Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why are there NEVER any 'GOOD' jobs?!?!

About once a week I get this email from Princeton Review exclaiming 'Interested in [Insert Profession Name]... why not try [Insert Course Name]' and each week, I delete it. Ever since I left school, I've been searching for the 'right' job. Why is this so elusive?

By the 'right' job I don't mean a fantastic CEO like position at a Fortune 500 company. As a part time worker during my university years, I doubt I could have been too excellent at such a position. By 'right' I mean, something I enjoy. Something that doesn't make me want to run for the hills at the thought of going to work and something that inspires me to do better. I've worked numerous part time jobs in London - at WH Smith at 5 am as a sales assistant, fund raising on random Wimbeldon streets at 9pm in November, kitchen staff (this didn't last too long - i literally ran out on my first day after seeing the red hands of the dish washing guy) and teaching.

In my final year of university, I went through the applications process for the graduate training programs at financial institutions in London - an agonisingly lengthy process which in hindsight is a severe misuse of time. After going through this arduous process, finally recieved an offer from a large financial services firm. The last 6 months of university and the summer holidays afterwards, were spent in a wave of hope and pride for the future. It was my goal to perform excellently at my job and work the necessary hours and put in the greatest analytical skills to the job at hand. Once started however, it turned out that the salary did not (AT ALL) compensate for the work involved. My great analytical skills were rusting away whilst i ticked and checked away at spreadsheets that even a monkey could complete.

Disillusionment struck. I threw down the towel and huffed away asking myself 'Is this what I want from my life?!'. A lengthy respite later, I was yet again lured into the world of graduate training programs, this time at an investment bank and thus I put on my hopeful hat yet again and marched off into the world of Canary Wharf. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself amongst people whose personalities do not resemble those of undertakers and was carried with the tide. Did I mention that the tide wasn't made of water but of alcohol? Weeks and Months tumbled by and I was enjoying myself too much to realise that the actual job description was not very enticing. Plodding away at a computer screen or rather two computer screens was not helping anyone other than the CEOs and MDs at that bank.

The final nail in the coffin was a transfer to a certain country where the local employees were hideously racist. To me, it was return to the world of the undertakers. So now, I have thrown off this hat once and for all. All these experiences have made it very clear to me that I will not be happy in a role that does not entail helping others less fortunate than myself. Also, I will not be happy in a role that means paper pushing and sitting behind a desk. Maybe its my spiritual side but I feel I'm wasting a lot of time by doing this. Also, to negate my selfless heroic impression that you may have gotten from my previous sentence, I also hate to be told what to do.

Like any normal human being who has the ability to ask 'why', I start thinking further and asked 'why do we even need jobs?'. After university, and for some straight after school, we are thrown into the obligation and the cultural (this is a global culture) necessity of getting a job. At school we barely know our lefts from rights - Im still not entirely sure on that one - and we are meant to decide upon and lay the foundations towards our future careers. Needless to say 80% of these students, after coming out the other side from their chosen university degrees have no clue what to do with this piece of paper they have obtained. Really, what DO you do with your BSc in Zoology? Or that elusive degree BA in International Relations? How many people actually do enter the UN to carry out any internationally related work?

OF COURSE we must work. For the best part of our lives we must spend 25 days (24 if you're in Sri Lanka and its a Poya on a weekday month) a month at work and earn money. We do this because someone (very intelligent Im sure) decided it is important for us to earn money. That money is truly necessary. This rant will be a whole new post altogether. I digress.Our sometimes unfavorable educational and employment choices is mostly due to this assumption that 17 year olds are fully capable of making an educated decision on what they want to do with the rest of their lives. For some that may mean the next 43 years. When you are at home, mollycoddled for the best part, how will you know whats out there? How will you know what your personality is like till you leave the nest that is home and travel outside your comfort zone?

Where am I at now? Well I have decided to take up a very noble profession. I will probably be quite old by the time I graduate and am able to practice however I feel I would be able to work hard but use my brains at the same time. I think its important to do what you ENJOY. Not to take shit from mindless idiots but to find what you are good at and attempt to reach that place so you can really make a difference to at least a few people during your lifetime. And its important that you dont let the mindless idiots to take on the important jobs else we will have a situation like the current Presidency of Sri Lanka. Pity, I'm scared of public speaking else I would have given a try for that role :)

1 comment:

Foxhound said...

What you say is very true. I often wonder where working is going to lead?