I’m not exaggerating when I say that my dream job as a child was to become a journalist. Whilst everyone else was choosing to be a vet or astronaut, I was the only child in my class that dreamt of being a full time journalist. And that dream has stuck with me ever since. All of my friends know it. All of my family know it. Becoming a journalist is my biggest goal in life. So much so that it has started to consume me.
I’ve always loved writing, whether it was essays, creative writing, or articles for my school’s magazine. I’ve always been a creative person with a detestation for mathematics and logical thinking. Therefore, as soon as I arrived at university, I began searching for opportunities to make my journalism dream come true. I started writing for any publication that would take me and created articles about topics that I was passionate about. For me, every article needed to be bigger and better than the last. I wanted to leave a mark on the world with my writing. However, it has now reached a point that every experience I have, I try to twist it into a revolutionary article. What does this say about society? What does this say about me? How can I write about this?
It’s safe to say that it’s a problem. No longer are TV shows used for easy viewing and books for an escape from reality. They are fuel for my next article. Nothing seems to be about simple enjoyment anymore. I believe that this may come from the idealisation of ‘hustle culture’ and how everyone is supposed to be grafting hard all day everyday to become successful and make a lot of money. Taking breaks and looking after oneself is not viewed as productive or useful. This narrative feeds into the idea that everyone needs to be a useful cog in the massive machine that is capitalism. Being a productive member of society is so important nowadays that people forget that looking after themselves should be their main priority in life. I’m guilty of putting my work first. For my whole life I have been told to prioritise my mental health over my education, I have never once listened to that advice in my life. I am a hypocrite when I tell my friends that taking a break from work is essential, since I don’t do this myself. I feel as though I am not completely to blame, as society has a lot to answer for too due to its constant promotion of working ridiculously long hours. With slogans such as ‘work hard, play hard’ and ‘time is money’ thrown in our faces on a daily basis, how can anyone not prioritise work?
The social media application, LinkedIn, is also a culprit in this mindset. LinkedIn, essentially being an online CV and a place where you can sell yourself to employers, has created a space where everyone is sharing their successes and new adventures that they are taking in the job world. No one is going to highlight their failures in front of their possible future employers and therefore, everything they showcase is perfect and impressive. Those starting out in the daunting world of jobs will be intimidated by the sheer amount of experience that they will need to catch up on to even be considered as a viable candidate for any career. This has created a ruthless atmosphere in which everyone is an enemy and you always feel like you need to be doing more to stand out from the ocean of experienced young professionals.
Yes, I see the irony in writing an article about writing consuming my life. But, as for many others, writing gives me a voice and allows me to eloquently express my feelings that I just couldn’t communicate with spoken words. However, before, writing was a hobby and has somehow manifested into a possible career path. Now every decision I make is driven by this career goal and it controls my life. Our mentality surrounding careers and jobs needs to change due to it being so detrimental to our health and outlook on life. We are not supposed to work ourselves to death before even graduating.
Image courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters.