Another sunny day filtered through my dusty blinds and across the hoarder’s mess that was my room. I tiptoed through crumpled resumés and half-done Windsor knots to find my idea of acceptable business attire–a pair of trousers and a shirt I thought screamed I will be a valuable asset to your company but was really more of a whispered hire me, please, I’m desperate. I was six months in to this little period of life I so naively dubbed ‘Funemployment’, and quite frankly, I was ready for it to be over.

The next two hours were spent handing out resumés at every business in a suburb 20 minutes away; I had exhausted all nearby potential workplaces. The concrete was starting to wear out the black leather shoes my mum had bought me for Christmas (“So you’ll look dapper at your new job,” she said), but I had at least learned to handle rejection with a smile. I returned home to an empty house and a note from my sister saying she left me chicken roll in the fridge. Lying flat on the couch, I messaged a few of my friends to see if they wanted to hang out.

“Sorry, at work today!!”

“Ahh you know it’s really crazy at the office on Tuesdays, soz”

“How ‘bout the weekend?”

I tossed my phone on my bed and booted up my laptop. I looked through some job-searching advice for a bit before continuing my day’s work–filling out applications on Seek. An hour of shitty cover letters later and I was spent. It was time for Netflix.

When my Funemployment started, it was an apt name. It was fine for me to be taking some time to myself after finishing the HSC, and all my friends were around to celebrate too. We spent days at the beach and nights passed out on each other’s couches, and just otherwise released all the pent-up stress the exams put us through. Everyone kept telling us that this would be the last real summer of our lives, and I was determined to make the most of it.

But summer passed, and my friends got jobs or wrapped up in demanding degrees, while I stayed home and watched Scrubs for the fifth time. I started sending out more and more applications each day, but was caught in that cruel catch-22 of needing work experience to get more work experience. I was aimless, sick of spending days alone and leaching off my parents. Most of all, I was bored.

But that afternoon I got a call from a number I didn’t recognise. The previous day, I had started sending out applications to listings under a classification I hadn’t before (Education & Training, FYI), a simple decision I would be sweetly rewarded for. Within a few days I was signing a contract and about to start two weeks full-time training. It is a job I have kept, to some capacity, over the last six years, and the confidence I got being employed and appreciated was a springboard for a number of other work and intern opportunities.

After high school, it took me six months to get a job, but I’ve been working for six years since then.