When I was 17, I sat down with my high school careers counsellor to map out my future. My list of demands could not have been simpler. I wanted to be a performer and I wanted a job that would not prevent me from wearing my footy jumper to work. He encouraged me to do a Creative Arts degree at Melbourne Uni. I was excited. I felt so certain I was on target, like a dart heading towards a bullseye but the years that followed more closely resembled a game of pin the tail on the donkey; always aware that I was vaguely heading in the right direction but never quite sure exactly where I was going to end up.
I followed Mr Reece’s advice. Three years later I had my degree but there was no job immediately forthcoming… So I did what any 21 year old in my situation would do – more study but after another year of writing poetry and performing student theatre, my problem was still not solved. My acting agent didn’t call, there was no lead role in a West End musical. Instead, I spent the summer flipping pancakes in Forest Hill.
A full time role working with Rove McManus’ production company Roving Enterprises eventually came my way soon after that. It was a cool workplace, a renovated warehouse in Abbottsford. There was a fusball table in the kitchen. I sensed I was getting closer to pinning the tail on the right part of the donkey but ultimately large parts of my role involved organising food for Peter Helliar which I found annoying. I spent my Saturday nights chopping carrot and celery sticks and presenting them to him with biscuits, cheese and dip.
After that, I spent about 4 months selling computers dressed in a white shirt and red tie and ended up getting further away from the donkeys backside again.
It’s seems so easy when you’re 18 doesn’t it? The courses available to you are so limited compared with the millions of jobs facing you after you finish studying. I’m always trying to head in the direction but it’s not always easy knowing what’s going to come your way or whether you’re getting warmer or colder.
I know I’m not alone. One of my old school mates, Dhugal embarked on a Science degree after he finished school only to end up coaching the Japanese international cricket team. Another, Waleed struggled through an Engineering/ Law double degree only to end up hosting The Project on channel 10.
What profession did your careers counselor choose for you in high school and what did you end up doing? Leave a comment below…