Naive enthusiasm, bright eyed optimism, sheer stupidity, call it what you want because you can’t argue that even the most pessimistic amongst us struggle to overlook the wide eyed hopefulness of a new University graduate. Sure, its not contagious, but it is nice sometimes to remind yourself that once, a very long time ago, you too were that deluded. Does it seem like an eternity when you were a young 20 something newly emerging from the molly coddling womb of university/higher learning institute? Do you remember your passions and dreams as spouted to your learned friends over a very sophisticated chai latte at the slightly cooler, meant for the older crowd, campus cafeteria?
Do you remember feeling like you would step out of school and make your small but very prominent mark in a world that is eagerly awaiting your arrival?
Do you remember the disappointment when the meanies poured freezing cold water over your beautiful new ways?
Speaking to university graduates, most of whom have a few years over my own graduation age, I am stunned at the ill informed optimisim that most sell. Is this enthusiasm actually appealing to prospective employers or is it another myth that is marketed to keep the lid on an education void of hands on experience? The lack of a reality check leads a lot of the emerging working population to go in expecting a sort of career heaven where their needs and desires are met by a willing corporate body.
Being filled with ideas for the future isn’t such a bad thing. I’d rather a hopeful population than an apathetic one. As reality sets in however, the high GI value of a lot of this type of ill informed zeal is revealed. Quick to peak and quick to sink. Our young guns are so easily affected by the reality of our cold cruel world that they cease to dream altogether.
The reality is, paid work is not really all that it is cracked up to be. Much like the Marriage myth, the Independence myth needs a good few disclaimers attached to its sing song advertising campaign. Most jobs involve hard work and being ignored by 95% of the people who su rround you. Most colleagues don’t care if you were off sick or aren’t feeling too well at this present moment in time. They are unconcerned about problems you’re having with your dog, neighbour, child or debt collector. Most people walk around trying to maintain a rather thin facade of politeness. Most opinions can’t be challenged in a constructive way because constructive criticism is seen as a sign of aggression. Your boss will not like it if you disagree with them or out joke them during a conversation.
Sucking up to people and making sure you are polite enough to maintain a working relationship with them are traits you will have to learn if you want to stay comfortable where you are. Lying, backbiting, cheating, dobbing in, putting your colleagues down and making someone else hoards of money are all realities that you are reimbursed for at the end of a pay cycle. And don’t even get me started on SAVING money while MAKING money. There’s another reality check we are never presented.