I am in the midst of a meltdown. I have recently moved in with my girlfriend, who I love a lot. I have just received my Bachelors in Politics from a university that is more often than not found within the Top 25 in the country. I have just got back from visiting one of my best mates in France where I drank all night and sunbathed all day, except occasionally popping into the odd art gallery to appreciate the works of Picasso. I am about to go insane!
It all started a few weeks ago, I was reading Friends Like These by Danny Wallace, a hilarious book by the way, when I suddenly realized that I was spinning towards maturity. I am dangerously close to it! My carefree student days are behind me. I am now welcoming the careful career days. These days seem no fun. Now I might not be employed yet, so I shouldn't really get ahead of myself on the crisis front...but I am still looking for a job that will be my future career. It will be what I do until I am 65! I am only 21, that's 44 years (assuming my maths is right). Not being funny deciding what you will spend 5 days a week for the next 44 years is quite the scary thing. For the last 3 years I have been living it easy. There were times at uni where I did 8 hours a week! That is ridiculous! I literally could do what ever I wanted to do...I could get pissed on a Wednesday night (and I did, a lot) and then go to lecture at 9am (or not go) and not care about the consequence because I had the blagging skills to get a 2:1 in Politics no matter what happened. I think it is fair to say that heading towards your first career job, is heading towards maturity. Heading towards maturity is definitely a reason to be heading towards crisis!
As I mentioned before I have also moved in with my 'ladychum'. Me and me lassy have shacked up. We are in a flat in London, living together. Now I wasn't bothered by this. I thought "oh well, tra la la, we hang out all the time and we get along like best mates, why not move in together...who better to live with!" I thought like that until I started telling people I was moving in with my ladychum. Everytime I would tell people they would pull one of two faces. Firstly, there was the "ooo that's scary" face...which essentially looked like they were trying to whistle whilst doing a massive dumb. Secondly, was the "how are you going to get out of that one" face...which looked shockingly similar to a deer caught in the headlights. Now I was not a deer, I was in no headlights...until I started to get these reactions. Then I was definitely in headlights. But I was still a man! And therefore not a deer! This meant that I was still going to have a showdown with the headlights and god dammit I was going to win and end up on the happier side of the headlights (not sure that analogy works at all but basically I was still rather happy to be moving in wit the lady despite the niggling worries that had been put upon me). However, recently a young women told me off her 'countdown theory'. This was the scariest theory I have ever heard...and I studied communism for the last three years of my life! She told me that because I now live with my ladychum, I now have three years to propose or I am a goner. Brilliant! Not being funny, I am perfectly happily with the thought of spending the rest of my life with this lady, she is immense, I am just not sure I am going to want to commit to it in three years time. I probably would if I have a job, a decent one, at that point but that looks less likely to happen every bloody day. As soon as she said that my eyes widened...I breathed in deep...I had a face that suggested "how are you going to get out of that one!"...I was officially a deer!
Now there is no way you can tell me that making that move, turning on the three year ticking bomb, was not a massive step towards that bloody scary thing that is maturity! I was not trying to embark on a career, whilst living with my girlfriend...I was not a carefree student...I was the dreaded three words...A MATURE ADULT.
Luckily, despite my severe want for money (which in turn leads me to wanting a job), people seemingly don't want to employ me. That's not entirely true...I can easily find employment, people will happily let me work for them...they just don't want to pay me to do so. That's right, I am stupidly working 9-5 (or 10-6) for no money. I am one of the many people at the moment that have graduated and now cannot find paid work. Therefore, like me, many of the class of 2009 are working for free in 'work placements' or 'internships', which basically means companies can't afford to recruit students so they are getting us to do it for free. Its actually all very clever...we are under the illusion that we need 'work experience' to get a job, and therefore we will happily take any unpaid work, as long as it is in an office and vaguely similar to what we want to do. The companies know that they can't afford to hire grads who they might spend time training and then might just bugger off...but they know that if they say that graduates need 'work experience' in order to get a job then they can get us to do a job for no pay. That way they can function at the same rate, whilst making people redundant, and still covering the work through loads of 'interns'. I am starting to believe that this whole "work experience is required" thing is just yet another way to keep the rich, rich. Lets face it 30 years ago in order to get a high paying job or become one of the countries elite you had to go to university. In order to do that you had to be uber rich, and generally a man. However, now loads of people go to university...if the rules stayed the same the poor would have the same opportunity as the rich, this would mean that poor people could become powerful and displace the rich. That just can't happen now can it! So those rich gentlemen decided it would be best if they found a way to keep the newly educated poor (lower-middle class really) with no chance of climbing that ladder. Best way to do that is to decide that not only do they have to now have a degree to get a job, you now need work experience as well. This can be by-passed by being one sh*t-hot salesmen (Alan Sugar for example), but basically its a must these days to get a job. The genius thing is, they ain't gonna pay you to have that work experience. Basically, you now need to be able to afford to live without a job through A Levels, through Uni and now through months (to a year) of unpaid work experience. That means your parents have to be middle class, at least. Luckily for me, I come under that bracket! My parents are middle class...my dad has a very good job in human resources which earns him a fair few bob, and my mum is a teacher at a private school, not bad for a second salary. This means They have been able to afford to pay for me to live in London for the next year. That's right they are paying my rent, utilities and general living expenses until I get a job. And they are doing so whilst I occupy a flat in London with my girlfriend. She is in a very similar predicament, having also graduated this year (from a Uni that is fairly often found in the Top 10), and she is playing the work experience game as well. That's right, her parents are paying for her as well (well her grandparents but potato, potARto).
Yeah I know what your thinking..."oh woe is me!" I know I am fairly spoiled (very), and that it is hard to have sympathy for someone whose parents are paying for them to live in London. It is hard to have sympathy for a middle-class student with a degree. Well bugger off! It's hard having no money. I literally went to the bank today and was told I had nil to get out. I couldn't afford lunch. I am now working for free, without lunch! Jokes! I may have rent paid for me, I may have utilities paid for me, I may have council tax paid for me, I may have my shopping bought for me...but I have still got f*ck all in the old bank account. Not being funny I have spent the last three years drinking my liver into oblivion with the assumption that I would basically stroll into a job upon graduation. I am sure that there are many students that probably assume the same. To be honest current students might just get to jump on the upturn that will surely follow this downturn and jobs may be in abundance again. But right now the chances of getting a job are about the same as getting fellatio from a nun. So right now I am pretty much down in the dumps on the money front. I have always considered myself as a middle-class man, even during my studies, just because the prospect of a high wage was there. Hence the title of this blog. But seriously, I graduated in July, still no prospect of that high wage...can I really call myself working class now?