The philosopher Confucius famously said, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is inarguably an inspiration for the working population, yet did you know that over 70% of people are unhappy in their jobs (Gallup, 2013.) If, like me, you are fresh off the graduate conveyer belt you may be feeling the pressure of ensuring you land in with the happy 30%, so it is difficult to know where to start and in which direction to head off in.
As a graduating student, the expectation is likely to be heading out of uni life straight into a “proper” grown-up job, with a comfy wage and a savings account ready for the beginnings of a mortgage. Even more terrifyingly, it is more likely to be the expectation of your parents. For me, the reality was a lot harder to swallow and if anybody else is finding themselves disheartened and moving back in with mum and dad, then I can promise you are not alone. 2013 figures show that more than a third of graduates in the UK are in, what is classed as ‘non-professional’ jobs that do not even require a degree at all (Mail Online.) Kinda makes you question the purpose of those three years you’ve just spent pulling all-nighters and camping in the library. But before the freak out commences, I urge you to take a bit of breathing space and think about how for the first time in seventeen years of education you are now free to choose your own path. It’s beyond daunting, yet incredibly exciting.
That may all sound a bit poetic but this realisation may make your next few steps in life a bit more fun. Many think that retirement is the stage when you can really begin to enjoy life and do whatever you like with your time, but sixty odd years is far too long a wait for all that. So why not do it now? And don’t feel the need to follow cliches either. Only do a bungee jump in New Zealand if you want to, but by taking risks and going after something you’re truly passionate about may land you somewhere you never thought you’d get. For me, I want to travel. And I’m starting with a ski season. For the pure and simple reason that I have always wanted to and now, fresh out of university, I’m out of excuses not to go and do it.
Sadly, the freedom to simply wander from place to place with nothing in your pocket is long, long gone. But, there are always ways of doing what you truly want, financially. The desire to work overseas whilst also enjoying the experience often results in a low-paying but all-expenses-paid six month holiday. Long hours, little pay, but “free” food and accommodation, leaving you with that little bit of money each month to spend on, well whatever you like.
So yes, I am now understanding first hand how hard the postgraduate blues hit home – especially if home is not the place you had expected to end up back in! This freedom to follow what you most want is now ours for the taking! Whether it’s interning and making tea for the big corporations you so desperately want to be buddies with, or boycotting the family home for a more unconventional lifestyle. And ignore the discerning pleas from your parents – I promise it’s just jealousy!