My last year of university was one of the most stressful and confusing times of my life. I had always though I knew what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be when I grew up, and where I was heading. Then, suddenly faced with reality, I wasn’t sure where that person fit in. I’m still not sure where that person fits in. Trying to follow what you’re passionate about, but also being reasonable financially and socially is challenging. Would I like to just travel the world and better understand cultures, people, politics, religion, globalization and the future of human kind? Absolutely. Would I like to improve social life, reduce poverty, violence against women and all other social injustices? That’s literally all I want. But after university, I was A) confused about my privilege and how one goes about working in the field of international development without it becomming more problematic that it was to begin, B) how one finds a job in that field…
It was a confusing and frustrating year. Throughout the year my post-grad plans went all over the place. I had plans to do a masters, teach in South Korea, work in Malawi, go back to school for Social Work, work as a recruiter for a university, and do an internship for the government of Ontario in Toronto. If most of you follow my story, then you know I chose the last amazing opportunity and spent my summer after university interning in the Associate Ministry of Finance for the Government of Ontario working on a Multicultural Portfolio that the Minister was assigned. It was a hard decision going to Toronto, and one that was ultimately won by its proximity to my family, friends and boyfriend, its amazing connections and learning opportunities and also the potential that it may lead to something further in the vast unknown of what is my life. However, if you have been following my story than you may have known that I was desperately unhappy. Living in Toronto, on just over minimum wage at 35 hours a week isn’t awesome. I was also working way more than 35 hours (but because its an internship I wasn’t getting paid for it). I would work several evenings a week, and a fair share of weekends too. The problem I had most was that I found myself with very little to do during my actual workings hours of 9-5 and then suddenly, after I was done work, had meetings and other events that I had to attend. Not to mention, I felt powerless (obviously because I was an intern) but I wanted to do more, I was capable of doing more, and the bureaucracy of government makes it so frustrating. You have to go through so many people to get the simplest of tasks done. There was also too much politics in the politics. I hated that certain people had to be invited to certain meetings because of status and eliteness, or that it mattered what colour folder we used, or what room they went to. It probably didn’t help that I’m not used to working a desk job, and it was my very first time sitting inside all summer, while watching my friends all hang out on a beach and get paid more than I did for it. Me = super unhappy. I could have tried to make something out of the opportunity, but truthfully, I knew it wasn’t for me. In the end, I don’t regret doing things like that, jobs are like dating… you need to test them out to find out what you like.
So I said so long government, I’m heading home to Thunder Bay to be an unemployed post-grad and join the rest of the millennials… too-ta-looooo! And guesss whaaaaaaat, I was miserable when I moved back too! I was like wtf am I doing with my life, I thought I knew, but I don’t, now I’m broke, confused, angry and sad, and its summer out and I haven’t done any summery things and I just wanted to go camping so I went camping and the tent door was broken so a skunk kept trying to sneak in to my tent because the tent door wouldn’t close, so my camping trip was cut short forcing me to leave early – frustrated, tired and utterly disappointed that I couldn’t even do the simplest of things and went back home to my parents because that’s where I live because I’m broke and miserable and am doing nothing with my life.
*Insert a lot of existential breakdowns the past 14 months*
And on the way home from that frustrating camping trip, once my phone reaches service again, I see that I have a voicemail…. and it’s from WestJet offering me a job as a Flight Attendant to start in 3 weeks.
Being a Flight Attendant was always one of those jobs that I was like hmm I should really do that. It seems perfect for me. I love working with people, I love a changing and face-past environment, I have a background in emergency first aid, I love travelling….. you get the picture. But being a flight attendant was also one of those jobs that you never really take too seriously in attempting to get, or at least I didn’t. I would occasionally apply for them and then not follow through, not really ready to commit. Until I got that call from WestJet, and I knew that was exactly what I needed to be doing right now.
I still don’t know what I’m going to be doing in 10 years, or how I’m going to fulfill my lifelong dreams of working in international development whilst not unconsciously colonizing cultures with my westernized lens in attempting to aliviate social injustices. I still want to stop violence against women on a global scale. But for right now, I couldn’t ask for anything better than being a flight attendant for Westjet. I love the company, I love the people I work with, I love the people that are on my flights, I love paying off my debt and travelling at the same time, and most of all I love the flexibility and freedom of being able to figure out my next steps while not having existential crisis’ every other week.
I can hear the irony in this entire post. This privileged girl, gets an education, wants to help the world, is frustrated because she doesn’t know how to with their not being any jobs – whilst the people she wants to help are working a million times harder than she is, and then she gets a job as a flight attendant and now has time to figure it all out with the security of having a job, and getting to travel to tropical destinations for cheap. This world is fucking confusing folks and I can’t for the life of my understand that in the slightest. But I hope to one day get a little bit closer to doing so.
To all my millennials, struggling to find a job with way too much education and experience already, we’ll get there. And when we do we’re going to kick ass. I have so much faith in our generation. We are a generation that is demanding change and movement towards a better world that we can live in together. There might not be jobs for us right now, but that’s okay, we’ll keep working, and studying and learning and when our day comes the world should watch out. I can’t wait for you to become our future politicians, leaders, musicians, scientists, lawmakers, artists, visionaries, I can’t wait for our millennial, the women and men of all races and colours to start making this a world better place where all humans regardless of race, gender, status, orientation or ability can live peacefully together.