Congratulations! You’ve graduated. It was awfully nice of the University to give you a day of celebration, wasn’t it? Everybody looked very jolly in their capes and hats. You’ve worked hard over the past few years. You deserve it.
Now, get to the bottom of the pile. Nobody cares that you excelled at your studies, or were a member of the Varsity Blues, or wrote a genre-defining final thesis. You are just one of millions. To help you in your quest for menial work that doesn’t pay the bills, I’ve composed a helpful glossary of terms that you’ll often hear along the way. Good luck. You’re going to need a truckload of it.
Academia : The only word in the English language more offensive than “Graduate” (q.v.). Viz, “that’s academic” : that’s irrelevant.
Accounting : Making numbers balance. Since numbers are the devil’s baubles, accounting is more or less the modern equivalent of necromancy.
Administration : Paper A goes in slot B. Repeat until retirement.
Assessment Day : A violation of the Geneva Convention masquerading as a “fun activity”, designed to weed out the interesting, the quirky and the individuals and to lower the expectations of the remainder.
Banking : The croupier’s shuffle at the satanic Poker game of life.
Civil Service : An oxymoron concealing 650,000 morons.
Communications : Getting people out of the bath and then hanging up before they get to the phone.
Customer Service : Apologising for the faceless indifference of a monolithic corporate machine to a red-faced, hissing prole with an ax to grind.
Culture : No such field exists.
Design : “Yes, it’s very good, but can you change the font to Comic Sans? Or Helvetica. I like Helvetica.”
Education : Providing children the benefit of the life experience you don’t have.
Experience : you don’t have it and if you do have it you don’t have enough of it. In spite of the fact that most modern jobs can be learned in an hour, employers place emphasis on experience over qualifications. Most employers have neither.
Freelance : Semi-unemployed. Almost certainly unemployable.
Government : an institution designed to take credit for things it hasn’t done yet and place blame for current events on the previous administration. Motto: “things will only get better”. They never do.
Graduate : The lowest of the low. The British have always looked down on intellectuals but, in times of prosperity, were forced to keep that to themselves. Now that things have gone down the pan, employers have their pick of graduates and can therefore be as plebeian as they like. “Graduate” is more or less an offensive term these days, for example: “ugh! I’ve stepped in a graduate and it’s all over my shoe”, or “your mother sucks graduates in hell”.
Hospitality : ceaseless forelock-tugging to people who deserve a swift punch in the neck.
Human Resources : a dead zone littered with graduates, ceaselessly preventing all decisions or actions. Civilization survived for aeons without HR. Since its advent things have largely ground to a halt.
Insurance : Betting clients that their property will explode into flames or fall into a sinkhole before their policy comes up for renewal. The only form of gambling recognized as an industry.
Interview : It is illegal in this country to make homeless people dance for pennies – it’s too degrading. We have graduates do it instead.
IT : Googling the problem or waiting for it to go away on its own. Requires a degree.
Logistics : Figuring out where to bury the half-eaten bodies left behind by Management (q.v.).
Management : The buffer between you and the CEO. Composed of members of the Masons, the Illuminati, Lizard People from Rigel IV and the CIA.
Manufacturing : Watching robots do things you can’t and contemplating their inevitable uprising.
Marketing : What Satan tried with Jesus when they were in the Judaean desert.
Recruitment : Helping graduates to find jobs, mainly in recruitment. The fastest-growing industry.
Sales : Coercing, blackmailing or threatening people who don’t have money to buy stuff they don’t need that doesn’t work anyway. A proud vocation.
Social Services : Explaining to battered women that, owing to a quirk in the legislation, they aren’t entitled to help from the state. A prouder vocation.
Telephone Interview : A manager on his yacht will phone you in the toilet and try and make you cry.
Voluntary : Working for free until someone chooses to hire you and make you work for slightly less.
Zero-Hours Contract : While you wait for us to call, we’ll be interviewing your replacement.