What people really think of your grad job
A prediction of who you are going to become
If you thought the relentless stereotyping ended at uni, think again. Graduate life is an extension of university of many ways: the insatiable weekday drinking (only now you should feel guilty about it) the undercurrent of workplace sexism and even more really bad, communal living. Except now, you’ll spend your day filling in spreadsheets instead of learning, and the rest of it wondering what your contribution to the world is. Unfortunately, your job becomes who you are. So when you’re at party and somebody asks you the dreaded “what do you do for a living?”, this is most likely what they are thinking:
Yay uni’s finished, no more exams. Oh wait, just three more years of that bullshit. Unlucky!
No one wants to go to the pub with Henry anymore. His insufferable political opinions were stomachable at school – being deliberately precocious had a rough charm to it in the rugby changing room where lad points were handed out to whoever was the biggest prick. But now we just want a quiet pint, and to moan about our bosses, and our girlfriends, and our landlords, and our government.
Oh shit, not the government. Because you can no longer stand toe to toe with your old friend on the centre right. Your political repertoires used to extend mutually to the limits of AS Politics and The Spectator, alas no longer. He knows more than you, so much more. So when you tell him you think Donald Trump could run a successful Presidential campaign, expect to spend 45 minutes discussing the value, likelihood and consequences of liquidating Trump Tower.
Tooth doctor jibes never get old. You’re the nuisance of the medicine world, the one no one really wants to go and see. With a doctor, it’s necessity. With you, the ol’ tooth doctor, you’re there just to put me through pain. Go drill someone else’s face.
You have no shame. You really don’t care what people think of you, and you don’t care if they get fucked over. You’re probably a business student who didn’t quite get the grades for banking or accounting, and spent too much time going out – something you claim gave you better personal skills than the rest of them. You’re a schmoozer, played rugby, do your tie up with a knot as wide as your head. You’re only in this for the Audi A3.
You are so fun, aren’t you.
Events are the necessary grease that oils the corporate world – even Mr Corporate wants to socialise once in awhile. You may have dreamed of planning someone’s dream wedding, of fulfilling the ultimate expectations of the corporeal world’s wildest fantasies. But let’s face it. You’re going to spend the rest of your life planning conferences in convention centres for corporation clusters. The conferences will be grey. The convention centres will be grey. The corporations will be grey. This greyness will seep into you, as you slowly fade in the background. Facilitating, anonymous, and you were once supposed to be fun. Unless you’re one of the lucky few that actually organise parties.
Oh fuck me are you boring. Are those clear rimmed glasses you’re wearing? I bet you wear a vest.
No way did you get this off your own back. Surely you can’t just walk into a £40,000 a year job straight out of uni with no help from your dad. Here’s the thing about banking – it’s really competitive to get into, and you get paid really well. The two things go hand in hand, right? It’s paid well, because it’s hard. Q.E.D. But none of that’s true. You’re going to sit in front of a computer, and some whizz-kid is going to write an algorithm that surpasses even your own petty genius. Your old friends are going to be sick of your company, arrogantly flush with new money as you are. But the worst is yet to come. You are replaceable, you are tedious, and you are morally bankrupt.
Because beyond it all, through the years, the tears, the slow shifting of your worldly priorities, you’re going to slowly realise it. You generate digits on a computer, for some financier to show to some board-member, and there goes your dream of helping the poor, or raising a family, or whatever the fuck you wanted to do with your life. You are part of a matrix that has no compassion, that only exists to make a profit, to be efficient. Let’s just hope you enjoy your next paycheck, as the Fourth Circle of Hell awaits you.
Faking it until you’re making it. Willing to sell your soul and all your free time producing content you don’t agree with. It’s not about changing the world anymore, it’s not about getting the big scoop or even getting the reputation as the big hack in Whitehall. Shares, shares, shares. That’s what the reader wants, that’s what pays your wages, that’s what the advertisers want. In amongst it all, you’ll write everything you never thought you’d touch. It’s a changing game, and you’re scared.
Willing to engage in hand to hand combat with Jeremy Hunt. Everyone else is in silent awe at the work you do. That, or they really don’t get what your problem is. When you’re not striking, you’re modelling your life on Scrubs or singing TLC.
Your life is officially over. Unless you’re working for some fab, do-goody human rights firm, or representing individuals as they trial through life looking for representation in their divorces cos they fucked the wrong person, you’re also fucked.
Here’s why – most of the law world is subject to the corporate world. You’ll be sorting out mergers, takeovers, negligence suits etc etc. The joy you once took from solving problems, from Sudoku puzzles to crosswords, or debates at school about trivial points of fact – that joy – will be burnt out of you. Money will be thrown at you to appease the gnawing sense of loss, the loss of time, the loss of direction, the loss of your own life. It’ll probably work too, as you glad-hand your colleagues, congratulating yourself over your negligence case, where you only gave the disabled boy’s family £100,000 and didn’t admit wrongdoing. Keep on doing God’s work, Heaven awaits.
You call it marketing, everyone else calls it advertising. You think you’re a creative, you like to imagine yourself in a glass boardroom, with a pile of croissants and expensive food in the middle, working hard to create a mood board for the next groundbreaking viral advert. There’s no mood boards, there’s only pointless banal campaigns for washing machines and things people don’t know they want or need, and probably never will. After five years as an account manager, you’ll be sick of bending over backwards for the man.
A lifetime travelling the world and performing in front of thousands. Cats in the West End, Black Swan in Tokyo, your name in lights on Broadway. Face it, you didn’t go to the Royal Academy – it’s going to be a struggle. At least a year auditioning, then working a bar job, and living at home, and not having the cash to move out. But your big break will come, eventually, you hope, you pray.
Well, you were always the one to organise the house party. Nobody ever asks you about your job but that’s only because they can’t think of anything interesting to ask about taking minutes and arranging teleconferences. When we picture what you’re doing every day, it involves lots of time spent sat at a desk by yourself, smiling at anyone who walks by. The next few years of your life will be dedicated to being some obnoxious boss’ little bitch. You’re basically Ugly Betty, but at some company no one’s ever heard of, with less fit people.
Jordan (or J-dawg as he’s known by the lads) had a dream of coaching a well-known football team one day. The lads ‘Al’, ‘Jase’ and ‘Ryzo’ also had the same dream. They graduated with a below average sports degree from a below average University and they now all work as instructors at various chain gyms. That, or you quit your £40,000 -a-year banking job after you found yourself following a two week jaunt in Goa. You instruct yoga now, and want everyone to know about it.
You wanted to be a journalist, but instead you spend your time ringing journalists begging them to write about your new durable t-shirts for free. I don’t actually know what PR stands for – a soulless experience, bereft of meaning, strangled by two letters that mean fuck all. All I know is that you’re selling something, or representing something, and that’s all I need to know. Your world is corporate, you speak in buzzwords, and you’re probably going to die miserable, with a Facebook wall full of pretty people that you once shared a beer with. Shame that you weren’t invited to any of their weddings.
This isn’t what you wanted, but a 2:2 can’t get you much else. Nobody really understands what you do but they all agree that you’re the last person in the world who should be in charge of hiring other people. Recruitment is for sad souls. Other corporate jobs may suck the life out of you, drawing you into the morass. But to go into recruitment, takes something else. A recognition of your own ready failure. Little achieved, little of note, recruitment is your last grasp at power, your last grasp at meaning. Shame then, that your last gasp is at 22 with a 2:2. Hopefully you’ve got a god to comfort you, because you can be as sure as shit your next hire won’t help you.
You used to be cool before you started spending too much on your hair and talking about numbers all the time. Living off commission is no career for a sane person. Why the hell would you even bother getting a degree to work in sales? A BTEC in business studies is more than enough, this a job where to get to pretend to be clever, although you’re basically just manipulating people to buy shit. If you work in sales you’ve probably cheated at one point in your life. You like to lie and deceive, it’s in your nature. But you have fun, you drink all the time, Thursdays are the new Friday and Wednesdays are quickly becoming the new Thursday. No one’s holding you back.
You live for a blue tick. But trying to explain your job to your grandparents, aunts, friends, anyone really, is a fucking nightmare. You spend hours trying to tell them the importance of social media to understanding human development, to gaining an insight into people’s attitudes. “Nan, look, they’re paying us so much money just to know how people think.” But to them, it’s all on a screen and it’s not serious work. Your existential crisis runs long into the night.
You didn’t know you hated children six months ago. You graduated and had literally no idea what else to do and thought, “it can’t be that bad.” The long holidays do not make up for the daily torment of dodging flying bogeys and avoiding creepy Steve in the staff room. Teachers are the weirdest people on the planet. You plan on spending years of your life, staring down at snot-and-vomit factories, mopping their tears, placating their pushy parents, living for that one moment where revelation dawns on a child’s face.
You’re pretty much one of the few cool people on this list – despite probably being one of the uncool people previously. Your belief in shaping the future is wondrous, as you create, you invent. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s probably earning you some decent money too. It’s just a shame that your last app flopped, and this one probably will too.
And if you work in IT rather than Tech, and you’re reading this to garner some meaning or happiness, or whatever the fuck you’re looking for, go back to fixing Accounts’ bug problems and gambling on League of Legends matches. There is no hope for you. Enjoy the easy life.
You’re either saving up to go travelling, or you weren’t ready to leave your uni town. Despite you clearly being way over-qualified (and everyone knows it), you still try to pawn off your current job status as “just getting a job for now, til I get my big break”.
Everyone knows you’re full of shit, and that you didn’t walk into the ‘job of your dreams’ as you told everyone you would. You’ll get stuck in this minimum wage routine and never leave home again. You hate yourself, and your family are gutted you returned after Uni. They were looking forward to turning your bedroom to a home gym.