best-case scenarios. They team up, some go it alone, they exploit their interests and are true to themselves but above all they have gusto; they reinvent themselves, create positive change and learn to keep on learning.

Don’t Get A Job, Make a Job is published by Laurence King

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Gem Barton

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