As a recent arts graduate, I was not naïve to believe that landing on a job for art graduates with little experience in the industry would be a task to accomplish overnight. However, little did I know that my odds would be further stacked against me by the corona virus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown it entailed. Initially, I had aspirations of setting my first step on the career ladder this summer. Unfortunately, this never came to pass as a whole job application was cancelled and a lockdown was imposed the very week I was expecting a call back. Since then, I had entered a world of limbo instead of the world of work. The city streets were suddenly swept of life as people worked from home and others were made redundant—internships were obviously out of question. The country was in a state of emergency and interns had no place.
From time to time, I would look at adverts for jobs and internships to console myself that I was going somewhere, but to no avail. My struggle was doubled; it was extremely difficult to find art related careers appropriate for graduates and the availability was usually months and months away scheduled possibly till the lockdown would ease. It was a disheartening time, as the cases increased daily, my beacon of hope regarding restrictions lifting became slighter and slighter, and so the availability of jobs seemed like an eternity away. Then I’d glance from these adverts on the computer screen to the window overlooking silent streets of the turned ghost town. Typically, these streets during the summer months would be busy with tourists, shows and artists from all over the world who have come to watch, entertain and exhibit their work in the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, which in turn attracted jobs for locals. There was always opportunity in Edinburgh during the summer, but this year it was dead. Again, I’d return to the job search, I would notice new adverts for jobs that were conveniently from home but (there was a but); they were targeted at people already in the industry since the descriptions routinely outlined that experience was essential. It was a joke! I was stuck in uncertainty. Eventually, I resigned to relax, take that long-needed break, get into some television drama or rather dramas, Youtube videos, and even binge on TikTok (yes, so I will shamelessly share with you). This was going to be an indoor holiday of sorts I would try to reassure myself, yet I could not help worrying and contemplating as to how it could have been if only everything was normal.
Now with this ‘new normal’, the gradual easing of lockdown measures and return to the work place, various online initiatives and virtual open days offering work experience for graduates are emerging. These were unheard of pre-lockdown but due to the necessity of social distancing, the virtual environment has been becoming more and more popular for education and work. Therefore, provided that we have a computer or similar device and a stable internet connection, it seems that getting on the career ladder is merely clicks away— so it’s made out to be. With that being said, I will try my luck again with the job market and seek to participate in such online initiatives whether that be for work or internships, just anything really I could get my hands on metaphorically and/or virtually that is happy to take me onboard. Meanwhile, the search goes on!