“Everyone should write a blog, even if you have nothing to say.” That is what I was told last Friday. A simple statement to understand and one that doesn’t really make sense when you actually stop to think about it, but for some reason it has stuck with me. Who was the deliverer of this sage advice? A smartly attired businessman from the finance sector? A wandering monk stopping at a local watering hole? Actually it was neither. My Yoda of marketing and self-promotion came in the form of a drunk football fan who had turned up to watch England’s game and, four goals and six pints later, was in a good enough mood to impart the wisdom of his years to the fresh faced graduate next to him. Because that is what I am, a graduate straight out of University and one week into his new career, as bright eyed and bushy tailed as they come and so green that it makes the luscious fields of Jerusalem look like the Mojave Desert. That being said, I have taken the advice of my new intoxicated friend, and decided to give the world of blogging a crack.
Now, my opening point, and I am calling on the vast experience of five working days to make this (four if you consider that Friday was the annual offsite), is simple. The person who first claimed that University would prepare you for the working world was either a. drunk b. deluded c. a liar or d. all of the above, because nothing, and I really do mean nothing, could be further from the truth.
I have started new schools and joined new clubs and I have been in that awkward situation where you meet your fellow Freshers for the very first time but I don’t think there will ever be anything as intimidating as walking into the office on your first day of your first job. It wasn’t that people were unfriendly, in fact there were a few nods of greeting and even a smile of two in welcome, but the sea of unfamiliar faces bored into me and the scrutiny made me want to duck down and hide. Of course being six foot four and ginger the available options for that particular course of action were limited but you get my point I’m sure.
Now, perhaps I am the wrong graduate to trust on this, especially as the NUS has just deemed my degree (Classics) as no longer worthy enough to be called a degree in its own right (ouch), but I cannot believe that even the most dedicated Maths student would be equipped to deal with the sheer exhaustion of working life. Now don’t get me wrong, I did my due diligence at Uni. I have been through Freshers Week where you juggle introductory lectures and trials for various sports clubs by day and party by night and I can quite honestly say I have never been more tired than this last week. And the most ridiculous thing about it is that I have been getting close to eight hours sleep a night. Thursday was a bleak point. I lay there in the near darkness whilst my specially purchased alarm (ocean noises guaranteed to wake you in the most soothing and tranquil of manners) pierced my brain like a dagger through the eye. Forcing myself to get up on that particular morning made the labours of Heracles look like a lazy Sunday afternoon.
And it isn’t just the jet lag, I would like to meet even the most battle hardened engineering graduate who is ready to deal with the dog fight that is the Northern Line on a Monday morning. Allies are a luxury you cannot afford and I was one of the earlier casualties of this rule as I approached a kindly old lady and asked her to possibly direct me to the correct platform. It is difficult to describe the look I got in return, but it was a brutal combination of such suspicion and hostility you would have thought I had asked to try on her dress. Now don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my first week immensely, exhaustion and cold shouldering grandmothers aside, but a friendly piece of advice to any fellow graduates about to start their working lives, be warned, because you are about to find out just what ‘bringing a knife to a gunfight’ really means.