…about what comes next

I would like someone to tell me what I’m good at. I have no idea. I’m 26. I have just completed my degree. My thesis got me a 76. A high 1st. I finished with 2% off an overall 1st Class Honour. Now what? I live at home with my dad. I have very little money to my name, and no practical skill whatsoever. The truth is, I have no confidence in myself.

Sometimes I like philosophy. Camus can keep my attention for a day or two but it soon wears away and all that’s left is the understanding that my fickle nature is unlikely to provide any form of success. Sometimes I like history. Sometimes I like politics. Sometimes I like photography, but I’m no good at it. Sometimes I like art. I drove to Devon a few days ago. On the way home I pulled into a service station on the M5. A kid with floppy hair who looked about 18 years old, got out of his Bentley in his tailor made suit. He must have his own place, and a bright future. He has the ability to support a family. The options are limitless for that guy. At such a young age. When I was 18, I had made the conscious decision that I wanted to fill my mind with as much information as possible on subjects that fascinate me, because school made me believe I was incapable of that. The trouble with that venture was that I am fascinated by vastly different subjects at different times. As a result, eight years later, I can talk you through the life of Thomas Cromwell thanks to Robert Hutchinson’s fantastic biography. I know a Caravaggio painting without being told. I am more than happy to talk about how much of a failure right winged economics has always been. I can point out where the Ten Commandments originated. I can tell you about the French Revolution and November’s fascination with Robbespierre. I can recite Bukowski and Plath, and due to my thesis, I can confidently talk to you about the motives of Lincoln and the early Republicans in their opposition to slavery. How utterly useless. All of it. A waste of time. A rather curious form of self destruction. I am an expert in nothing. I have no long term career goal. I have never known. The World is made for people who have a clear goal, clear aspirations, and a passion. What about the shear mediocrity of the rest of us?

…. ‘it is as if the sun has become disgusted with waiting’.

I do not want to sit in an office filing administrative documents by alphabetical order. Every job I look at is advertised as “Admin work. Be part of a unique and dynamic sales team!!” They are all ‘unique’ and ‘dynamic’… none of them explain why they’re unique and dynamic, or how they are so unique from the other unique company and the unique company before that. Here is a description of one of job vacancies suggested to me:

You will be working within a busy office helping to collate our recruitment documentation. This will include tasks such as requesting references, making calls to candidates and clients, facilitating database records and editing CVs.

– Why would you waste your life with this? No one dreams of collating recruitment documentation. It becomes a means to an end. And that end is, to eat at the end of the day. Life suddenly becomes nothing more than a desperate chase for survival. It goes on…

you must bring an energetic and pro-active

– Energetic? You’re doing nothing but updating an Excel spreadsheet. You leave the World with nothing but a 1mb file. The World doesn’t need you. I no longer wish to feel like a waste of time.

There is nothing that makes me want to dedicate my life to such tedious and patently transparent bullshit. I would be fired pretty quickly. I have sat in an office for four years before going back to university. There is nothing more soul destroying. The outside exists, and your World smells entirely of printer ink and pricks in suits whose arse you must lick to gain any chance at a bit more money…. you know…. so you don’t die. What a putrid existence. Welcome to England and its complete lack of hope.

Conversely, I have had some incredible memories. Once you taste life outside of your four walls, outside the rancid air of an office, you become addicted and you chase more.
I can be too impulsive. I like this about myself. It is a remnant of childhood that I do not wish to lose. But it requires balance apparently. I suppose that is what they call maturity.

I want to find something I am good at. Can make a comfortable living out of. Can support a family with. Can have happy Christmas’s and holidays with. I am 26. I feel time is slowly running out and I am forever on edge, worrying about what comes next.

13 Responses to …about what comes next

  1. No one dreams of collating recruitment documentation. It becomes a means to an end. And that end is, to eat at the end of the day. … There is nothing that makes me want to dedicate my life to such tedious and patently transparent bullshit.

    So don’t (dedicate your life). Such jobs cannot realistically expect you to want to work beyond 37.5 hours a week. So take the job, take the pay, but don’t give more than 37.5 hours per week – and certainly don’t give too much personal energy to it (as you realise it does not need it so don’t give it).

    Then, plan what you want to do with the rest of the week.

    The cruel fact of life is that a degree does not prepare you for working life (not even an engineering accounting medical or legal degree). Hopefully a degree teaches you to think. You then need to find a way to earn a crust and then use your ability to think to squeeze as much experience out of your first few dead-end jobs (watch “managers” screw up, watch how “strategies” come unstiched, monitor the culture of the work place). If the job is genuinely dead end – move on after a while to get different experiences (different roles, different sectors, etc.) and show adaptability. But make sure you more “to something” rather than “away from something” when making the move, so that your CV has some coherence.

    The job market is stupid at the moment. “They” think (possibly correctly) that it is an employers’ market so they can demand all sorts of attributes. The job ads are probably assembled by a bored clerk cutting and pasting from previous adverts, and similarly bored clerks will go through all the applications chucking out all those that do not fit against a tick sheet (possibly doing stupid things like throwing out applicants with an MEng because they don’t know what it is just that they should look for the magic letters BA or BSc).

    Oh and one other thing. Unless you can con them into thinking that you are an extrovert – save your energy.

    And I fear that other labour markets outside this country are just as stupid and wasteful of genuine talent.

    New blog: Futile Business (suitably anonymous so you don’t get sacked)?

  2. tom says:

    well, at least i know you´re good at being bloody miserable.
    I often browse your blog, i haven´t posted anything for a long while because i´m lazy, but it´s clear you´ve got potencial old boy.

    I agree with everything you have said……up to a certain point. As for the 18 year old with the car and the haircut..fuck him…i´m sure if you knew him you would think of him as a cock anyway. They typically are those sorts. Means nothing, he probably won´t do anything that you esteem to be in life. Anyhow, i haven´t stirred to make you feel better, rather to suggest a proposal.

    Well, here´s my suggestion…and i only suggest it as i have done it myself and see it could help you. First thing or last thing i don´t know, but i think it helps to not pressure yourself with these nostalgias for how life should be, you know that isn´t the case. These stories of settling down, raising a family sound saccharine…26 and over the hill….please.

    back to the point, Have you thought about a teaching english as a foreign language? May sound light and unappealing but…

    if you have got time let´s speak by skype…thomascallis…is my account. just want to say a few benefits of the job and how it would suits omeone like you.

    1, i think you need to change your environment, simple as that, england is underwhelming and not likely to suit intelligent, cynical people like yourself.
    2, you can learn your own language in detail.
    3, teach your own language well….for income it´s fantastic (if you do it my way), and not too time consuming.
    4, most important for me, learn another language well…im sure you´dlike to learn one properly.
    5,learn how other politics, mentalities work…its surprising.
    6, get some sun
    7, get paid well, get private students and have a perpetual skype network of students…for many years.
    8, take photos
    9, plenty more.

    lets have a chat by skype and i´d like to let you know a few things.


    get involved

  3. I am Spartacus says:

    I was going to suggest something similar to
    Tom. Try teaching.

    You have the qualification and, it seems, the passion to share views, opinions and knowledge.

    The best teachers at school were the ones that loved the subject matter, could communicate and made lessons interesting.

    You would have a steady income, a range of little personalities to help ’round’, a good pension (until the government of the day screw it even further, perhaps) and time to enjoy life, rather than be ruled by the job.

    I’m not a teacher, just a parent that acknowledges the huge part under-appreciated, but good, teachers play in society & the future.

    You may only personally leave with a 1mb spreadsheet, but you will have helped increase the RAM of countless minds for the future…

  4. AW says:

    You are an intellectually gifted young man with many interests.
    You are very sensitive and caring and most people do not understand your giftedness. I worked with gifted people like you.

    You would probably be good in communication, i.e. radio, TV.
    Might want to try to apply for public TV, where intellectuals listen and would be very interested in your vast knowledge in history, the arts, etc.
    Don’t give up on yourself. God gave you a gifted mind to help others. Don’t think about yourself too much, you will become depressed.

    Think how you can enlightened the lives of others with your knowledge. Think about joining a Christian Church with young people as yourself. You need to make friends.

    Put ads in community papers, advertising yourself as a motivational speaker and by all means let others know you exist and you have some wonderful to share to those individuals who are gifted as you are.
    God, our heavenly Father, loves you unconditionally. He really does! Open up your heart and receives God’s unrelentless Love for you, His Beloved. Jesus is your elder brother. Isn’t that good news.

    Agape, (the God-Kind of Love)

  5. Thank you for your kind words.

    Though, I am incredibly Atheist. I’m not sure the Church would appreciate how I feel about them.

  6. chimbita says:

    hahahaha….sorry….you knew there would be a catch.
    I was chatting to brommell the other day and i came over all nostalgic. If you can give me your skype name and let´s have a chat….i miss your hands on my back……i hope that doesn´t make you feel strange….because it´s not strange……get in contact.

  7. chimbita says:

    i think you have my email, send it to that, go on.

  8. Oh you say the most wonderful things xxxx ❤ xxxx

    skype name: Presidentjamie

  9. xena says:

    Do you have the stomach to be a war correspondent? One could compare your analytical and narrative talents to Peter Maas:


    I had to learn a new word to describe the multilayered Wake-Up Kick I took when I read Maas’ account of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The word is palimpsest.

    You have the same knack for peeling back the historical layers of an issue, and searing it into the memories of your audience, without alienating those of us who hate pretentious academic wankers.

    Whatever you choose to do, don’t waste that gift. And congratulations on the initials after your name. You’ve definitely earned them 🙂

  10. xena says:

    Oops. That was only supposed to be a little link. Is there any way you can resize that ginormous book cover for me? There’s something obnoxiously corporate about that 😕

  11. steve g says:

    Best article I’ve read in years, admittedly partially because I saw so much of myself in you. Have you read any dharma? There are a few hurdles at first but you take what you want from it and draw your own conclusions.

    good luck on your path brother x.

  12. koenigal86 says:

    Reblogged this on koenigal86 and commented:
    Feel a bit like this sometimes.

  13. koenigal86 says:

    Feel a bit like this sometimes.

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