Well, leading on from me claiming to have another life offline, I have found myself a new job! Oddly enough the interview seemed to be going the worst out of all the interviews I have been to (although obviously I failed to get offered the previous jobs) and yet they offered me the job on the spot. I probably should have been more composed than I was, but they rather caught me by surprise! The salary was excellent though and the job certainly looks interesting, so I think I may well have landed on my feet. My girlfriend has also got herself a new job that sounds like it could offer her a lot of opportunities, especially the potential for travel, something she is keen to do more of. So, after a rather stagnant period since we both wrapped up our long-winded educations, it seems like it is finally onward and upward.
It is instructive to look back at how both my girlfriend and I arrived at this point in our careers. From my perspective I would advise any graduate to pick who they work for as carefully as possible, with a mind to where they want their career to go in the future. This is to avoid finding yourself drifting into a career path that fails to motivate or excite you. From my girlfriend's perspective, I think she would advise caution in pursuing post-graduate qualifications, they may not necessarily lead you where you initially thought they would. That is not to say that such qualifications will not give you an edge in the job market or allow you to aquire tremendous knowledge, they will. It is to say that such knowledge comes at a high price; it requires a strength of commitment unlikely to be reached by those who are either not interested enough in the subject or who are merely using the qualification as a means rather than an end in itself.
Perhaps I am idealistic, I still think there are intellectual, as well as financial, rewards in the pursuit of knowledge and work.