“You need to get a better job.” “This job’s a lot better than my last one.” “Quit it. Get something better. What are your qualifications? Have you been on Seek? Temp Agencies?” “I have a degree in International Development, and I already told you the temp agencies are focusing on ‘hiring local’ at the moment.”
Then we spoke about my degree, and what I could use it for in regards to work. The same uncomfortable conversation I had with my Uncle 2 years ago. The same conversation I often had with myself in the shower during my Undergraduate when I considered life after Trent.
Returning to Ghana was the obvious choice before Malaria. Now I wonder if it could once again be an option… Its a big thought, and so I must meditate on it before breaking it down for you lovely readers.
Living beside a University, and working with primarily Universty students and teenagers living at home in this job and my last has been a defeating ‘full circle’ of sorts. There enthusiasm and confidence to hit the ‘real world’ make big dollas and have independance reminds me of my-self.
The shitty thing is I somehow became the mid-twenty year-old I swore I’d never become.
I’m living in a city I don’t like, scrapping by financally, minimal social life, and for the most part being outearned by said kids.
A comment that really got to me was some banter between a work mate “Man, if I get 3 sales and you only get one, then I’ll pass you this week. 25, being lapped by an 18 year old. Pretty sad dude.” I laughed it off. I made zero sales and he made one that day. At the end of the week, I had more sales than him.
Someone had been fired prior to our day at work. This meant I was the top seller in the Christchurch branch ON MY FIRST WEEK. Yes it took close to 80 hours, and my coworkers worked around 50-60. But I guess thats what the 20 hours gets ya.
And now I’ve memorized my script and have a week of door knocking lined up. Company data shows door knocking to be more lucrative than mall-stopping. With less hours I’ll sleep more and eat better. I’m stoked.
Three years ago I completed a degree in International Development from Trent University. When I tell my students friends about it, there shoulders relax and eyes go wide. They have such a genuine interest in what I studied, and its awesome talking to them about development. They study that shit, and since their in the midst of it, they want to blabber and critique and its a lot of fun.
Then they talk about the jobs they’ll have after school, and how its cool I traveled, but “Kiwi’s like stability.” They want to launch their careers and be competive devients in their field.
Then I watch a Netflix movie and there’s someone aged 21-23 fresh out of school working their dream job for said firm/company/person etc… I’ve watched several friends share achivments via Facebook and Instagram, wokring for TedX, NGO’s, Stats Canada and the list goes on.
What My Degree Taught Me
It taught me the dangers and benefits of cycles. Class dynamics, and the history of imperialism. The birth and effect of globalization. The evil nature of Neo-liberalism and the importance of free thought. I learned what free-market was, and how to identify a totalitarian state. The modern wars are being fought in court houses and in banking firms, as Structural Adjustment Policies and foreign investment is struck up and signed.
There was no skill; unlike those who studied Engineering, Nursing, Vet-tech, or Agriculture. Nor was there a clear path, unlike my friends in business, finance or accounting.
Instead. development studies filled my brain with an abundance of knowledge to how to the world worked. The systems and mechanisms keeping everything in place.
As friends spoke about their dream career upon completion You need to get a better job never crossed my mind. I would never join the ratrace, nor become a consumer employee. I’d avoid the cycle of debt at all costs, to do otherwise would be betraying my degree.
I would learn this year that their is such a thing as good debt, and finance books would open my eyes to its value and proper implementation. However discussing good and bad debt is a long post in itseld and I can’t get side tracked here.
Then I Finished
I never wanted to become part of the cycle. The idea of settling in one place, doing the same thing over and over; it bored me to the point of depression. No the world was full of opportunity, and globalization meant I could anywhere at anytime. Its the shrinkage of time and space after all.
With the world at my fingertips, a silver tounge and piece of paper that said I’m smart I took off eager to gain empirical knowledge to match my degree.
In many ways traveling with Paul was one of the worst things I’ve ever done, and in many others, it brought lessons and choices that needed to be made. All in all, it was important that I left Kelowna for Tofino in 2017, and Paul took better care of me than I did of him on the West Coast in that time.
I tried to start a business in Tofino. and I tried to take over another one. I moved to Australia and that was an adventure. Australia brings me home, and for the first time in my life, I would take a serious swing at becoming a writer.
I tried many times before, but this time was different. I made word count minimums. Wrote up skeletons for books and short stories. Submited pieces to magazines and competitions. Despite being unemployed, I was quite busy those two months on my parents couch.
Then I’d leave for Bali. Have the idea to move to New Zealand pop off in my head. Try to do serious writing again while living in Java. Have my bank hacked, come home, get sick, and travel across Canada for six months on my way to New Zealand. Chasing adventure and my goals.
New Zealand Here And Now
This is the first time since working bullshit summer jobs for university that I find myself saying “You need to get a better job”. But why? What am I trying to prove? And to who? How have I fallen back into the ratrace when everything I’ve done has been in the effort of avoiding it!
Hunger, necessity. broken confidence and general uncertainty. What if this is my last chance to travel? I’m not young anymore and maybe I need to settle down and get serious. I’d really like to eat with my own money. Not worry about rent, and be able to do fun things outdoors. Go on hikes, dates, own a vehicle and explore the South Island before I lose this opportunity that COVID has stripped from many around the world.
Or do I say Fuck It like I always have. Ignore the call to the ratrace, and lookforward. Think forward.
Last night got crazy and that’s a separate post, and trust me its going to be funny! Before the storm there was a calm. My co-worker Kaelan, a 19yr law student who grew up in several countries walked me to her flat to begin predrinking. She asked me what I wanted to do before University. The job I wanted before I began studying.
“It was never really about A job. I read I could get into Gang-busting, that sounded really cool. Essentially I chose three programs, International Development, Media Studies, and Journalism. I got accepted to all three; realized Journalism’s dead, and media would be a piss-take. So I picked International Development because I knew traveling would be important to me. I was lucky my program clicked so well with me, and because I was enjoying it so much, I just focused on finishing. Figured I’d find a job once I’m done but do everything one step at a time… I always wanted to be a writer. Someone who traveled and told compelling stories. Writing or comedy, those were the two things I really wanted.” “I see.”
Then we drank and went dancing.
Laying In Bed
It would be easy to go back to Tree-planting. Convenient to work on a farm. “Well what’s wrong with working on a farm?” “What skill do it get. What do I learn? I can say I work hard? There’s four seasons of tree-planting on my resume.” “Get a better job, I’m working less hours than you and earning more money. Besides you don’t have much time left here. Wouldn’t you rather explore than work yourself to the bone?”
Yes. But I’d also like to eat.
But I also think Fuck it. This last week I felt something inside myself. Like I was climbing out of the hole that adsorbed me for so long. When I first got to New Zealand, I was so proud of myself for how I ended things with Ledcor. I loved the idea of commission and being a sharp seller. I wanted a sales job almost as badly as I wanted the Otago job.
I felt pride in what I was doing, and pride in myself. Its not the product I want to be selling, and it would be nice to not feel like a grampa around my workmates, but then again, I’m the new ‘Joe’.
Its Looking Up
My boss is giving me awesome sales training. The commissions awesome, I never feel like I’m wasting my time at the office. Ok sometimes after work I’d like to leave sooner than I do, but I spend time playing table tennis with everyone. I’ve been clamoring for friends for so long, and now I have a place to play table tennis and laugh about stupid shit with people. Its a great feeling.
Would it have been nice to work for Wilderness R.V’s? Absolutley. However my fear of the unknown, and the need to stick to safety made me make descisons that would negativly impact my interview and cost me the job. Looking back on it, my Mom’s golden saying “If it wasn’t meant to be, then it won’t happen” was defenitly true in that instance.
This new job teaches me skills, and gives me the room to breathe, to work on my side projects. John was annoyed I had plans to take off and do an MBA in two years. Stacey thought it was awesome. She said she respected my ‘mission’ to write a book about immigrating to New Zealand and using my degree in a creative way.
Who says I can’t learn how to build and run a team, while crushing sales targets in my 9-5. Last week proved that even with an 80 hour commitment, I still get my writing done.
Fuck The Race
You need to get a better job. Fuck that. Fuck the title, and fuck the opinions. I need to eat and pay rent. I want to buy a car, and it would be huge if I could work somewhere that encourages growth. I found a great place for the growth, and the nature of sales means I’m in a position to earn my way to a car.
I decided on Thursday night that my boss will have my loyalty. That even if another job were to present itself, I would turn it down, as I’m focused on riding out my current job. Building my current job, and taking whatever skills I can from it.
I’ll use my degree, just not in a conventional way. With my hours being cut back to 40-50 a week, I’ll have much more free time. This means I’ll be able to do more. I can write my blog, my book, and some development articles. Critiques on comments or journals. Something. I need to get into the habit RIGHT NOW of using my degree differently, and applying its knowledge in writing or speaking. I also really want to get back into investing and following the market.
It sounds nerdy, but I was having a great time trading stocks with my parents during lockdown.
Now You Know My Response
I know she cares about me, and wants whats best, or most practical. But I’ve NEVER been practical. The exact opposite. At 25 I’ve failed more times than most people will even try. Law of averages dictates my first big score is coming. And all those failures are for nothing if I give up and accept my place in the rat-race. If I become a contributing cog in the cycles development studies made me so weary of in my youth.
No. I push forward. Weathered and washed-up, but pushing forward none the less.