Happy January everybody! If you’ve made it past January 17th (the most common day to give up on New Year’s resolutions) and are still managing to keep to your goal of doing 1,000,000 sit-ups every day, boycotting chocolate in favour of no-fat, no-sugar, no-taste alternatives, and submitting all of your assignments on time instead of doing them the morning of the day they’re due, then well done!

On a (slightly) more serious note, the third most popular resolution of 2014 was, according to statistics “spend less, save more”. It’s one that resonates with a lot of students across the globe, particularly those who are still struggling to find employment. It’s a good resolution, and while I’m not suggesting that everyone turns into Ebenezer Scrooge (remember him?), instead, I’m going to remind you of another of Dickens’ best-loved characters: Mr Micawber.

For those of you who haven’t read David Copperfield (or seen the excellent miniseries starring pre-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe in the title role), Mr Wilkins Micawber meets David Copperfield when David’s evil stepfather sends him to work, at ten years old, at a factory in London. Mr Micawber is David’s landlord, and perhaps the only bright spot in the young boy’s overworked life. Unfortunately, Micawber is both unemployed, and very heavily in debt – sources indicate that his character was based upon Dickens’ own father, who, like Micawber, ended up in a debtor’s prison. This was a (very logical) Victorian concept, where men who were in debt were arrested until their debts were paid. Quite how the Victorian powers-that-were expected the inmates to pay their debts when they were locked up in a prison cell and couldn’t work is beyond me, but there you go. Maybe that’s why the idea went out with six-foot hoop skirts and corsets.

Despite his cheerful optimism that “something will turn up”, Micawber’s work hours are irregular, if not non-existent, and he continually overspends what little he has on extravagances. As he tells young David Copperfield in what is possibly one of the most remembered quotes of the entire book:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.”

If Mr Micawber had lived in this day and age, he probably would have been a bit better off. If you find yourself in his position, WINZ and Studylink offer a Transition to Work Grant for jobseekers, which helps support students financially until they manage to secure employment. You can also have a chat to the Financial Support and Advice team, who offer face-to-face advice about how best to manage your money. And don’t forget to keep checking CareerHub for jobs, both part-time and full time. Even if you’re not looking for your next big career move, you can always come in and have a chat with our Careers and Employment team about your job search strategy, or attend one of our workshops to get tips on networking, applying for jobs and how to ace that interview. Remember: Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result: Misery!

So there you go.

PS: Don’t worry too much about our friend Wilkins Micawber. Something eventually does turn up for him. His networking skills, befriending David Copperfield, pay off, and he lands a position with the disreputable Uriah Heep. Later, after surviving Heep’s machinations with his morals intact, Micawber, and his long-suffering wife, goes on to become the governor of a small town in Australia. So don’t lose hope that ‘something will turn up’, as long as you keep looking.

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Advice, Interest, Motivation

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