We are the lucky generation. We became adults in the 21st Century and we can’t say that we have many struggles. Women fought and died for our rights to vote. Unions fought for equal pay. Gay people fought and died for the right for freedom and expression. We can do anything we want. The world is our oyster. We can be anyone we want to be. Nothing is out of reach. Or so we are led to believe.
The truth is…we can’t do anything we want, or be whoever we want to be. I’m not talking about pipe dreams like being a millionaire or the bringer of world peace or Superman. I’m talking about every day, normal things like jobs and careers, because there you cannot be whoever you want to be.
I wanted to be a museum curator… but experience was necessary. I wanted to be an archiving assistant… but experience was necessary. I wanted to be a heritage officer… but experience was necessary. I wanted to work in publishing… but experience was necessary. Are you seeing a pattern here? Jobs that I WANT to do and would put all my effort in to. I would be passionate and enthusiastic and excited to do those jobs but that lack of experience is my enemy. I could have been the best person for the job but they will never know because I’ve never been given the opportunity to try. Job applications and interviews are marked on a point scoring system rather than character.
I’ve worked in retail, fast food, bar, waitressing, call centre, customer service and admin. Worked in a team, worked alone. I think I’ve done the lot. All that experience yet none of it can get me the career that I want. How is that fair?
I’m thirty years old. When I was eighteen I did not know what I wanted to be which is why I didn’t go to university. I didn’t have any career aspirations and went from job to job. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I discovered a passion for history, in particular local history. I would be great in any role that promoted local history and stories, museum assistant, culture, heritage, anything related. The only way to gain experience would be to volunteer somewhere but how in the hell am I going to find the time to do that? I can’t afford to fork out extra on childcare so I can work somewhere for free. It’s not doable. And, therefore, I’ll never get my dream job. No eighteen year old knows what they want to do. That is the age to go out in to the world, get some life experience, and learn about yourself. We should not be forced to make important decisions at such an age.
Remember, in this life you can be anything you want to be, so long as you have experience. Otherwise don’t bother applying…