Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday January 13th 2019

Degree holder felt ashamed she is jobless for a year without any full-time job offer

Hi Gilbert,

I’m a degree holder and I am having difficulties finding a job which can offer me a salary of at least $2K. In fact, I’m actually having difficulties in getting interviews from the hundreds of job applications I have submitted. I have tried lowering my expectations and even applied for positions that are of O Level or Poly qualifications.

Here’s a little background: Back in 2014, I left my first full-time job after 3.5 years of service because I felt it was getting stagnant and I was not getting promoted despite my managers putting in good words for me (and me getting a degree). I was earning much lesser than my peers who are in the same industry, having similar qualifications. I decided to leave without securing another job first, thinking it would be a breeze to find another job. Boy, I was so wrong.

For almost a year, I didn’t get any job offer so I ended up doing odd jobs, freelancing and part-timing wherever I could until one of the directors called me back to cover a staff who was going on maternity leave. It was a 5-month contract and as much as the director of the department wanted me to stay, they did not have the head count to employ me. Nonetheless, another department manager wanted to hire me as one of his staffs was leaving.

However, the recommendation was rejected because the HR manager and CEO were not keen to have me on board again as a permanent staff due to my previous high record of MC (I have a medical condition and it’s stabilized but honestly, it didn’t affect how I carry out my tasks and responsibilities). So after the contract ended in June 2015, I was jobless again.

Meanwhile, I did some part-time work such as transcribing and relief tutoring to get by. One year has passed and I am still looking for a full-time job.

I’m on the verge of giving up since no matter how much effort I put in and how much I lower my expectations, nothing seems to work. This multiple periods of unemployment have also affected my social life. I cooped myself up at home and try not to go out as much as possible to avoid having people asking me about my current employment. I feel ashamed that as a degree holder with a job experience, I’m having a hard time getting employed.

I recently left my job which I worked for 1.5 months. I quit because I found out they were involved in unethical business practices. My fiancé and I often have quarrels and it has caused a strain in our relationship. My fiancé is puzzled as to why a degree holder like me is having such a hard time getting a proper job and it’s as though the fault lies with me.

I am at my wits’ end. I’m so desperate that I even resorted to applying for retail assistant positions. I’m even thinking of being a kitchen helper. It doesn’t matter anymore what the job is as long as I can earn enough to support myself and pay for my wedding expenses. I would really appreciate it if you could offer me advice or even job recommendations.

Thank you in advance.


Jobless but not hopeless

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3 Responses to “Degree holder felt ashamed she is jobless for a year without any full-time job offer”

  1. Nicholas says:

    As an aside, I am concerned about your partner giving you pressure on your job search. This may be irrelevant to your post, but certainly relevant to your life.

    Now, my guess is that you were previously working in a position for which you were hired as a non-degree holder. Then, you earned a degree, perhaps through part time studies. However, that didn’t help you advance with your employer and recognizing the lack of prospects, you left.

    You might be puzzled why despite having a degree, you are still unemployed. The reason is that you do not have relevant experience in a graduate position, which your previous position is not. As such, unless your degree is a strong signal of ability (which is mainly not nowadays), you will have a lot of competition for graduate placements.

    Gilbert might have a different take on this, but my advice is, don’t go back to jobs that ask for non degree holders. You are now a degree holder, play your part and look (if not act) like one. Be honest with your interviewers that your are looking for an entry position at the graduate level, and while your institutional knowledge is limited, you have had experience learning, mentoring and working in a team.

    If you try to oversell yourself that’s how things fall apart. But shortchange yourself either by going back to a place where having a degree doesn’t matter.

    Good luck.

  2. anthony says:

    If you are an employer, let’s say domestic maid, would you choose a healthy one or a sickly one? Even if both of them can do the job with similar performance?

    There are people who never took a day of MC for 30 years, logically you think these people are non human and never fell sick? It’s all part of attitude and work ethics.

  3. mickey says:

    Hi there, I can totally understand what you are going thru as i had been there before.
    one thing positive about life is it is not permanent. Good days will come but we need to have the patient to wait. Everybody eventually will get a job i believe.

    to tide over the current situation please cast your net wide and be open with temporary/contract positions at least it can help you financially.
    you never know you might get converted to a permanent employee.

    however your physical health need to be taken care of , as no employer like an employee who is frequently sick. they cant penalise you for it under employment act but it will not be good on your records.

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