The Fork in the Road

As always I’m behind in most of my classes so I should be studying on my day off but I’ve been itching to blog all weekend. 

Not sure how to start this post; there’s just so much excitement and uncertainty. Perhaps I’ll start with what I’ve been doing lately. But before I start, something interesting since I last posted; suspended coffees have come to Melbourne!

So, just like all other commerce students I’ve been applying for vacation work, spending hours writing applications, editing my CV and cover letters. I even managed to score myself a partner interview at one of the Big Four accounting firms – BUT I bombed it. Really badly. It’s not all bad news though. It was a bit of a wake call for me to reassess where I’m going, and the direction I want my career to take. In better news, I’ve started a volunteer internship at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival and it’s not glamorous, prestigious or anything like a large corporate but I’m really excited to get to know the team and challenge myself in a more unconventional way.

This brings me to my delayed realisation that perhaps the corporate world isn’t for me, nor has it ever been where I intended to go. After coming back from the Enactus World Cup last year I wrote a post about how I wanted to work with social innovation and entrepreneurship for the rest of my life, but for the last six months I’ve been doing things that seem to get me further and further away from that.

At the end of my final year of high school, I chose to take a BCom over a BA simply because I wanted the skills to make the kind of change I hoped for. But being a commerce student at the University of Melbourne does strange things to you. Without realising it, I got swept up in the rat race of getting my foot in the door, networking, resume filling activities because it’s everywhere and all anyone ever talks about. The sad thing is that it took me a really embarrassing flop of an interview to ask myself why I was trying so hard to get my foot into the door of somewhere I didn’t even want to go. If I had really wanted to go into consulting, I would have actually properly prepared for the interview instead of my rather blasé attitude to the whole process.

All of a sudden, little bits and pieces of the dreams I once held are coming back to me. My dreams in my final year of high school were to work for the UN or some large NGO, to work in a new, exciting and yet unknown field. I wanted to find my passion and challenge myself. That’s why I decided to apply to study in Japan, to throw everything to the wind and see where life took me. I wanted to explore, and live life a little bit crazy. But that didn’t quite happen how I had planned, and the safe structured career progression of a management consultant managed to seduce me into thinking this was the career I had been looking for the entire time. Yet, when I think about the question what would you do if didn’t have to worry about money, my answer would be writing and working in the not-for-profit sector. I’ve always wanted to do something different and challenging in ways that consulting just wouldn’t be and can’t be.

The more I learn about consulting and the more involved I get it becomes clearer that it’s actually variety within routine – the parameters of the problems are always set in frameworks and systems collectively known as the “consultant’s way of thinking.” This kind of constrained variety is what some people look for in their career, and strangely enough talking about my doubts around consulting has made few close friends of mine even more convinced consulting is for them. It’s probably not for me though. I want to push the boundaries of how I think and view the world.

Besides, consultants are in the business of renting out brains and being mostly always right. I think that’s a terrible prospect for my already inflated ego, and definitely will do nothing for the kind of humility I’m looking to develop in my life. In short, I’m probably enough of an asshole without consulting giving me the extremely well paid “right” to advise people on how to do things.

So where does this leave me now? I’m not too sure to be honest, but finding out what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do. I’ve got a few social enterprise ideas that I’m hoping to maybe get going before the end of the year; and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to save up enough money to travel to a few different places this summer since I no longer want to sell my soul doing summer vacation work. That might involve more tutoring or some kind of part-time work alongside my studies but it’s early days still.

Stay tuned for more updates on my ordinary life. Thanks for reading 🙂

Special thanks to the people who listened to my meltdown over not wanting to do consulting anymore and general just panic about what I’m going to do with myself; as well as to the people who have messaged me saying they enjoy reading my blog – I really appreciate it!

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