Twenty-two going on twenty-three. Just graduated from university with a good degree. Spent the summer traveling and working in various countries in Europe having a wonderful, if not a little bit stressful, time. Sounds like the dream to me, but to other people it’s time for me to get my head in the game, keep my eye on the ball and find that career path that I am ‘destined’ to have and start working my way towards trouser suits and heading up the scary ‘career ladder’. In my head I’m gaining invaluable experience, building up my CV and living my life to the absolute fullest – carpe diem? Other people now see me as a grown up and feel I should be looking for job security, working out a lifetime plan in terms of climbing the career ladder, sorting out that ever important pension scheme and settling down in one place. Is that so?
In my head I’m still young, in fact forget that completely, I AM still young! Everything I have done since leaving university, and everything I plan to do is part of some sort of vague career plan in my head. It’s all bout gaining experience isn’t it? That’s what all the job applications want nowadays, they want experience in order for you to have the opportunity to get work experience. That lovely viscous circle all graduates are becoming oh so well acquainted with, the ‘oh you want experience but how do I get experience unless you give me some work experience’ circle. OK, so I’m not one hundred percent sure where I want to be in twenty years time, but is that such a bad thing? I’m learning a lot about myself, about what I’m capable of doing and I’m still working – not yet have I felt the need, and I hope I never do, to just sit at home and go on the dole.
Others have differing views. I have many friends that have gone into the world of employment and have their perfect 9-5 office job and are really happy and content because that’s the path they know they want to go down. They go to work in the morning knowing that there is something new for them to learn, and something that is really going to help them progress in this specific career path. They’re the lucky ones. The ones that have their head in the game, and on some level I really envy them. I envy the security they do have in their jobs, and the routine, and the fact they are settled in one place and don’t have to up and move after two weeks when you have only just settled and made new friends.
On the other hand, I believe there are some graduates, myself included, that just aren’t ready for this path yet. The excitement of going somewhere new and meeting new people and setting yourself up for yet another challenge just is not getting old right now. The idea of settling in one place, after a few months, probably would. Trying lots of different avenues is not exactly the grown-up way of doing things, I can hear you say. Living out of your suitcase and being in a different country every fortnight is not very grown up either. But is there really any harm in it?
It’s not that the wanderers aren’t trying. We’ll apply for long-term jobs and office jobs and jobs that we actually really want, but what’s the use in applying for something if you have very little interest in it. Oh yes…because I’m twenty-two and now a grown-up, I forgot! I’m a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’, and I also believe that you should follow your heart, and if your heart is saying go work around the world and see new places and experience exciting new things, who am I to say no?
At twenty-two, nearly twenty-three I’ve got to thinking. When I was growing up I wanted to be Wendy, the young girl who was intelligent and focused, and at such a young age you could tell she would be successful. Now I’m thinking who wants to be Wendy when you can spend a bit of time being Peter Pan…