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Graduate high school, get into university course of choice, get

lowly job in field of study, graduate, get real job in field of

study. That is the checklist in the minds of many when they

think about study, and it is the way that gaining a qualification

is supposed to work.


But what if it doesn’t work that way? Are students prepared

to face the challenge of having all that study and time go completely

unacknowledged? To go through the trial of applying

for job after job, only to be rejected and end up working in a

completely unrelated field?


It was an experience that I wasn’t ready for. Study itself is

filled with challenges. To then come out and be faced with

more roadblocks was eye-opening.


Students tell themselves that the investment of time, effort,

and money is worth it. It can be, and there are many success

stories out there. What isn’t out there is a detailed discussion of

what happens when things don’t work out; the real issues and

challenges. Who does it affect? And what happens to those

who, for one reason or another, are not working in their field,

have difficulty finding a position or even work experience, and

end up in a field entirely different from their study?


There are many articles speaking about the plight of graduates;

they talk about too many graduates and not enough jobs,

the global economic crisis, and the effect on the job market.

They talk about statistics. What they don’t talk about is the effect

the lack of jobs has on the graduates themselves; the areas

of a graduate’s life that are affected by the lack of options, and

how graduates face and cope with such a challenge. This book

will address all these concerns.


In the following chapters you will find my story, and the

stories of other graduates I have interviewed. In sharing these

deeply personal stories, I aim to bring light to this topic in a

new way.


There are many blogs and articles online written by students

who have been through this struggle. The comments

sections following these articles are filled with replies from other

students, adding their own experiences and advice.


Many students also utilize online media to discuss their

plight, to ask for assistance, and to share their stories. What

the numerous online articles and student discussions indicate

are that this problem is very real, at times painful, and worthy

of investigation.


The following is my story—the challenges, the fears of failure

and the triumph of acceptance. I too was one of those students

who thought that getting a degree would mean greater

employment opportunities. My experience is probably one of

the best examples of what happens when study goes wrong.

It isn’t unique in today’s oversupply of students to the employment

market, but it is a reality many graduates face if they are

completely reliant on a degree to get where they want to go.


Many fresh-faced young students are sitting in universities,

TAFE colleges, or taking online courses and dreaming of their

future bright career in their chosen field at this very moment.

This book is not intended to scare them, nor is it intended to

alienate universities; its aim is to examine graduate outcomes.

Universities proudly declare their graduates’ employment

rate after graduation. They don’t measure who is working in

their field and who isn’t. They only measure employment itself.

In your field or not, they will happily declare that you are



If you’re considering higher education, are currently studying,

or have graduated and found that things haven’t panned

out as expected, this book is for you. This is for the hard work,

time and determination you have put into those letters after

your name.

Next: Chapter One

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