Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Just about the most significant thing that has sprung forth from my brain recently related to the notion of careers. I was chatting to a marine biologist in the pub, and the subject of careers came up, mostly in the context of I'm-planning-to-get-one-no-really-I-hear-that-x-is-really-what-companies-look-for-these-days, where x is whatever we were doing at the time. Really, tearing up beermats and talking about cars is so employable, honestly. Anyway, it suddenly struck me that the fact that neither of us have the slightest idea what we'll be doing with our lives after the next few years or even the next few drinks was entirely irrelevant. The reason? Well, just about everyone these days agrees that you don't get a job for life. You're lucky to be there long enough to flirt with the receptionist and steal a couple of packets of Post-Its before you're being handed a P45 and a generically-autographed card, and given the sincere assurances of the Acting Deputy Vice President for UK Sales (Administration) that it's due to the recent downturn and the general development of the market and trends in departmental management. Or some such. The thing is, fewer and fewer people stick with the job long enough to reach such a lofty position. A human resources manager I was talking to in the pub the other day confirmed the suspicions of a personnel manager I was talking to in the pub last year (you may be noticing a trend here; trust me, it'll get worse) in saying that a huge number of sub-30-year-olds were jacking in promising careers in [some form of tedious finance work] after two years to go travelling, usually to Australia. Hardly remarkable, but it's suddenly occurred to me that even if they didn't, they'd get bored in a couple of years and move on, or get fired. Why not jump before you're pushed, and spend your savings on a few months Down Under? I mean, it's not like you're ever going to be able to afford a house anyway, so you may as well rack up some experiences you can talk about with the people you'll be sharing accommodation with for the rest of your life - if you're not still living with your parents, that is.

Sudden, pub clarity. No-one's got jobs anyway, and everyone wants to travel. Where will we be in ten year's time? Sat on a beach with the temp agency's microchip implanted into our arm, so they can arrange a couple of years' mortgage administration from the moment we touch down back at Heathrow en route to our minimum-standard council living quarters?

God, has it been an hour yet?

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