By Jack Tomlin
In developed countries we’ve carved out a truly comfortable living. Disparities exist and merits are overlooked, but millions are well placed to enjoy the fruits of history’s gifts. Not creatures to rest on our laurels however, we’ve pushed, advanced and succeeded in furthering whatever it is we may be focused on. We’ve made living more intelligent, demanding and competitive. To enter the world of work takes some serious catching-up. Specialized expertise. Masters degrees. Practical experience. Connections. Heck, chuck a PhD in there for some small safety…
From personal experience, studying law in Europe, everyone is competing against each other and themselves. So much is chosen by students for the sole purpose of dressing up one’s C.V, and much like a bird of paradise collecting and arranging its nest to complement its beautiful plumage, it would seem that ultimate success in life rests on this dressage. Students choose study abroad placements for how it will be perceived next those three letters: LLB. Internships are collected like playing cards and hastily jotted down with pride. Student associations are beneficial for team working skills, leadership acumen and networking possibilities… not because they’re socially satisfying.
For me, having a great C.V for the sake of having a great C.V is like sex with a prostitute. Pointless. You deprive yourself of the very real enjoyment and benefit that comes with it. In turn, you prostitute yourself for your future employer, who he himself, doesn’t exist. Each potential future employer one meets is seen as a gateway to finding a place in the world.
But it is all fallacy. You’re not representing yourself; you’re selling an impersonal, artificial representation of what you think you ought to be, for a fictitious future employer. Why waste yourself? We all have a limited time slot on Earth, and I don’t want to spend it running towards something that doesn’t exist…
Studying abroad is of great value. To meet new people, explore a different way of living or even to get mind-numbingly wasted. The value is in viewing life through your own lens, not a fictitious one. No one wants to wake up in a hospital with a pumped stomach, but you have that experience for yourself, it’s a trigger for reflection. Internships are useful, but because you are forced to interact with people totally different from yourself, or for wanting a break from studying pure academia. I’m in student associations and I can add ‘working skills, leadership acumen and networking possibilities’ to my C.V, but I can also get my mind off studying, call upon new friends when distant from the old ones, and put myself out of my comfort zone and build on my own confidence. For myself.
We all know about changing ourselves for others. For relationships, friendships, first impressions, it’s normal. But why bother for the fictitious future employer? Do things for yourself. Have a decorated C.V, but fill it with achievements for yourself. Learn a language to expand your own possibilities. Your own possibilities, not your boss’s.