Another school, and this time thinking about careers. Year 7 once more, getting them to write their first CV – eventually. It starts with asking them to think about their top ten dream jobs. “Footballer” is one that comes up a lot. But more and more recently “YouTuber” is common. It used to be “Celebrity” but that’s not there so much now. By year 7 though, you hope that steps have been taken to move towards that goal.
If a kid says footballer I’ll ask if they’re on the youth program for any clubs. Often they are, and often for clubs they don’t support. Geography and parenting plays its part. Just as often they love watching football, and on a first question they’re drawn towards what they love watching. When “What are you doing for fitness?” meets “I play Fortnite” then it’s a good time to encourage some wider thinking.
I remember these career days at my school. I would put “actor” in every box and then eloquently defy anyone who tried to switch my head. I spoke to a young woman like young me today : “So you only want to be an actor. But even very successful actors have gaps between jobs where they do other things. You might not want to split your focus, but actors can find themselves with time on their hands, and they use their skills in many other spheres of life. You might consider having another income stream running alongside the acting.” (Like mentoring / van driving / invigilating / construction / after dinner speaking / film set driving / ASMing / fixer work / repurposing / Carrying / Proof Reading / Script Reading – to name just a few of mine in the last couple of years, and those are the ones that spring to mind before I start to apply thinking. Because to be excellent you also need to be flexible about self-identity. And yes I’m calling myself excellent.)
I didn’t feel telling her I was an actor was the right thing for where she was in her growth towards herself. Who knows if she’ll end up one of us. The “Footballer” “actor” “youtuber” bracket is often shorthand for “I’ve really not thought about this and I don’t want to and I’ll fall into something.”
Through the day we encourage kids to think a bit more about their value system. What they need out of life to make them happy. We get them to make steps towards writing a CV. It’s a lovely day, and unusual for the kids. They were great today, although primarily because their teachers were massive authoritarians. They had been trained to obedience through habit and fear. Lots of standing in line. Lots of hard words from teacher.
But today for the first time I’ve experienced in an inner city school like that, lots of them ended up with “politician” as an option. One kid had “Prime minister.” Usually I don’t see these kids contemplating a life in politics. But in terms of understanding what the bulk of people have to cope with, I’d sooner vote for that kid than most of the examples of thoughtless privilege who are eating our future right now.
It’s all academic if we’ll be dead in two generations. But even after the extinction some humans will be left I guess. Good to make sure they’re thinking.