Future Funk

No, not the popular event at Digi, this is the fear we all feel about next year. Lifestyle Editor Fiona Callow explains why it’s okay not to have a clue

NUSU
9th May 2016

Does anyone else get filled with a sense of foreboding every time a nosy realtive or well-meaning family friend poses you the question ‘so what are you going to do with yourself after you graduate? What is it about those handful of words that can induce such helpless feelings of panic and inadaqency? 

"Who says that you have to get Generic Grad Job 101 as soon as you’ve finished, get a flat, a partner, married in 2.5 years, babies in 4, and a pet cat called Brian by the time you’re thirty?"

We all know that these people secretly thrive off the knowledge that you’ve got no set plans, further than actually managing to survive three years of uni with all your internal organs intact. The older generations seem to forget that they were in the same position as us, once upon a time, albeit when dinasours roamed the earth, and they communicated with smoke signals, etc, etc. They’ve been in their humdrum jobs so longer, following the tide, stuck in the banal routine of jobs and bills, that they forget the utter thrill of having your whole life ahead of you, and endless possibilties to pursue. Who says that you have to get Generic Grad Job 101 as soon as you’ve finished, get a flat, a partner, married in 2.5 years, babies in 4, and a pet cat called Brian by the time you’re thirty? If like me, the idea of that makes you want to run screaming to the nearest airport then that’s exactly what I suggest you do. There is nothing wrong with modest ambitions, or wanting these things- one man’s cage is another’s palace- but this shouldn’t be what is expected of us. We shouldn’t be content with our lot, instead using these years before ‘real life’ inevitably kicks in to do what we’ve always longed to do, or even what we never realised we wanted before.

"Just because you’re doing something you love, and are potentially abroad, doesn’t make it any less of an achievement that you’ve got the job, or indeed make it any less of a job at all"

We’re the generation of debt, of longer living which translates into longer until retirement, of struggling to get onto the property ladder, of fossil fuel shortages without green alternatives. The system is not kind to us, so why play its game? We’re a long time paying off mortagages and an even longer time dead, so let’s refuse to be a part of it and literally walk away. Leave the country on your meagre summer job wages and go travelling, odd-jobbing along the way. Work a shitty waitressing gig for six months and then up and leave to South America. Do that ski season you meant to do before you came to university. It doesn’t matter if you spend two years at home working nights at a supermarket to earn some money to do what you really want to do, if you get to do it. And who says you have to come back? Sure, there might be an understanding between you and your parents that you’ll ‘have your fun’-like travelling and working abroad is the slutty sibling of the oh-so prim and proper ‘Grad Job’- before coming back and sorting yourself out. But you’ve made no blood oath, signed no piece of paper that says that just because that’s generally considered the done thing, that this is the way you’ve got to go. Just because you’re doing something you love, and are potentially abroad, doesn’t make it any less of an achievement that you’ve got the job, or indeed make it any less of a job at all. This attitude is something that needs to be changed. Plenty of people spend years doing jobs in foreign countries, some even like it so much that they make new lives for themselves over there- and why shouldn’t we? We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us- but this shouldn’t be scary, this should be exciting. That’s a whole life to make mistakes, to change jobs, and to have adventures. Why not?

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