Is it ok to leave Cambridge without a job?
When you forget that you’ll need some way to start paying back these student loans
As a fresher it seemed like my time in Cambridge would never end. More concerned with making it through my next supervision than life beyond the bride, it never once dawned upon me that my time in Cambridge is transient.
However, it seems that second year has brought with it, along with college children, an impeding sense of doom about life after university. Suddenly all my friends are busy with internship applications, careers fairs and the worst of them all – networking brunches.
Now of course there is nothing wrong with planning for the future and at this point I should probably disclose that I too am a hopeful member of the #BankingBrigade, but I am slightly worried that many of us are so preoccupied with what we are going to do once we leave university that we are forgetting to relish the joys of Cambridge.
Posts on group chats about hanging out and doing other things are met with responses such as “sorry I’m just working on my 8th cover letter’ and “can’t make Cindies tonight it’s the Morgan Stanley networking event”. Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed has become a stress inducing experience as I am informed that yet another of my friends has clicked ‘going’ to ‘Pizza and Prosecco with J.P Morgan”.
In all the commotion, it’s easy to forget that finishing your degree without a job or even a plan is perfectly normal and many incredibly successful individuals have done so in the past. Sure, securing an internship at a top firm with a healthy pay check is a fantastic achievement, but we need to remember that career progression these days is so often not linear. Most of us are likely to change career at some point in our lives anyway so leaving without a job offer or in fact any idea what you want to do with your life isn’t a complete disaster. In reality, less than 10% of students graduate with any sort of job offer or internship and therefore doing so should not be viewed as a failure.
What’s more is that the Cambridge ‘obsession’ with working in the city has the potential to make those who wish to pursue a different direction feel as though their career choice is invalid. The banking life doesn’t suit everyone, in fact I’m not even sure it’s going to suit me, and it’s important to remember that all career choices are equal. In the same respect, pursuing a career in finance doesn’t make one amoral. As a theologian, I have often been questioned about how I can bring myself to ‘sell my soul’ to the world of banking which in itself is problematic. I’m not sure the same questions are asked of economists or nat scis following the same path and therefore they shouldn’t be asked of me. In any case, my theological knowledge leads me to believe that it is the actions and conduct of an individual which governs their morality – not their career choices.
Having recently narrowed my career progression down to a stint in banking, a period in the clergy and eventually becoming the president of Nigeria, it’s clear that when it comes to careers, life is never simple. So perhaps its time to start compulsively planning every second of our futures and adopt a more organic approach to the jobs market.
After all if i’ve managed to wing supervision essays every week for a year, my career should be a piece of cake!