Live for a Career

Laid out in front of you is a linear path: get your GCSEs, then some A Levels, a degree, a master’s if you’re good enough, maybe even a PhD, then start a career, and progress up a directionless ladder motivated by incremental salary increases, inflating responsibility and minimising personal time. 

You must strive for these opportunities which are dressed up as successes. You must overstretch yourself to reach that next level, and the one after that and the one after that, wondering when will all this overachieving end? To be content in your place is to be seen as a failure. When are you going to take the next step? When are you going to focus on your career? 

It’s not even clear what that word means – career. It seems more like a contrived way to keep everyone pigeonholed in their teeny tiny boxes. A career is a linear path confined like no other. A trajectory only within your industry. You must go up and up this specific ladder even though it may become more perilous, even though that one beside you has rungs closer together. You mustn’t hop sideways or god-forbid go downwards. You must keep earning more and more! Take on more and more responsibility! Do what you enjoy less and less! Grind the gears of capitalist monotony! And when you’re 70 you can rest, you can enjoy your hobbies then with your dwindling pension, and health issues caused by a life of over-exhaustion

– if you make it.

All those things you enjoyed at school; art, dance, and reading become frivolous activities. They’re permitted on self-care Sunday if you have time. They don’t contribute towards your career; therefore, they are self-indulgent. They’re packed up in something called wellness which has been manufactured to try and counterweigh the longer working hours, dwindling pay increases and lack of job satisfaction. Suddenly picking up a paintbrush feels foreign, like trying to sign your name with your non-dominant hand. Dance can only be accommodated if it takes the form of a sweat inducing exercise session which sees the circles on your smart watch swivel round to completion. Reading is permittable at the end of the day if all other tasks are completed and only if you don’t fall asleep bleary eyed from a too-much-screen-time induced headache.

To say no to it, to the opportunities, is to be ungrateful. To say no is to not overachieve, and the only acceptable performance is the over, is the exceeding.  Now you’re failing, not living up to your promise, a promise that is quantified through salary, the brand of your car and how many bedrooms your house has. It doesn’t consider your happiness, the impact you have on the world, the number of smiles that you put on the faces of those around you. To be linear is to continue striving to the point of exhaustion. Why not be non-sequential? Learn one thing, move onto another, try something different, find what you loathe, what you love, what makes your heart soar, what makes your pulse rise with anticipation, what makes your breath clam up in your throat, your palms sweat. Find what makes your muscles ache, your mind stall. Find what fills you up with happiness at the end of the day and sends you off into contented sleep. Find what gets you up in the morning with a smile. 

One meagre measly ladder up to success can’t do this. You can find elements of a career that fulfil you but ultimately, it’s a means to an end. There’s more to life than contributing to a system that chews you up and spits you out when you become too old to bring benefit to it any longer. Learn, give back, mentor, enjoy, there’s more to life than striving to an ideal of a perfect career which does not exist.

Blue Monday

“Thought I was mistaken
I thought I heard your words
Tell me, how do I feel?
Tell me now, how do I feel?” 
New Order – Blue Monday

 

It’s Monday the 21st of January: “Blue Monday” 2019. A day when emotion is universally prescribed “blue” ergo, depressed. A day which, whilst at the same time as bringing mental health into the national consciousness, trivialises it. And as much as we try, as much as we fight it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – for some, so much more than others.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so problematic, if it weren’t for the fact that, under the facade of “Blue Monday,” sits a sinister, yet tenacious marketing tactic. It’s not overly surprising to learn it’s a PR stunt, devised by a travel company to boost sales, to make money. It’s longevity is pure evidence that this tactic is working. “Blue Monday” continues to exist to uphold capitalism by acting as an annual reminder that: if you feel blue, you should spend money (substituting the usual “If you love someone, spend money on them” (See: Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day et al)) –

“Get a red cup to beat the blues”

“Blue Monday isn’t blue when you’re enjoying our Cheddar!”

“Cheer up your Blue Monday with a sneaky treat!”

Then you’ll feel better. Wouldn’t it be lovely to think that a bit of spending could “cure” what can be, incurable? Not medication. Not counselling. Spending. Spending, which is also –  *absurdly* – one of the main contributing factors to the 3rd Monday of January being “Blue Monday” in the first place. You can see where this is going… Hats off to the big wig advertisers (capitalists) that came up with this vicious cycle of individual suffering!

So why don’t I just shut up and enjoy my free cheeseburger?

Because there are SO MANY people for which a freebie just won’t cut it, myself included. For people who suffer from poor mental health on a regular basis (at least 1 in 4 of us), to wake up and find it is “Blue Monday” is the most self-fulfilling of all prophecies. It can’t be shaken by a fucking Costa coffee (cheese maybe). But jokes aside, poor mental health is something people live with, day in, day out, not simply annually. To trivialise mental health in this way, to disregard medical illness, for the sake of a pseudo-scientific “Blue Monday” is dangerous – for everyone. It’s not healthy for a calendar-event to dictate emotion, to set an expectation on a universal scale, to stuff our mouths with consumer items to stifle our words.

“And I still find it so hard
To say what I need to say
But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me
Just how I should feel today”
New Order – Blue Monday

“Believe in the UK”

Believe that the “UK” is a nation founded on abuses of power. Believe that the “UK” is the proponent of colonialism. Believe that as a result the “UK” enslaved peoples all over the world for its own gain. Believe that the “UK” can return to its former “glory days” of economic prosperity whilst ignoring the staggering social impact of this. Believe that the “UK” can go it alone, that it doesn’t need the support of other countries which have been integral to the “UK” we know today. Ignore all of this to believe in the “UK”, to believe in yourself, to blame immigration and whimsical EU laws for your own failures. Believe in the “UK” in which even once severed from the ties of the EU you’ll still look in the mirror and hate yourself, just a staggeringly worse off version of yourself – unless you’ve gained from this severance in which you can be reassured that the public hatred will never end. Believe in the “UK” if you want to put your own misdirected interests above those of the whole, if you want to return to a fictitious nation based on selfishness. If you want to deny that any divisions exist across the North and South, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England believe in the “UK.” Believe in the UK, because you haven’t got anything else left, because the image of the past is so much more appealing than the present; the future. Believe in the “UK” – Believe in Brexit.

Rule, Britannia?

‘I am proud to be British’ they announce.

As if Britishness had become a foreign concept- as if it something elitist to say ‘I am British’. What does that even mean? To me it’s just a nationality, written on a passport, attempting to define me. It really doesn’t.

The raucous claims of Britishness, the people behind the noise, are mesmerised by the call to restore what is ‘Great’ about Britain ricocheting between the mouths of each party leader. Is it only those with a general understanding of the history of the last 100 years who understand that this plea to national identity is the most obvious form of propaganda? Can our modern day politicians find nothing better to string us along with? Are we no more developed or intelligent that our 1930s Russian and German counterparts? Build a common enemy- reinforce patriotism- embed nationality in education. Surely it’s not just me who can see the undeniable parallels?

A common enemy: immigrants, haven’t they always been. Clearly nothing changes, or no politician is imaginative enough to change anything. What about the tax evaders- are they a not more worthy enemy? But, of course, they deliver such important ‘services’ to the U.K that their criminality can go unnoticed. (Did the Queen forget to remind you to pay your taxes whilst she was knighting you Gazza?)

How many times have we heard a politician serenading Britain with constant reminders of her greatness? Their faces begin to merge into one grotesque mask: Cameron, Farage, Miliband (and the other, useless one, what’s his name?) a super-beast of political inadequacy. With ease this gusto infiltrates education: a heinous announcement to make the study of English in schools wholly British in an attempt to indoctrinate the young- what a load of bullshit. Michael Gove can go shove that where the sun doesn’t shine (his conservative arse). How can one study English without understanding its roots and links with other countries. It’s disgusting enough that African literature doesn’t even get a word in let alone American literature being banished as well. But of course, the English language is heralded as one of the mighty triumphs of the British. I am in utter despair. Perhaps History should have a more prominent place on the curriculum?

If only plagiarism was to the student as stealing past political tactics was to the politician- if only.

 

Vaingloriousness


“There’s nothing wrong with an enlarged gap between rich and poor”

Said a privately educated middle class university student.  An enlarged gap between rich and poor is evidence of the failings of society, politics and economics. The fucking failings of mankind. The urge to retaliate to this imbecility is insatiable, to name and shame, out this idiot for his close minded naive opinions; but he’s not the only one.

I, for one, didn’t realise we were living in 1920s America where economic prosperity was stipulated by narrow minded money obsessed bankers with no understanding of the poor such as Andrew Mellon. I didn’t realise it was every man for himself. I thought we’d evolved somewhat past that point.

Do milestones such as the Great Depression and the Financial Crisis not signify that the ‘every man for himself’, hierarchical, money obsessed economy model doesn’t work? We’re still in a deficit, there are still people living below the breadline. Really- what is the point?

But we’ve got out own Andrew Mellon, our own big money-big business-crush the poor chancellor of the exchequer: George Osborne, who fails to understand over half of the population.

In light of the public shock facing the Philpott case Osborne claims:

“The courts are responsible for sentencing, but I think there is a question for government and for society about the welfare state, and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state, subsidising lifestyles like that. I think that debate needs to be had.”

It isn’t a fucking lifestyle issue. It’s an issue of evil. Society can produce ‘bad’ people. But not evil. It’s intrinsic. It’s not due to the benefits system and the welfare state that Philpott to murdered his children- it’s because he was intrinsically evil- anyone would have to be to do that. Nature not nurture: fucking naivety. Maybe rather than looking at reforming the welfare state it is the judiciary system that needs to be analysed; because really, is his ‘life’ sentence good enough?

Society is unjust. Rather than punishing Philpott adequately for his crimes, MPs are calling for the welfare system to be analysed and thus punishing the poor. It’s blatant stereotyping and it’s completely uncalled for. As it stand only 3% of the total cost of welfare goes to the unemployed including the Philpott family and 40% is spent on the elderly- how does it seem right then to claim that the welfare state needs reforming due to this case? A reform that would simply widen the gap between rich and poor, desecrate equality and destroy lives. Statistics and figures should have no prevalence over people’s quality of life. Money should mean nothing but it consumes fucking everything.

In a society based on logic the concepts of ‘underprivileged’ and ‘deprived’ would not exist and people would not be perceived as either rich or poor

-but simply people.

 

To Sever for Years

Allegedly there is a severance between people and politics in this country: but is there really?

Perhaps politics has become disengaged from us? Admittedly we as a nation have changed significantly since the 1950s when political engagement was at a high, however, has politics itself evolved alongside us? I don’t think so.

In an article written by the Chairman of the U.K Youth Citizenship Commission, Jon Tonge, he attempts to claim that youth disengagement is due to a lack of understanding of the term ‘good citizen’ leading to a separation of the ‘good civic participant’ and the ‘active political contributor’.  Maybe that is because these ideal do not exist? Surely creating a generation of ‘good citizens’ would derail the need for different political parties altogether, as by being a ‘good citizen’ everyone would have the same ideals?

These terms mean nothing to me. A ‘good civic participant’ arouses an image of homo-idyllic-duplicates, in which becoming an ‘active political contributor’ merely gives politics more power. If everyone adhered to these ideals, then there would be no disengagement from politics, but a lack of individualism and priority only to the masses; with everyone voting and participating politically this gives those at the top more power, removing the need for parties as surely the ‘good citizens’ would all advocate the same policies.

But realistically this is not ideal for ‘us’. Who wants to become a homo-idyllic-duplicate? Not me. What must be strived for within politics is the enhancement of individualism: making politics important for the individual, making it personal rather than addressing people as a ‘target group’.

But do all politicians want the masses to engage?

In some respects this could have a negative influence on party popularity, for instance, many of those labelled as ‘disengaged’ from politics are also ‘disadvantaged’ and therefore are hardly likely to vote Conservative and become increasingly deprived. Therefore, why is it such a surprise that political disengagement is at an all-time high when the party in power does not desire increased participation?

Rather than focusing on ‘disengagement’ solely, firstly all the ‘dis-‘ needs to removed from society; ‘DISadvantaged’ should not be a term used to describe anyone living within the U.K, a first world country. At the very least people should not be DIScriminated for being DISadvantaged. How can the ‘disadvantaged’ be criticised for ‘disengagement’ when they have no trust, and no reason to trust the political sphere?

Clearly disengagement with politics is ripe, however this is not wholly due to the current idea that ‘people don’t care any more’  or that ‘people don’t understand’ it’s because politics no longer understands the people.  Arguably, the right to vote also entails the right not to vote and the right not to politically participate and therefore political disengagement, rather than being inactive, may be an active stance against the current political climate.

If this continues to derail then politics and the people may sever for years to come.

‘Leftie Multi-Cultural Crap’

One can be as cynical as they want about the Olympic opening ceremony including the suitability of it’s expense in this ever deepening recession. However, perhaps a display of what is quintessentially British was what was needed to remind us that, although we’ve fucked up, we have a lot to be proud of. After all, money is money but happiness; that is something else. I’d like to think that the Olympic opening ceremony made people happy and if that costs 27million quid then so be it. Restoration of pride is what is needed in Britain to remind people that, although David Cameron wants to cut the NHS, we have something great going on here. Mr Cameron: take a look at the Olympic Ceremony and realise what makes US proud to be British and don’t attempt to sabotage something that is so defining of our country. Leftie multi-cultural pride.