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A Message for Mid Twenties Job Hunters

I’m very familiar with rejection. It’s something I’ve had to deal a whole heap!. There’s also anther issue that I’ve unfortunately become far too familiar with and it’s doubt – believing that those rejecting you are doing it because you don’t have what it takes, or that you’re not smart enough for the jobs you want. I’m forever trying to convince myself that I am worth employing and there is something special I can bring to a job but It gets harder as time passes and the rejections pile up.

So I take a job I don’t want and hate it whilst I keep looking for internships that require a lifetime of experience and only pay lunch expenses, or if I’m lucky the minimum wage. This makes it even harder, you start to think that every day you’re stuck in this dead end job is another day you’re not getting the experience you need for the job you want. You see no future other than the boring life that’s currently facing you whilst your dreams slip away, becoming more and more unattainable.

This is the reality for thousands of young people looking for work in the UK today. I find myself speaking to old friends and hearing how they’re getting on, surprisingly, their stories are very similar to my own, this is partly reassuring but so disheartening.

How can we allow so many young people to let their talents waste away in pointless non-jobs?

I’m currently spending my days scheduling IT engineers… I am scheduling IT Engineers. I can’t think of any possible way to make it sound less boring than it is, unless I pretend the engineers are in space, but they’re not in space, they’re on Earth working for an oil corp, just to rub salt in the wounds I’m also facilitating the destruction of the planet. Every now and again (most days/nights) I worry I’ll be stuck in IT, I can only find work in IT, as far as future employers are concerned it’s all the experience I have, yet I know there’s so much more I can do.

Every rejection makes you doubt your ability, admittedly, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin and I’m sure it’s not personal as most applications aren’t even looked at others don’t even get around to sending out a rejection email. If you’re a potential employer and you’re reading this then hello, you look great! I just wanted to say how intelligent I think you are and you have a beautiful smile. But seriously, give me an interview, you shit!

I went for dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in years the other day and she was telling me how she felt before she got her current job, it was very similar to how I feel now. She said something that’s stuck in my head ever since

‘You can’t expect to have it all’

It’s true, I’ve had some amazing experiences travelling or living abroad and I’ve grown so much as a person over the last few years, I can’t expect to be able to walk into the job of my dreams as soon as I decide I want to start work. Having life experience makes this even more difficult, I could have gone straight from uni and started on a ‘career’ path but I had no clue what I wanted to do. Now I’ve got a better idea where I want to be but it seems like I’ve got no way of getting there. I have to appreciate what I’ve done with my life already and stop seeing it as time wasted as life isn’t about working in a job.

So I’ve started to plan ahead and make lots of plans, I should hear within the next couple of weeks if I’ve been accepted to interview for a really interesting scheme, if not I’m looking at learning a language and it could be the perfect opportunity for me to move abroad and immerse myself in a culture.

What’s most difficult for me is not knowing what the next 6 or 12 months will bring but making these plans definitely help. Is there a message I can give to others in a similar position to my own? Everyone’s too unique for blanket advice, it helps me to think outside of the world I’m currently in, see how many options are open to me and start taking them. Most importantly you need to know you’re not alone! There are so many other people feeling as afraid as you and there’s a lot of time to get on the path you want so never give up.

 

It’s Wednesday… Let’s Dance

Disco Is Dead! Long Live Disco!

This week Disco has been playing loud and there’s this track by Alicia Myers… well, you see, it’s changed me! I can’t stop listening to disco.

I watched a documentary on the rise of Disco. I had no idea how entrenched it is in gay culture, including the backlash against it. The slogan ‘Disco Sucks’ seems fair enough, until you realise the people holding banners were also hating the fact that gay men and women were being heard.

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DISCO SUCKS

Disco’s outlived the banners and hate, it’s a testament to the power of the human spirit! There’s a lot of exclamation points in this post and I blame disco, I’m too excitable!

It’s Wednesday… Let’s Dance

Another week has passed, I now have a job! Although, I’m still looking for something more fun. In the meantime, when I’m not working myself into an early grave for my corporate overlords, I’m lifting my spirits with this track from Ethiopiques Volume 1 and good God… it’s funky.

 

It’s Wednesday… Let’s Dance

Can you imagine a track more viscerally thrilling than this piece of art from Brian Eno.

I’ve been trying to work with this in the background, at some point I can’t help but stop what I’m doing, turn the volume as loud as possible and let the track play out. It’s not great for productivity but is anything fun ever good for productivity?

No, I haven’t been able to dance to this just yet, but mentally I’m hopping all over the place.

 

Eating Vegetarian in Cambodia

I won’t talk about how I felt about Cambodia, it’s a blog post for another day, I’m here to talk about the food, and the food is good.

I was on a pretty tight budget so I often found I was limited to just fried rice or noodles. When I was willing to spend a little more money I found there was plenty of delicious vegetarian food all across Cambodia. Some parts of Cambodia are very tourist friendly, there are downsides to this but a positive for veggies is there’s often a ‘vegetarian’ section in menus or even a little green V next to meat free meals.

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Imma let you finish, but this was the most delicious curry of all time!

There are definitely more cheap options than just noodles and rice, baguettes are everywhere! If you’re a cheese lover you’ll be hooked on the sheer amount of fresh baguettes you can buy.

You might even rekindle your childhood as the sound of the ice cream man ringing his distinctive bell as he pulls up outside your hostel selling ice cream baguettes!

I had one of the best curries of my life in a vegetarian restaurant  in Phnom Penh, I’ve since tried, and failed, to repeat it at home. Phnom Penh isn’t for everyone, I actually loved the city life. I  enjoyed all the cities I visited in Asia, there was so much life everywhere, it sent my imagination running wild.

The next stop was Sihanoukville and by this point I was fed up of noodles and rice so I did end up giving in to the temptation of chips and to be honest I ate a lot of junk during my time there, once you’ve visited I think you’ll understand how easy it is to do so.

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Reasonably healthy by Sihanoukville standards

By this point in my trip I was pretty confident I could order vegetarian food, even though I still hadn’t learnt the phrase for meat free. I’d attempted ‘Aht Saight’ which is supposed to mean meat free but it got me nowhere, tofu was pretty well understood and it normally gives a good idea you’re going for something without meat.

If you had any more luck with phrases, let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

My life as a Radio Phone In Freak.

It’s a Friday night and unlike most teenage lads my age, I’m not sipping white lightening, hassling wildlife down the park. Instead, I’m sat next to my phone, waiting for a call back from a radio station. Yes, I am one of those people.

By this point I’m a seasoned pro! I’ve even made some ‘fans’ (I use the term very liberally). At the time I wasn’t fully aware of how unusual my hobby was, to be honest, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Although my parents weren’t fully aware of how involved I became with the shows, I think they were more than happy to allow me to explore a creative avenue. They knew I wasn’t like the other kids at school, so I might as well do something different with my time.

There comes a point, as we’re growing up, that the real world shows up. Like an annoying friend of a friend at a party that you’re too polite to stop talking to, so you’re stuck with him for the night. Unfortunately, this bastard sticks with you for the rest of your life. Radio gave me the ability to hide in the toilet for a couple of hours, waiting for him to leave, I’ve come to realise that he never leaves… ever. But, you get better at dealing with him.

It meant that I spent a large part of my teenage life playing a role – the annoying teenage boy (not too difficult to perform, let me assure you). I was willing to call up a couple of shows and contribute my ideas, or just add some nonsense. At a time in my life when I could have felt very insignificant I felt important and special.

I became someone people laughed at, or with. To me, it didn’t matter which. My mate’s aunt even knew who I was because they listened the show – I was famous!

Thinking about my short-lived stardom (if I can call it that) it’s clear I relished the anonymity. It allowed me to not only be myself, but also try out being whoever else I could imagine. I think having that option as a teenager is incredible, you don’t have to be stuck being the person you are at school or around your parents.

Talk radio’s a mixed bag, there’s the fancy china on one side with Radio4 and on the other, is one of those plastic freezable cups you got on your 18th birthday with Talksport. You can’t deny that talk radio’s popular, LBC’s pretty much doubled its listening figures over the last decade (albeit they’ve gone national on DAB) and Radio4 is one of the most listened to stations in the country. Sadly, I’m not one of the millions of avid listeners any more, and it’s sad to think that part of my life is long gone.  I do look back and cringe at how involved I was, but ultimately, I’m proud to say – I was a radio call in freak and it made me who I am today!

 

It’s Wednesday, Let’s Dance…

I was looking through the notes on my phone earlier this week. I found this track played by a friend I’d made in Cambodia a few months ago and my God it’s even smoother than I remember it.

Can you imagine being this suave?

It’s also coincided with a week of positivity, remembering good times and thinking about the future so it’s been played a whole lot. Let’s be happy!

 

 

An Absence of Light

I recently got a very cheap car, so cheap that there’s only a CD player and there’s a limited amount of music I can listen to with my CD collection being as small as it is. I’ve been listening to the Modest Mouse album This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing To Think About. A line from the track ‘Ionizes & Atomizes’ inspired this.

I wake up damp, rays from the midday sun making me sweat.

it doesn’t seem right to call it sun.

A star with no name.

That’s better.

A long night, long forgotten, we still take off our shirts and show off our scars.

Remember when we wondered how flesh heals.

Hours spent staring at our hands. Spaced out. High.

I wake up into a dark night.

The moon is a right fancy mirror,

a bit too posh for us lot I think.

It doesn’t seem right – that lump of rock gets every ray of light it likes, while we, the hard working people are left to rot! In the darkness! There it is showing off its wares,

like the car headlights from next door waking us up again. And again.

Never able to get back to sleep, not Like before anyway.

Not much to do so we take off our shirts again, our scars are darker this time. Yet we don’t know why.

We were wrong about flesh, it never really heals does it.

I’m so lonely it hurts, people say that don’t they.

I can’t see past my birth, before then I was lonely I’m sure. I’m sure of it.

We’re supposed to be sad when we’re lonely, isn’t that the case

A sad little fetus, crying and the like.

Don’t cry no name, it’s not that bad out here.

Lonely little fetus. Isn’t it sad we’re born crying, as if we know what’s coming.

That’s how I got these scars, you know, the ones all over my chest.

Just like yours I know, but mine are older.

Pulled through the world, machines ripping at me.

New – ‘No More Scars!’

It never used to be like this, they say that as well.

Everything you need in the palm of your hand, ripping us to pieces slowly but surely.

It’s like music. I remember music.

Losing yourself in the rhythm until there’s nothing left to give, except it’s not like music at all.

Music made you feel alive, this just makes you sleep.

One long sleep until the inevitable.

That reminds me, it’s time to sleep again.

Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Beautiful Night in Mandalay – Myanmar (Burma)

This was the first leg of my trip. I was finally on my way to a country described as one of the most welcoming and beautiful in all of South-East Asia. I was in Myanmar or should I call it Burma, either way – I’d arrived.

Walking into the Mandalay arrivals hall I was greeted by enthusiastic taxi touts, I was wary and went to take out some cash to bide some time and figure out what I wanted to do. I decided to go for the taxi as the price seemed very reasonable. I passed my cash over to the enthusiastic young english speaker and then was passed on to 3 or 4 different people with everyone taking a cut of the money. I was a little worried, would I get to the taxi and be asked to pay again? Would they claim we hadn’t paid enough? little did I know I had nothing to fear, the honesty and kindness the Burmese people showed me was second to none.

When taking taxis in a foreign land there is always the concern that they have absolutely no idea where you want to go. He was smiling and nodding but there’s always a worry in the back of your head that says you’re going to end up half an hour in the wrong direction with no idea where to find your hotel. This wasn’t helped by the sheer size of Mandalay itself – it’s huge and the streets run for far longer than you’d imagine. It’s a truly vast city. I felt ashamed for doubting my driver’s skills as I arrived at the hotel and made my way in with two bell boys helping me with my bag.

The hotel was pretty basic and I had to expect it really, it was one of the cheapest I could find but the staff were friendly and really wanted to help me get to know the city. I decided to walk myself lost.

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A Proud Home

The first thing I noticed was how different each building was, everyone had clearly set out to design their house in a certain way and  each was beautiful in that it showed the character of the owner. I was struck by the diversity of everyone’s home, so far gone from the uniform nature of the Bangkok skyline I’d become accustomed to in the days before my visit.

I was travelling in the run up to the first elections held for decades and the city was full of hope and smiles. I couldn’t comprehend the love that was being passed through so many smiling happy faces.

A friend I was with, who was a bit more travel hardened than I, tried to work out what they wanted from us, surely there must be some kind of ulterior motive? Yet I never had the slightest inkling that anything was false, or that there was any underlying motive for their kindness, the people of Mandalay were full of love and it showed!

The traffic is wild! It takes a little while to get into the flow of the city. Meandering through parked bikes, diving around market stalls, all the while switching my attention to traffic firing towards me in all directions. You’re at the mercy of the city and it’s invigorating. There’s music in city life, navigating through the traffic is your dance and Mandalay plays a relentless rhythm.
Burmese Bridge

My first trip to the city only lasted one night but I managed to catch a sunset at the U-Bein Bridge. Much like the rest of my experience in the country, I was shocked at how spiritual it felt. Watching the sunset and taking a few minutes to myself, connecting with the calm water, I was in awe.

In just 24 hours the city had taken me for a ride, in the best possible sense. I was ashamed  of the prejudice I brought with me, but was ultimately left weak by the beauty I found in nature and my fellow human beings. What a way to start my trip in a country that continually took my breath away. I would be returning soon enough but until then, onto my next stop, Bagan.

 

 

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