“So what are you doing with yourself now?” The most dreaded question in the whole entire world and yet somehow most common. Since graduating in 2013, I’ve gone from working on Reception to becoming a Personal Assistant, Helpdesk Administrator and then back to being a Receptionist again. My reason for climbing my way back down the career ladder is this:- If I’m going to work in an environment which leaves me uninspired and swept off my feet, I won’t do it for an industry I care very little.
The “what am I doing with my life?!” moments have been frequent, but I have a vision. Doing a menial job means I concentrate on what I want to actually do, writing, whilst getting paid pretty darn well. Please see smug face below:-
I was never studious during school, in all honesty I spent most time skipping class, smoking in fields and generally dreaming about boys. Any time I had coursework I would make the font really huge so I wouldn’t have to put effort in and I NEVER read over my work – the first draft was always the final. I’m not saying I’m proud of being a disengaged rebel but honestly, not everyone has pushy parents. As for my teachers, well, they were only interested in the pupils who “shone”, so of course I was going to opt for things which stimulated my mind at the time. Unfortunately, none of those things related to school work and I watched my grades deteriorate.
With this said, I managed to find myself in the “G & T” (Gifted and Talented aka Pretentious Snob) set for English. I hated this because I never felt courageous enough to put my views out there. I couldn’t relate to my ambitious peers and always felt that my teacher disliked me. In hindsight, she was a condescending bitch but I appreciated her quick wit and enthusiasm for the English language.
University was a similar experience, I missed nearly all of my lectures and slept through the ones I attended. I was predicted a 2:2 for my final results and I couldn’t give a flying fuck. It was only when my older brother – 6 months into my final year – said I shouldn’t receive anything below a 2:1, that I decided to put some effort in. My mum sat up with me for hours, making cups of coffee and researching what materials would work best for each assignment. I managed to get that 2:1.
Some of the most talented and interesting people I have ever met are all gritting their teeth through life working as sales assistants, baristas and cleaners. Some of them don’t even work full time, doing labor work when and if they’re needed. There is a constant pressure in London to financially strive and thrive, go through your Facebook friends list and compare yourself to all the go-getters who’ve established themselves by the age of 25 – if it doesn’t make you feel sick you’re clearly one of them.
Our society tells us that money and status is everything. At my last work place, we opened gates only for those on the highest wage, treating everyone according to hierarchical structures. I resented the way people would talk to me, spelling out surnames like “S-M-I-T-H” and then shoving their business cards in my face, as if a receptionist couldn’t possibly know how to spell.
I was born into financial stability – money was never an issue; our house was big, we traveled often and ate good food. This meant nothing. Our private issues would have been the same regardless of the size of our house and our respect for each other (and others), guaranteed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the things I’ve been privileged to have, but I’ve learnt that money comes and goes – respect costs nothing.
On the days where I’ve felt down based on a work title, my biggest issue has been caring what others think of me. But, it’s not easy knowing where to start on the road to success and furthermore, not every bright person is sure of what they want to do.
During the early hours of Saturday morning I sat talking with a friend who said he’d blown his chance at becoming a top athlete. Little did he know I’d been entranced by his talent all weekend. Every time he picked up a guitar I was amazed by how beautifully he played; the only pity I felt was for the people who couldn’t hear him. Truth is, we don’t need to be paid or acknowledged for our capabilities. If we wanted to be really selfish, we could keep them to ourselves so that nobody in the world would ever be granted the pleasure of them.
Don’t let the world’s hype fool you. So what you made a couple”bad” decisions? You were experiencing life for yourself, at your own pace, on your own journey. When you’re ready to do more, you will. And if you choose not to? That’s fine too. People don’t have to see you for you to know that you are there – take pride in being the underdog and one day you might surprise someone: that someone, being you.