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毕业等于失业?  

2011-12-01 12:10:18|  分类: 他山之石 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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作者: 雅茨?贾格尔为英国《金融时报》撰稿

 

英国青年失业率已经达到历史上的最高水平,今天的年轻人,包括我在内,都开始重新思索“职业生涯”这个词的涵义。

对于任何一个24岁或不到24岁的人,它就像一头怪兽,盘踞在我们面前,傲慢地注视着我们。每当有成年人像问孩子一样问起:“长大后,你想当什么?”重音总是放在“当”字上——当你四肢发育完全,开始穿笔挺的衣服时,你会选择哪一条道路来给自我定位?

然而对于今天的大学毕业生,身份认同却是一个棘手的问题。他们很可能正在靠领失业救济或者啃老度日,觉得自己一钱不值:破碎的自恃、凋零的自尊,还有窘迫的钱包,都窝在家中那间旧卧室里。一想到还要向屹立不倒的学生贷款公司寄支票还贷款,就情不自禁地要开一瓶威士忌,借酒浇愁。

而与此同时,我们的能力却被坐在光鉴照人的桌子对面、穿着笔挺西装、戴着珍珠项链或袖扣的成年人们大加嘲笑。

在第200份热情洋溢的求职信和简历被丢进垃圾桶后,我们开始考虑:“去你的吧。作为一个身份低微、文凭毫无用处的文科毕业生,我在前途方面应该能比那些更理性的职场伙伴们多一点创造力。”

那么,去做蛋糕怎么样?想吃多少糖霜蛋糕就做多少。也有人靠在度假胜地替人测试滑水道赚钱。当个农民也不错,农民应该是所有劳动者中最幸福的一群人。2009年,还有人赢得了一份在一座天堂一样美的岛屿上守岛半年的工作。这么好的工作谁都没办法拒绝。

然而回到现实世界,我的朋友们从大学毕业就一直在麦当劳(McDonald's)当收银员或是收拾盘子的清洁工。

即使这样,也比当一个毫无自由的可悲的实习生强得多。我的一个朋友当了两年实习生,在自己贴了数百英镑,还积攒了一肚子有害身心健康的怨气之后,甚至听到她的一个老板哈哈大笑地说:“他们(实习生)简直像一群猫鼬——太猴急了!”办公室里每个人都觉得这个比喻很有趣。

除了她。可她却只能被支走,再帮人倒些咖啡。

或许“理想的工作”这回事已经不复存在了。我曾告诉父亲,我喜欢书,喜欢它们被裱装成册的样子。他大声说:“书籍出版这个产业快要消亡了。”

广告行业的人倒似乎一直都挺开心的——难道是因为他们是那样擅长推销,都把自己推销给自己了?而银行家们也过着觥筹交错的日子。闪亮耀眼、火花四溅的谷歌(Google)怎么样?它好像既有趣又疯狂,而且代表着未来。

后来我咨询了一位职场心理学家——职场辅导机构Mendas的西蒙?德雷科特(Simon Draycott)。他说金钱和名誉显然都不是答案。尽管我违心地说,“当然,你是对的,完全正确”,但他并没有完全说服我。我们对心理医生这么说,只是为了让自己看起来不像一个只盯着钱的废物——至少我是这样想的。

但事实证明他说的没错,有研究显示,金钱并不等于幸福。工资、奖金、蜚声世界——用心理学的术语说,这些都是“保健因素”(hygiene factor)——它们能在一定程度以内让我们喜悦,但如果没有更多的物质,我们就又会感到空虚。

研究社会心理学的心理学博士西蒙?卢特比(Simon Lutterbie)聪明干练,供职于iOpener人际和绩效研究所(iOpener Institute of People and Performance)。他说:“答案在于挑战。一项重要的心理学发现是,我们在临近实现一项目标时最为喜悦。”

艾伦?亚历山大?米恩(AA Milne)也总结出了同样的观点,他写道:“‘嗯,’维尼熊说,‘我最喜欢的是……’它停下来开始思考。因为尽管吃蜜糖是件极其美妙的事,但在吃到蜜糖前,有那么一瞬间,简直比吃到了蜜糖还美妙,可是它却不知道那一刻叫作什么。”

现在,一百万失业的年轻人正处在临近实现某项目标的边缘吗?如果是的话,那个目标是什么?我大学毕业时,就感觉自己濒临那个边缘。从那时开始,我就认定,疯狂地投简历、上班时没完没了地写备忘贴,不算是正经的工作挑战。现在肯定要有某种类似蜜糖的东西才行吧。

译者/王柯伦

 

 Young and jobless: the voice of one in a million

By Jazz Jagger

 

Youth unemployment is at an all-time high and the young of today – including me – are starting to reassess the meaning of this term “career”.

It has become a strange animal for anyone aged 24 and under, as it sits staring at us, smugly. When adults ask us, as children: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the emphasis is on the “be” – what path will shape your identity as your limbs develop and you start to wear stiff clothes.

But self-identity is a touchy subject for today’s graduates, who are likely to be on the dole, scrounging off their parents and feeling worthless for doing so: broken pride, diminishing self-worth and financial despair bottled up in their old bedroom back at home. We are tempted to knock back beakers of Talisker at the thought of the cheques to be made payable to the ever-present student loan company.

Meanwhile, our qualifications are being laughed at over polished table-tops by grown-ups in stiff suits and beads or cufflinks.

As the 200th impassioned covering letter and CV is tossed into the bin, we think: “To hell with this – as a lowly arts graduate with a pointless degree, perhaps I could afford to be a bit more creative about career possibilities than my more sensible vocational buddies.”

So how about working as a baker? As many iced buns as you can eat? Or there are people who get paid to test water slides in holiday resorts. Or farming – farmers are supposed to be the happiest of all workers. And in 2009 someone won a job as a caretaker on a paradise island for six months. You can’t say no to that.

Back in the real world, my friends have worked as refuse collectors and behind the counter at McDonald’s since leaving university.

That’s still far preferable to being a miserable tethered intern. A friend, after two years of interning that cost her hundreds of pounds and an unhealthy accumulation of cynicism, even heard one of her bosses chortle that “they” (interns) were “like meercats – so eager!”. Everyone in the office thought this was funny.

She didn’t. She was just sent off to make more coffee.

Perhaps there’s no such thing as a “dream job” any more. I told my father I was into books and liked the way they were worked on and laid out. “Book publishing is a dying industry,” he boomed.

People in advertising always seem fairly happy – or is that because they become so good at selling that they sell themselves to themselves? And those bankers pop a lot of champagne corks. Or what about shiny, sparkling Google? It looks fun, crazy, the future?

Then I spoke to an occupational psychologist, Simon Draycott at Mendas career coaching, who said money and fame were definitely not the answers. “Of course, you’re right, you’re completely right,” I retracted, not entirely convinced. We only say these things to psychologists so that we don’t look like money-grabbing wasters – or so I thought.

But it turns out to be true – research shows that money just doesn’t add up to happiness. Salary, bonuses, worldwide adoration – these things are “hygiene factors” in psychological terms – they please us up to a point, but without more substance we soon feel empty again.

“It’s about challenge,” says Simon Lutterbie, an astute DPhil in social psychology from the iOpener Institute of People and Performance. “It’s one of the great psychological findings that we are at our happiest when we are on the brink of achieving something.”

AA Milne summed up this trait, too: “‘Well,’ said Pooh. ‘What I like best...’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

Are a million young unemployed people on the brink of achieving something? If so, what might it be? When I left university I felt on that brink. Since then, I’ve decided that firing off CVs and Post-It-note stacking do not count as legitimate working challenges. Surely there now has to be some kind of honey involved.

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