The Big Wide World of work (a bit scary, but hugely exciting)

Stepping out as a recent graduate into the big scary world of work is a daunting task. With huge amounts of enthusiasm built up over years of study, and the dream idea of their ideal ‘proper job’ firmly in their heads, thousands of young twenty-somethings embark on the job application road, often with varying amounts of success. Some are lucky and walk into the job of their dreams straight away. For others however, despite years of hard work, excellent grades and even work experience, they struggle to be given that vital first chance. With time it is easy to forget the stress and struggle of the first job search, but it is important to remember how hard it is, give encouragement and even that first chance – if you have the power to do so.

Only just over a year ago, this was all too real for me. After completing my Master’s degree at Manchester University, I suddenly felt a bit lost. A crazy year of coursework, deadlines, exams and barely a minute to myself, all suddenly stopped. Then commenced the job applications. Hours of submissions, getting through round after round after round of tests (verbal, numerical, spatial, reasoning, situational judgement… you name it, they test it) just to be told ‘not this time – but try again next year!’. It is quite depressing. Twelve more months, and no guarantee of a job at the end of it. You quite quickly start to lose hope, and I often found myself thinking ‘what more do they want from me?!’. The only thing that got me through those dark winter days was the thought of all the hard work I had put into my degree, my belief that I was good enough and that I did not want my degree to go to waste.

I was lucky. My opportunity came in the form of Merlin, 5 months after graduating. They were looking for a recent graduate to be a Geoscience Assistant, and I grasped the chance with both hands. That is the start of my story, my first chance and my first step (and arguably the most important one) on my career ladder in the energy industry. I understand it is a big leap of faith for companies like Merlin to take on recent graduates, who lack the experience of the industry and the workplace. However I truly believe graduates bring a huge amount to the table, including eager enthusiasm to learn and develop. I myself have learnt so much over the last year (it is crazy how the time flies!). The team have been wonderful in helping me settle in, giving me the time and opportunity to learn, real responsibility from day one, and also the kindness and openness to allow me to ask questions and really deepen my knowledge and understanding of the data I am working with. It is honestly amazing how different real life data is to what they give you at University! Thinking on the larger scale, it is also vital to every industry to train the next generation. Every geoscientist, geophysicist, petrophysicist, engineer and software developer needs to start somewhere. So go on, if you know someone going through this experience, give them encouragement and a helping hand. If you are in the position to provide that first opportunity for someone, do it! Help them on their career path and help the industry train the next generation and prepare for the future. It will be in their hands before you know it!

By Georgina Lockham, Geoscience Assistant