There’s No Point Stressing About Graduation
LVJ on why internships are pointless and we should all just relax.
I’m a finalist. I’m leaving safe, comfortable Cambridge in six months. I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do next year. But, it’s okay. Various women’s magazines have assured me that it’s not all doom and gloom just yet. And if we can trust anyone in life, it’s women’s magazine writers.
Last week, I read an article that was aimed at all those internship-smug people in about ten years times. It explained that there is more to life than work, and it’s never too late to shake things up, change career, and do a job you actually enjoy. A different magazine published an article that urged women to take a chance and go travelling. It assured the reader that employers are impressed by the skills earned through spending time abroad. Excellent. I always knew that wasting summers in hot countries would make me more employable than doing actual work.
The point is: every person in your year does not want to be a businessman. Every person in your year who ends up as a businessman does not necessarily want to be a businessman. In many ways, being a businessman is the safe option. In reality, lots of people are scared when they leave university, and so they jump into the first job that comes along, because being unemployed is terrifying.
The top law firms in London have pods where employees can sleep for a few hours, if there isn’t time for them to go home before they need to be back in the office the next day. If you love your work, that kind of dedication isn’t a sacrifice. If you choose your job because you’re scared of being unemployed, it’s a nightmare.
You could be sleeping in one of these…
When you graduate, you’ll be in your early 20s. You won’t have real responsibilities, and you won’t be tied down to anyone. You will have the freedom to choose how to spend the rest of your life. And that’s not scary; it’s exciting.
I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon looking through The Times: Top 100 Graduate Recruiters and picking random grad schemes I could apply for in order to feel vaguely organised about next year. My conclusion: there is no point in randomly applying to grad schemes that don’t really interest me. Uncertainty is terrifying, but it’s also very liberating. Yes, the job market is tough. Yes, getting onto the property ladder is difficult. But, worrying about these issues isn’t going to change anything. Jumping into the first job that looks acceptable might make you feel ‘on top of things’, but it certainly won’t make you happy.
When it comes to relationships, we’re always told to hold out for the right person. People don’t jump into marriage because they want to feel ‘on top of things’. And the people that do jump into marriage in this way end up unhappy. Or divorced. We all know that holding out for the right man or woman makes life a lot more enjoyable, and the same can be said of jobs. I’m guessing life would be a whole lot easier if you hold out for the right one in the first instance.
I’m not saying we should ignore the fact that we’re graduating. I’m just saying that taking the time to think about jobs properly would be wise. Sometimes, life can be shit and things can be difficult. But, this doesn’t mean you should give up your aspirations and take the first office job you can find.
Take advantage of having some freedom. Take some time to decide how you want to spend your working life. Hold out, and aim for the job you want to be doing, even if it is precarious. Don’t settle, and don’t forget to breathe.