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30 year old arts graduate struggling to get by

  • 17-04-2022 7:39pm
    Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    Hi guys,

    Im posting because I need help. I cant afford to buy a house and this makes me feel subhuman in this country. Im from and live in Dublin.

    I turn 30 this year. I finished school in 2010 and the height of the recession, the career guidance in school (middle class south Dublin), was fully based on going to UCD or Trinity. No other options existed. I never heard about STEM, never about trades, never about anything but the need to especially not attend IT Tallaght.

    So I did a UCD arts degree in Sociology and Political Science after gaining 450 points in my leaving cert, I graduated in 2014, and did a post graduate diploma in Public Relations. Since then I have been unable to get a job earning over 30,000. I spent 4 years in a media agency working as a client services manager. I moved into tourism marketing after this and lost that role due to covid. For the last year I am working for facebook on the helpdesk for advertising clients.

    I have literally sent out hundreds of CVs for higher wages and cannot get anything. People here talk about high paying jobs as if everyone can get one if they work hard enough. Thats not true, even my manager in work is living in a house share.

    I have applied for a visa to go to Canada, just to get away from the shame I feel in my inability to live outside a house share (even on HAP) or to buy a home. Ive never been unemployed, I work damn hard and take every bit of overtime going, but I will never be able to buy a house on my income being single in Dublin.

    I want no hand outs, my political instincts are conservative (hate long term welfare, dislike how having a child is seen as a life choice) I just want a normal standard of living with a basic car, a secure home and enough disposable income to have a pint on a Saturday night. Why does that seem out of my reach?

    How do I not feel inferior for my wages and being a renter?

    Post edited by Beasty on



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,001 ✭✭✭ Buddy Bubs

    Look into a postgraduate program in an area in demand that you like. IT and finance are the big 2 earners, but depends on what you are like with these disciplines.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,425 ✭✭✭✭ _Kaiser_

    The reality is that you'll probably have to retrain in something where there's greater demand for those skills and thus higher earning potential.

    However, even with that it's no guarantee at the moment as there's simply not enough housing (in the areas people want it) to meet the demand, and even then individuals AND couples are being outbid on housing by private equity/investment firms and local councils who are in turn renting them back out to (social) tenants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    I already have a post grad. I have looked into IT (though Maths was my only ordinary level in school) and I cannot do a post grad in it without having to do access courses and a degree. I also think this IT boom is causing division as most people are no longer gaining from economic growth outside niche areas and most of those earning big are coming from over seas, and in turn pricing locals out of the rental market

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,001 ✭✭✭ Buddy Bubs

    Yes, you'd be correct there with the high earners distorting the rental market, things are far different than they used to be. I'm glad I am 10 years older than you. The last recession and housing crash allowed me to buy a house on my own in 2010 that I would have been crippled on in mortgage payments at its 2008 price. Lucky timing I guess. But hopefully access to housing improves soon.

  • Registered Users Posts: 36,049 ✭✭✭✭ Annasopra

    Are there any jobs you could work from home and move to live to a much cheaper place than Dublin?

    Apparently a "normal" woman is a busty blonde sexy page 3 model who wears make-up, short skirts and red lipsticks and has pouty lips.  Who knew. 👀😏


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ SuperBowserWorld

    Do some good free online programming course in Java or Python and see how you get on.

    And read a beginner's book or two on the subject.

    Spend a good few days/weeks on this.

    Don't give up.

    If you enjoy it then you are suitable to kick start a programming career.

    You don't need honours maths, just an enjoyment and passion for programming. And time.

    Even if not, there are other non programming careers in IT, but I can't comment on those.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,616 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    There are actually subsidised online part-time Masters under Skillnet if people want to change to, or get trained up in, more "modern" areas

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    Thanks, I wish I could do this and its my plan at least to go on the 2 year visa for Canada. But it seems that everything in Ireland is about owning a home and it feels like behind an outsider when you don't. Like if renting was not seen as some kind of plague for victims and the unclean I don't think I would have all this anxiety, and I also don't think the housing crisis would be seen as such. We need to fix the rental market in this country and most importantly the attitudes towards renting instead of pushing people in more and more isolated areas to buy a small box.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,501 ✭✭✭ TheIrishGrover

    You'll probably have to retrain. Something a bit more.... focused. I would imagine that, unless you own the company, working behind the scenes in media is always going to be relatively poorly paid. This is probably a HUGE (and inaccurate) generalisation but it seems to be a young-person's job and heavily leaning towards younger women (Mid-late 20s) unless, as said, you own the company. I apologise if this is an offensive generalisation (It was not meant to cause offense). Seems to be more about the "glamour" and high-visibility of such a job. Have you any interest in more technical fields? Maybe a technical field such as computer networking or security. It's never too late to retrain (I went back to college at 38 after losing a job I'd had for 13 years).

    You should also cut yourself a bit of a break too. You have mentioned shame etc. You are being WAY too hard on yourself. You are working hard, doing what you can. It's not your fault that property prices have sky-rocketed. It's not your fault that your job is low-paying. have a look at Springboard courses (You can do some of them while being employed).

    Is there another field that interests you?

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    So I went into media because I wanted to be a journalist, I used to freelance while in college but knew I could never make a job of it, so PR and marketing seems the best alternative. And yes you are correct about the media. Entry level jobs are unpaid, and then its pretty much 30,000 and under until you become a high level communications manager and jump to 100k. In betweens just don't exist. As well its not easily transferable. I was a client manager for civil service and political clients since that is where I specialised.

    To be honest on tech jobs, Ive never had any interest in science or technology or computers or really anything with numbers. My interests and skills have always been around literature, politics and writing. I'm looking at tech because thats the prevailing winds but like not everyone can be a software developer. What are the rest of us supposed to do?

    If it is the case that only tech jobs are going to pay expect to see a massive tension in society between insiders and outsiders, which is starting already.

  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Never mind the housing market! Who gives a crap?!

    Get that visa and really enjoy it, so as much travel as you can while there, and afterwards, do more travel to other places. There is way more to life then owning a house and being tied down for 30ish years by debt.

    See the world, broaden your horizons, enjoy life!

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    I think you might be right. I didn't grow up poor and had the attitude that people are poor due to not working. Now Im struggling and I guess I see its not an individual's fault when they work 40 hour weeks and struggle to pay the bills.

    But like most people in Ireland I grew up in a owner occupied home and didn't know people from council or rented housing. So it seems like I have taken a step backwards and f****d up by being in that position. A position I was always ironically told I would be in if I didn't get a good leaving cert and go to college

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ SuperBowserWorld

    People make out IT to be some magical mysterious beast.

    It's not.

    And by just teaching yourself programming you can figure out if you have a passion for it or not and if you can sustain yourself in the field, and can learn new things yourself.

    No dependencies, loads of time, 30 ...

    Go go go !

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,616 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    They have more than programming and IT. They have finance/business etc. And some of the IT stuff is aimed more towards Business Analysts or Project Managers etc. Those people are not programming (or often understanding what they are managing)

    Or just go and be a teacher. Surely they are on more than the OPs 30k a year and have short fixed hours every day and loads of holidays (that aren't holidays but are holidays depending on what a teacher is arguing at the time)

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    But why is the answer always "learn to code", what happened to normal office jobs paying decent salaries

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,616 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    You could always train up to be a cooper OP. Those fellas used to be well paid as well. Get yourself a job in Guinnesses and be set for life

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    So will the economy in the future basically be finance, solicitors, IT people and masses of people on low pay servicing them?

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,837 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko

    Keep an eye out for comms roles in public bodies. Most would be on though some bodies recruit directly themselves.

    You’ll find good opportunities for development and additional qualifications.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,616 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    I'm now on decent money in a world famous company. A new world don't give up.

    Fair play. I suppose there are niches for everything. That said, you are lucky in some ways because OnlyFans probably didn't even exist when you started

  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ johnboy92

    I turned down a comms job in the civil service. Starting salary is 26k, goes up to 40k after 10 years. Not enough to buy a house with and by then Id be 40 and it would be nearly too late.

    I got offered to go for the role because I used to do media analysis for all civil service accounts and was on first name terms with all the comms managers

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,616 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump

    It's up to you what you want to do. Money isn't the be all and end all. You have choices.

This discussion has been closed.