Growing up in the You Tube generation it’s easy for kids today to notice the material things wealth affords you.
Little Buddy was no exception. One day whilst playing with his toy cars he informed me he wanted to own a Lamborghini when he grew up. Emissions and environmental concerns weren’t at the forefront of thinking back then.
Well you’d better study hard in school so you can get a good job.
What is a “good” job?
Sitting here now some 6 years later, and having uttered that phrase a million times. I wonder what is a “Good job”?
Shortly after my adopted parents had returned to the States I secured myself a part time job as a barman in the Jack Russell public house.
Rather than being pleased at my efforts to support myself with gainful employment. My mother told me “Professional people don’t hang around in bars!”
Now let’s face it even in the most luxurious hotel bar with the most generous tippers for customers you’re not going to own a Lamborghini on the salary a barman makes. But does that make it a “bad” job?
In order for the world to work we require a whole plethora of workers. In a massive variety of jobs. From cooks to cleaners, Airport staff to Architects. Maids to medics.
Are we to assume that if we don’t achieve getting a good job we are a failure? Another of my early jobs was laying ducting for fibre optic cables.
I was paid nearly £6 an hour and worked a 60/70 hour week. Not bad wages for a 19 year old. Pretty sure this wasn’t a “Good job” in my mother’s eyes, even though the pay was excellent.
Getting an education was something, I was regularly reminded I had to do to “Get a good job” What this good job at the end of the rainbow was. I was never told.
Now admittedly my parents did everything they could to ensure I got this foothold on the path to a good job. I was enrolled in a single sex private school. From year 1 we learnt Latin!
Due to some incompatibility issues I didn’t complete my secondary education here. It seems that not having rich parents, and being the boy wearing uniform bought at the school used sale singles you out for bullying. Paired with my phycological issues from my abandonment and adoption it wasn’t really a match made in heaven and, before official channels were needed I was removed from the school, by mutual consent.
I did complete my GCSE’s at the second time of asking and went on to do a BTEC in Business Studies. University was the next step on the ladder to a good job.
Having no idea what I wanted to do as a career I opted for American Studies. Mainly because it involved a period of study at an American College. I arrived in Woolwich and collected my Grant cheque. I then strolled back to the Halls of Residence and handed it over to pay for my accommodation.
Imagine my surprise when I was handed the jaw droppingly huge amount of £3.45 back. I hadn’t even bought a pen or notebook!
Whilst everyone else was enjoying Freshers week I was busy visiting every bar and restaurant looking for part time work. Pretty soon I realised this wasn’t going to be a lifestyle conducive to studying and passing a degree. Particularly in a subject, I’d discovered, had some modules that were going to bore the pants off me.
I admitted defeat, rang my old boss and HR departments and one week later was back at the M40 services working in Sbarro. What was the point of struggling for four years and getting into serious debt to finish with a lower grade than I could achieve.
Feelings of Failure
Humans are complex. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. My adoptive mother is the eldest of three girls, and, the only one to go to college. She’s also the worst off financially.
That was the first discrepancy in the whole. Going to college will get you a good job thesis.
Then there is the whole idea that if you tell someone, something often enough and it doesn’t happen. How do they react to that?
I was constantly told I was clever. I could do anything I wanted. The problem was I didn’t know what I wanted. Without this there is no motivation to accomplish anything.
We judge people by their job. It’s one of the first questions we ask people who we meet for the first time.
What do you do for work?
Every phone call and visit to the States to visit my parents would result in the same question.
I always dreaded this question. Felt ashamed of the job I did. I loved customer service and was bloody good at it. The wages weren’t the best and there were career opportunities, but I never had the desire to manage people. I enjoyed dealing with the customers.
It caused me great conflict though. I had enough money to do the things I wanted to do. Holidays, pay the rent, games consoles etc. Yet I had this sense of under achievement. That I’d wasted my life.
That pressure to get a “good” job was there constantly.
I will still occasionally trot out the “You have to study, if you want a good job” line. Or change it slightly like when Little Miss OMG announced she wanted to drive a Tesla when she grew up. To “You’ll need a good job of you want to drive a Tesla Baby”
I hate the way society has become even more materialistic over the last few years. Companies are constantly selling us the dream that owning this will make them happy, get us the drop dead gorgeous partner etc etc.
It won’t though. Unless we have a desire to do a certain thing. Driven by something other than money, we won’t be happy. We might have the big house, the fancy car and the exotic holidays. Provided we are doing something we enjoy and warning enough to meet our needs and some wants we should be OK.
I asked on my Insta Stories what people wanted for their kids. The most popular answer was “Happiness”
To this end I try to limit my use of the “good job” phrase to rare uses. I do feel our education system needs an overhaul. It’s centered around learning to pass tests to go on to college to then get a good job.
I’d much rather my kids were helped to find something that they enjoyed enough to do every day for a living. That they were taught kindness and compassion over the attainment of wealth. Above all they should be made to feel proud of whatever they choose to do, for we are all different and no one is any less of a person because they do one job over another.