I started my internship last week. I get to sit in a beautiful high-rise minimalist apartment and work off my laptop all day, drink coffee, and hit Bondi Junction during my lunch break.
I finished my 10-5:30pm day with a slightly sore back (I realized that I’d been hunching), and jumped onto the bus. Once everyone piled on, I realized I was one of a group – the 9-5 group. Tired bartenders, slumped retail workers, exhausted waitresses; I was one of them. The 5th of June 2014 was the day I realized I was really not a teenager anymore.
I’ve finished my undergraduate degree, my LinkedIn profile is up to date, and I have an internship editing an author’s book trilogy. It feels like this level of adulthood should at least be able to afford me a decent bottle of wine with dinner, but naturally, my internship is unpaid, and I still work with an income of $200 a fortnight. I’ll be working 2 days a week, for three months, completely free.
It has occurred to me that, as a uni graduate, even though we are qualified for particular kinds of work, we can’t get our hands on it until we have at least dipped our toe in some form of ‘pro-bono’ work. We can study for four years, rack up thousands of dollars in debt, and still not be considered even remotely ready for the work industry. It’s almost impossible to get a job in the media industry without a degree or experience, and it’s also impossible to get hired straight after completing the degree. So while I was excited to break out of my shallow-pocketed slump, I realize that I am still at least 6-12 months from legitimate employment.
My track record, as it is, goes like this:
I have worked 11 jobs since 2006.
In my BA I have written roughly 318,500 words.
And I have written 4 novel openings since 2012.
A BA doesn’t hold that much weight in the working world, so I’m moving onto Masters, which will no doubt add to the word count. I’m not at all exhausted by the number sitting before me on the screen, but I am ready to be something in the world, and make a living for myself. I’m ready to pay bills, buy wine, pick out furniture, and own at least some office wear. My goals might seem mundane, but they look like major achievements next to living like a hobo on a university campus. I feel like the wild lifestyle of the university student wore off me after my second year studying, and since then I’ve been anxious to get to the next level in my career. So yeah, I’m editing books for a very successful marketing and advertising entrepreneur, and I don’t get paid a cent for it – but he will write me an excellent reference; and if it takes 11 jobs and 318,500 words to get started, here’s to number 12.