I'm in mid 20s, did arts degree became a teacher, don't like it, what else can I do? Watch

thisistheend
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As the title says, I trained to become a teacher because I was unemployable coming out of an Arts degree with zero work experience or personal competencies. Turned out I didn't really like teaching either and spent 2 years dossing about on supply after I qualified.

I'm trying to find some sort of permanent job in something else but I find I'm just as unemployable as coming out of undergrad. which is why i trained to be a teacher in the first place.

What else can I do? I cant afford to do anything unpaid or go back to university full time.
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Xenon1305
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(Original post by thisistheend)
As the title says, I trained to become a teacher because I was unemployable coming out of an Arts degree with zero work experience or personal competencies. Turned out I didn't really like teaching either and spent 2 years dossing about on supply after I qualified.

I'm trying to find some sort of permanent job in something else but I find I'm just as unemployable as coming out of undergrad. which is why i trained to be a teacher in the first place.

What else can I do? I cant afford to do anything unpaid or go back to university full time.


What about an arts school? You could teach there? What kind of teaching are you doing now?

Or a museum curator?
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thisistheend
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(Original post by Xenon1305)
What about an arts school? You could teach there? What kind of teaching are you doing now?

Or a museum curator?
When I say Arts, I mean a BA. BA Philosophy.

I teach KS3 Maths. Shortage-ish subject, I just don't want to do it full time.
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Xenon1305
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(Original post by thisistheend)
When I say Arts, I mean a BA. BA Philosophy.

I teach KS3 Maths. Shortage-ish subject, I just don't want to do it full time.


Right, what did you initially want to do with your degree?
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thisistheend
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(Original post by Xenon1305)
Right, what did you initially want to do with your degree?
I had no idea. I was depressed and I dropped Economics after a year because I didn't think I was like the other happy aspiring students around me. Despite having gotten a 1st in Econ Theory 101.
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kka25
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I've always wanted to do a BA in Philosophy; this is discouraging
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somethingbeautiful
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You're not the first and you certainly won't be the last. It's really hard to do anything with an Arts degree at the moment (anecdotally has been since the recession started). You did the same degree as me, by the way. It's useful for employment isn't it (sarcasm)? I almost went down the PGCE route but as much as I hated min-wage work I knew I would despise teaching. So at least you worked out that you don't enjoy it and it's an avenue you've explored.

Now that you know what you don't like you can start looking for what really inspires you. You have to forget about what other people think and just follow your heart (cliche but true). If you happen to be unemployed (not sure if you are) and no older than 24, you can take level 2/3 qualifications for free even with a degree (government pay for them). Best ones to do for career changes are vocational qualifications. If you're older than 24 though, employed or not, the best thing to do is simply be honest with yourself about what you REALLY want to do if failure was no option. Then research every possible means of getting into that line of work. Not everything requires you to get new qualifications - you could be entrepreneurial and start a business - it won't happen overnight but the sooner you start the sooner you can get your business up and running (you might eligible for grants too if this is a route you're interested in!).

I think what you will find initially though, if you completely leave teaching, is that with your degree and without teaching, it will be difficult to get into anything worthwhile (i.e. pays well, uses your brain, something you enjoy) quickly. In other words, you're going to have to put a lot of time/effort into whatever path you choose and there isn't likely to be a quick fix - so you really need to choose a path you really enjoy or you will soon be disheartened. There are lots of arts grads working in min wage work that does not utilize their skills at all - so at least with teaching you can earn enough to actually live and you can use your brain. So take some comfort in the fact that whilst you're working towards what you really want, your current situation could be a lot worse.

Personally, if you're looking for a 'permanent job' in anything other than teaching, with a Philosophy degree (and most other Arts degrees) you're going to be bitterly dissapointed. I'm a Philosophy graduate, 3 years since I graduated and I'm going back to uni to retrain because with a degree such as ours, the options are very very limited and unless you want to join the Army/RAF as an officer (it's not for everyone), find a mundane graduate job (like retail management, no thanks!) or work in an entry level office role then there's really not much else. NHS jobs are a possibility - but you're more likely to get into the admin ones (band 2 on **** pay) than care ones (also **** pay) unless you build up experience via voluntary work.

There is no point, IMHO, of just blindly searching for a 'permanent job' other than teaching because most of those jobs (if you can get one) will be much worse than teaching.
You need enjoyment, money and security. Most people don't get all three! A lot of people don't get any of those 3. So as much as you might dislike teaching, it could be much worse - most people don't skip to work.

Basically - figure out what you genuinely like and work from there. Once you have an idea of what you want then pursue all avenues that can get you there, just be careful of setting out to find something that will make you super happy - most people use their spare time for that. If it was all easy it wouldn't be called work. Unfortunately, most jobs become mundane after a certain point but they keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge - it's just a means to an end. If the job front is dismal, maybe look into teaching abroad or finding other areas of teaching you could move into?

Best of luck!
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by kka25)
I've always wanted to do a BA in Philosophy; this is discouraging
I would discourage it (I'm a Philosophy grad, see my other post).

Edit, I'm going to expand on that since I have an affinity for Philosophy and don't want to give the impression that it's not worth studying per se.

Philosophy itself is fascinating and a subject well worth reading into. But I'd advise that if you really want to study it, unless you plan to teach afterwards (at whatever level e.g. doing a PGCE or pursue a PhD) or as I say above, use your degree simply as means to get into generic grad roles/the armed forces etc then there isn't much point in studying a degree in it.

If Philosophy really interests you, you could explore the subject in your spare time or take an Open University/Edx course etc. A degree will shape your future or at least affect it to a large extent - so, personally, if I could give my younger self advice it would be:

Study something that leads to a job (i.e. something vocational) and use your spare time to pursue your interests. You have your whole life to learn about Philosophy, or History or English Literature or whatever - you don't have you whole life to become qualified for a decently paid job that will cover bills/food/transport/rent etc.

Life becomes pretty 'real' once you graduate and your reality will be pleasant or unpleasant largely based on your ability to find employment .
I would advise studying something employable.
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Veggiechic6
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Have you considered teaching abroad? Depending on what you don't like about Maths teaching, you might find it much more enjoyable in another country. Or you could teach English as a foreign language. Failing that, you could try to find a non-teaching job in the education sector that requires your qualification but you don't have to teach. Are you still in touch with people you studied Philosophy with? What are they doing? Same goes with your Maths PGCE cohort.
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thisistheend
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(Original post by kka25)
I've always wanted to do a BA in Philosophy; this is discouraging
I was always supposed to be clever, so I really liked Philosophy, it doesn't get anymore abstractly intellectual than that with words. Only thing more abstract is numbers and if you do Maths.

After doing the BA, I seem on the ball, can make intelligent contributions to a conversation, god forbid someone tries to argue against me..

But all the supposed intelligence and critical thinking and argumentative skills are a bit wasted because it's like Marvin the robot from Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, or Cassandra from mythology. Having the intelligence to see the myriad ways you're ****ed and locked out of advancement isn't much comfort.
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by thisistheend)
Having the intelligence to see the myriad ways you're ****ed and locked out of advancement isn't much comfort.
That's exactly how I've felt since graduating, I've never known how to articulate it but you just did. When you've been so conditioned by a subject like Philosophy to over-analyse everything and over-think everything from every possible perspective in fine detail - those skills become your own undoing when you find yourself looking for the 'perfect' job.
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hothedgehog
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Instead of thinking what you want it can be very useful to think about what you don't want. So, perhaps you can narrow your job down some that way.

For example I would have things like:
don't want to work away from home for long periods or frequently
don't want to work on the weekend
don't want to do a job which doesn't stretch me
don't want to get stuck in a rut doing a job with no prospects for progression
and so on...

So, that starts ruling out jobs and eventually you end up with a bunch of jobs that you could like. Anyway, as hard as it is, don't get depressed looking for jobs - opportunities come out of nowhere.
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thisistheend
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
That's exactly how I've felt since graduating, I've never known how to articulate it but you just did. When you've been so conditioned by a subject like Philosophy to over-analyse everything and over-think everything from every possible perspective in fine detail - those skills become your own undoing when you find yourself looking for the 'perfect' job.
So what do you do these days after graduating?
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superwolf
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No idea if this will be relevant to you, but if you're at all interested in the healthcare professions then there are a number of degrees which are NHS-funded. I did an undergrad degree in Russian Studies (for the fun of it rather than for employability), and have just been accepted onto another undergrad course, this time an NHS-funded Occupational Therapy course. It's definitely something you need a passion for if you're going to get in, but if you're just at the thinking things over stage then it's worth taking a look at.
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by thisistheend)
So what do you do these days after graduating?
I quit my job a few months back - I finally had enough of doing min wage meaningless work which didn't utilize my skills. Luckily I have family who are willing to support my decision so I'm now self studying some science courses and organizing work experience in the NHS with a view to apply for a Physiotherapy degree this September. I'm getting as much work experience as possible because there are a few NHS funded degrees that interest me and I want to make an informed decision before I apply. I have from now until September to choose something I will enjoy and get work experience.

If I didn't have this time out to really consider where I'm going and what I want it would be much more difficult, so I'm just really grateful that I have a supportive family.
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
I quit my job a few months back - I finally had enough of doing min wage meaningless work which didn't utilize my skills. Luckily I have family who are willing to support my decision so I'm now self studying some science courses and organizing work experience in the NHS with a view to apply for a Physiotherapy degree this September. I'm getting as much work experience as possible because there are a few NHS funded degrees that interest me and I want to make an informed decision before I apply. I have from now until September to choose something I will enjoy and get work experience.

If I didn't have this time out to really consider where I'm going and what I want it would be much more difficult, so I'm just really grateful that I have a supportive family.
Heya, nice to see you're still posting on here!

You seem to be doing well

I'm glad that you've managed to take your career in the direction you feel it should head in. Many people struggle and have anxiety when making career changes, but you've done very well for yourself to make the decision that a particular industry/sector isn't right for you.

You'd be a great case study for young people who are unsure of where they are going in their career and working life.
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by Advanced Subsidiary)
Heya, nice to see you're still posting on here!

You seem to be doing well

I'm glad that you've managed to take your career in the direction you feel it should head in. Many people struggle and have anxiety when making career changes, but you've done very well for yourself to make the decision that a particular industry/sector isn't right for you.

You'd be a great case study for young people who are unsure of where they are going in their career and working life.
Hi, and you! I wasn't using TSR as much for a while but I've recently re-discovered how awesome it is for advice and chatting to people with similar ambitions etc.

How is your business going? Your website is looking great.

Yeah, I think the vast majority of people in their 20's have at least some kind of questioning of what they're doing with their life and trying to find something meaningful/fulfilling. I've lost count of the amount of articles I read that are centered around the ''I'm 20-something and don't know what I'm doing with my life'' theme - it's such a universal feeling. I've definitely felt like that since graduating. But I've seen so many different aspects of life and experienced various jobs and even retrained via college for non-grad jobs and I think if someone is unsure of what path to take then that's the best way of finding out - just experience as much as possible because no-one else can tell you what you'll enjoy.

It sounds so cliche but even though it's been quite difficult, I'm so glad it wasn't as easy for me as graduating and getting a grad job. The way I've (accidentally) done it has meant that I've got to a point where I'm not accidentally going to fall into a career now - it's an informed choice due to experiencing what I don't want. Plus, I'll be so much more grateful for the career I will have after experiencing some pretty bad jobs - it's good to have that perspective.

As for being a great case study, yes, once I've got to where I now know I want to be I think my journey could really encourage other young people to just keep searching and not settle for something that is not right for them just because it's scary to start over again. I might write about it a little further down the line!
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
Hi, and you! I wasn't using TSR as much for a while but I've recently re-discovered how awesome it is for advice and chatting to people with similar ambitions etc.

How is your business going? Your website is looking great.

Yeah, I think the vast majority of people in their 20's have at least some kind of questioning of what they're doing with their life and trying to find something meaningful/fulfilling. I've lost count of the amount of articles I read that are centered around the ''I'm 20-something and don't know what I'm doing with my life'' theme - it's such a universal feeling. I've definitely felt like that since graduating. But I've seen so many different aspects of life and experienced various jobs and even retrained via college for non-grad jobs and I think if someone is unsure of what path to take then that's the best way of finding out - just experience as much as possible because no-one else can tell you what you'll enjoy.

It sounds so cliche but even though it's been quite difficult, I'm so glad it wasn't as easy for me as graduating and getting a grad job. The way I've (accidentally) done it has meant that I've got to a point where I'm not accidentally going to fall into a career now - it's an informed choice due to experiencing what I don't want. Plus, I'll be so much more grateful for the career I will have after experiencing some pretty bad jobs - it's good to have that perspective.

As for being a great case study, yes, once I've got to where I now know I want to be I think my journey could really encourage other young people to just keep searching and not settle for something that is not right for them just because it's scary to start over again. I might write about it a little further down the line!
Agreed, certain areas of the forum are great to contribute in compared to some others.

It's doing great! Just got my 150th customer a few days ago - Currently learnt some HTML and CSS so I can make it look exactly the way I want it to.

Absolutely, there is no two ways about it imo - if you're unsure of what you want to do/what career you wish to have, do a variety of everything. You will learn what you hate and what you enjoy, and can therefore plan your career effectively from that moment forward.

It's the same with me, I opened up the career section of my business because I knew that there are so many confused people, both young and old, who are struggling to find a working lifestyle and career which is suitable for them.

Hopefully we'll both be able to help those who feel a bit indecisive when leaving school, graduating, or trying to change careers altogether.
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KingStannis
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
I would discourage it (I'm a Philosophy grad, see my other post).

Edit, I'm going to expand on that since I have an affinity for Philosophy and don't want to give the impression that it's not worth studying per se.

Philosophy itself is fascinating and a subject well worth reading into. But I'd advise that if you really want to study it, unless you plan to teach afterwards (at whatever level e.g. doing a PGCE or pursue a PhD) or as I say above, use your degree simply as means to get into generic grad roles/the armed forces etc then there isn't much point in studying a degree in it.

If Philosophy really interests you, you could explore the subject in your spare time or take an Open University/Edx course etc. A degree will shape your future or at least affect it to a large extent - so, personally, if I could give my younger self advice it would be:

Study something that leads to a job (i.e. something vocational) and use your spare time to pursue your interests. You have your whole life to learn about Philosophy, or History or English Literature or whatever - you don't have you whole life to become qualified for a decently paid job that will cover bills/food/transport/rent etc.

Life becomes pretty 'real' once you graduate and your reality will be pleasant or unpleasant largely based on your ability to find employment .
I would advise studying something employable.
Well, it seems your being hyper selective with the type of work you want, with a degree that isn't specialised, and no specific work experience. That seems to be a bigger problem than the degree being philosophy.
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by KingStannis)
Well, it seems your being hyper selective with the type of work you want, with a degree that isn't specialised, and no specific work experience. That seems to be a bigger problem than the degree being philosophy.
That is so far from the truth. No, I was not selective. I'm not going to list off my CV to tell you what I've done since graduating but I've worked a wide variety of non-grad jobs varying from zero hours contracts, temp roles, part time roles...I could go on. In every situation I did it to 'get my foot in the door' and work my way up but the most relevant role I had (my first job after graduation) I was made redundant from - that wasn't something I selected. I was not 'selective' - I wasn't in a position to be.

Also, I didn't mention what work experience I have so I don't know how you come to the conclusion that I have 'no specific work experience'.

People can take or leave my advice about degree types, it's no skin off my nose. I'm offering it so that others don't have to go through what a lot of arts grads are experiencing at the moment. I wasn't posting any of that so that armchair judges like you can pick apart my attempts to find work - I've worked very hard since graduating (and whilst at uni) so my efforts are not what should be put under the microscope here.

Here's the real issue that no one wants to discuss:

People need to wake up and have real discussions about the high rates of graduate unemployment/underemployment and stop putting their heads in the sand by trying to place the blame on the graduates themselves. There's an underlying issue and it stems from past governments trying to get a larger amount of young people into university which has led to 6th forms/colleges encouraging young people into university regardless of the degree course which puts pressure on 16/17 year olds to make very big decisions which will affect them hugely once they graduate.

Young people need to make more informed decisions about degree types and they don't seem to be getting much advice at school because schools only care about pushing them through the process and into the next level of education. We're all just pushed along a conveyor belt.

Someone somewhere needs to speak some truth and since I am (and many of my friends are) products of this system, I feel I'm pretty well informed due to my experiences. If people choose to ignore what I have to say, as I've said, that is absolutely fine by me, it's their life. However what I won't stand for, is when people decide to to turn it around and say people like myself have been 'hyper selective' in our job search. Not only is that an insult to what I've been through and to what every other unemployed/underemployed grad (who is willing to do any work) has been through it also show a massive naivety and lack of understanding of the current economic situation and the circumstances that many grads are finding themselves in.

Usually, I would have replied quite briefly to your post but having read and heard similar things being said over the years by journalists and in general internet comments I feel the need to say that your comments are part of the problem.

Until people stop blaming grads themselves (that is SO easy - you don't have to look at individual cases, you can just blanket judge them as workshy etc) and actually look at what is happening and has been happening in this country politically, educationally and economically then the problem is going to go on and on and young people are going to continue to end up in Jobcentres the day after donning their mortar board and gown.

Seemingly everyone wants to continually stick their heads in the sand and blame the graduates themselves insinuating that that are too haughty to take a shelf stacking job or something along those lines (again, an easy thing to say about a group of people who can't respond unless you talk to them individually). So, from my individual perspective: I worked as a sales assistant on min wage a year after graduating. I've done various other similar 'entry level' roles including packing boxes in a warehouse on a zero hour contract.

It has never been a matter of being 'hyper selective' and people need to stop resorting this as an explanation for graduate unemployment/underemployment because it's an insult to people like me who have worked all manner of jobs/worked for free/worked overtime/volunteered/done unpaid internships/work placements/returned to education etc and still find themselves signing on or stuck in entry level roles often years after graduating.

There is a lot more that I could say about why this is happening but the information is already out there and I've already touched on it - people just seem to choose to ignore it.

Just for a little perspective, if anyone cares to actually look into this (I'd advise any one choosing a degree to read some of this):

http://www.theguardian.com/business/...stuck-jobs-ons

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/g...ur-market.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/...w_college.html (Not UK, but worth looking at)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...uate-jobs.html
Comments section worth a read on this e.g:


Bliar told all our young they should spend three years getting a degree rather then earning, when many had no idea what career they wanted and signed up to any course that had a vacancy.
There never were enough employment for degree holders in worthwhile jobs for half our young.
lostnavigator • a year ago
It got them out of the unemployment statistics.
Note: Without getting heavily into the politics involved in this issue, let's just say this: I have no political preference and I don't regularly buy any particular newspaper.

http://www.independent.co.uk/student...y-9135958.html




So anyway, to summarize - I think this is actually the bigger problem Kingstannis, not my alleged 'hyper selectiveness'.

Yes, it's takes a lot more effort to say all this than 'you must just be too picky about jobs' but that's usually the case with the truth - it's not as simple as a quick remark. (By the way, don't you think that if someone couldn't find graduate work after 3 years they might have already considered - long ago - looking for other types of work/building up experience?)

If more people weren't so lazy as to generalize, we might be able to get started on solving this dreadful state of affairs.
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