Saturday, 19 December 2009

People keep asking me what I want to do for a living. They're not offering me jobs, or interrogating me. But inquiring minds seem to want to know. Being back in Birmingham now means there will be Christmas drinks. I had some last night. About ten of us, in the local. Nice. Still seeing friends that you went to school with a few years after probably doesn't sound like a gargantuan effort to older readers, but it's nice to affirm that when you say you'll stay in touch, you do. Well, at least sometimes, with some people. The sort of friends you can settle straight back into natural conversation with, even after half a year.

A few of my current friends went to my primary school. And my experience of parents is that after they lose touch with some of their old friends after having children, they make new ones by befriending other parents. Thus there are the Christmas gatherings with the "young people" and "older people". And whilst I am more than happy to make annual small-talk with the "older people" (calling them old, just those three letters, without making it comparative seems unkind) as to what I am up to. Except now, more than ever, with the certainty of the sun rising or the tides turning, umpteen people will ask me what I want to do with my life.

I can't decide if I find this irritating because the conversation gets monotonous or because my uncertainty about "my career" unsettles me. But when we arrive at the assumption all Humanities graduates seem to become teachers, it all starts to feel rather Brave New World. I start feeling a sort of guilt about my dual honours, especially when speaking to people whose children do Speech and Language Therapy, or something else that sounds more employable than Philosophy and English Lit. I may start up a sort of clinic: for intellectual people to come along and chew the fat about their favourite Renaissance Drama. At least that way I will have a niche to chase in the jobs market.

I will almost certainly run to be the Student Union's Welfare Officer. It is a paid position and would be a good year's work. I will almost certainly not be elected, but if I am I would probably just realise the giddy power thrill of politics and end up like Mark Thatcher. Only, the thing is, you want to go to Swaziland. I've looked into this, their military is bobbins. They don't even have an airforce. I'm a bit afraid that some reincarnation of myself is going to turn up on Newsnight as an MP, defending their moat and duck pond.

But anyway, I know what I want. I want an office, a secretary, occasional meetings and to be able to walk around with a cup of tea talking slightly louder than necessary. No company car, but a suit to work. Hard, a little stressful but work you can leave at the office. I don't know what I do all day but it's quite important and people look impressed and I earn a lot of money. Not obscene or anything, but I get to use office jargon and talk about thinking outside the box.

Fuck it, actually, I want to be the ambassador to Barbados. I wonder if you have to apply or you get picked by patronage? Either way, I reckon having: "staged successful coup of Swaziland" on the CV can only help.


  1. I suppose that you are too well brought-up to answer "your momma". I find that it is an effective way to eliminate further discussion on the topic.

  2. I also HATE those conversations with the older generation. It does make you feel like a loser when taxi drivers tell you their children are about to go to do medicine. ughhhhh.
    Don't feel guilt about dual hons..the pain of only philosophy is worse. Though I thought that's what you did! haha.
    Happy xmas