Desperate times, desperate measures

According to the media we have no jobs and no future to look forward to. Mark Winter, a graphic designer, found himself in this position when he was made redundant. However, instead of sending CVs to anyone and everyone or popping down to the local Job Centre, Mark turned to Facebook.

As the group “The Employment of Mark J Winter” says: “Facebook has done some wonderful things for people: It’s helped beat X Factor to Christmas number one. It’s caught criminals. It’s even helping to solve world hunger (Thought I’d made that last one up. Googled it. Fact),” so why can’t it help with unemployment as well?

Mark didn’t think in all honesty Facebook would help, calling the idea “a bit of a dream”, especially as the idea hit him during the night: “I can’t really explain how I came up with the Facebook campaign. I have a lot of sparks of creativity that usually hit when I’m lying in bed, singing to myself or in the shower. This particular idea was a 1am ‘Why not?’ bed idea.”

On top of using Facebook and Twitter, Mark added an incentive to the campaign: “I realised that the average person probably wouldn’t do any favours for strangers unless they can get something in return.

“The 10% of a month’s wages seemed the best idea as it kept a nice link between me and the potential winner. The better the pay offered the greater the 10%. It’s kind of ‘the more you help, the more you benefit’.”

Mark said that “the story of my unemployment is fairly long” and involves working as a junior graphic designer for a property consultant in Mayfair for 13 months, until he was made redundant due to the recession: “It was a shame as I felt I’d come a long way and had much more to offer, but it just wasn’t to be.”

To tide him over Mark worked on and off in a secondary school for two years, until January 2010 when he started a course in Shillington College: “This was ideal for me as it offered an intense three months of learning that gave you a portfolio at the end.”

Once the course was completed he returned to help out at the secondary school but then the summer holidays came around, meaning the job hunt had to begin again.

So it must come as relief that the idea was not as crazy and ambitious as it seems, as within a short amount of time there has been positive feedback: “So far I’ve got some fantastic responses from people. In less than a week on Facebook I had 50 people following me. In a matter of days on Twitter I’d far surpassed that.

“I’ve had designers from all over the world, [places such as] USA, France and Brazil, congratulating me on the idea and wishing me luck. I’ve also had some great leads to jobs as well. In one day I was linked to nearly a dozen jobs whereas it could take me days to find that many ideal jobs.”

One of the hard things though was what to expect from his nearest and dearest, especially his Mum: “At first I was reluctant to tell my Mum about the campaign, I’m not too sure why. I suppose I thought she’d think it was time wasted that could be spent looking for jobs.

“To be honest, everyone has been great. Although I did have a couple of jokes likening me to a call girl you’d find in a telephone box. I see the funny side of it all though.”

UPDATED: Mark found a job

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