I don’t like media, I love it!
Mah (mummy) tells me when I was a toddler you could subdue a tantrum by simply putting something on the telly. Getting sucked into screenland has influenced most of what I aspired to as a child, well more influence. When I was about 7 years old, I wanted to be a doctor, because of ER. Then I wanted to be a computer programmer in the 2000s after seeing Chloe Sullivan on Smallville. Ultimately I settled on being an engineer because it was the closest thing to an inventor.
Though I would say out loud that I wanted to be a doctor or hacker, the real thing I wanted to do was to create something new using science. The 90s X-men’s Hank Macoy, the 90s Peter Parker, Mad Scientist Toon Club, animated Einstein, and the Magic School Bus not only presented the world to me, they told me it was wonderful and that I could make it better.
So I worked hard and got good grades. I pushed and got into my choice varsity. Then I thought everything would be golden after that. But university slapped me in the face. I failed courses and it ate at my confidence. I came back and put in my all, only to scrape in the 50s. How was I going to change the world when I was an average student?
But with the support of my friends and family, I made it. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. I still felt I could pursue my ideas and be an inventor, so I did honours in a different engineering field and slowly built up my confidence back. But now I’m done. Waiting for graduation and all everyone wants to know is “What’s next?”
As a child, I figured I would do master’s and develop fantastic gadgets, then I would get a job and work for ten years. After all that, I would leave with and then start my own thing. Easy right?!
Applying for further study is a bitch. Tuition is expensive, scholarship requirements are demoralising, and everyone and their mama says it’s pointless.
Enter “occupation recruitment agent”.
So now I am considering being an employee and the process sucks. I’ve never felt more like a pro standing in a line-up, hoping the John picks me ‘cause I need the money’. But I think the worst part of the whole thing is that everyone, EVERYONE says the process is going to be hard and the job market is bad right now.
Immediately I tell someone that I am looking for a job, it’s like they are reading from a script handed out to everyone except me.
“It’s not going to be easy”
“I know (insert relative here) who spent (insert period of time here) looking and they ended up bored at home”
“Do you know what you want?”
“Maybe you should try (insert company not connected to your field)”
Let me put it another way. I just broke out with my boyfriend, Varsity. It was five years of extreme highs and lows. In the beginning, it was great; we had fun and so many plans. But by the third year, he became emotionally abusive. The rest of the time I was struggling but finally, I got out. And now everyone is saying I need to score Prince Charming (or some other royal) immediately, otherwise, I will be a lonely hag rotting at home.
You’re stressing me out!
But I did it anyway, I drafted my cover letters and prepped everything else and I sent them out to everyone who could want me (being an African national in SA). But then I saw I messed up cover letters I sent to about 4 companies. Now I’m thinking that’s why they have been quiet for the past 4 weeks. After I saw my error, I stopped and crawled into the fetal position. I spent the following day in bed trying to figure out, “What do I want?” I mean even if I get an interview how do I prove to them [the interviewers] that I want the job.
So I talked to Mah and asked what she wanted me to do in my career.
(I have a weird thing where I can tell what I want based on how I react to other people’s expectations).
So she asks me what were my expectations and I tell her. I explain that I know what to do but I don’t know where to start. There is so much. So she asks “How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time. Putting it into context. If you have a massive problem to solve, do it one step at a time. Break it into micro problems and work from there. You can achieve all this. Bear in mind you are not God so life might serve you curve balls so things might not happen the way you want.”
So that got me thinking. I already know my grand life plan and I don’t need to worry about me in 2020 or in 2045, I just need to worry about me in 2016. What do I want to accomplish at the end of next year? And then everything came naturally from there. All I want next year is to support myself, I want to help with my younger sister’s tuition, and lastly, I want to start a nest egg for later in life. I’m content with that list and come to the end of 2016 I will have to create a new list for 2017.
Edited by AuntyCousin
*Pictures from a Google search