I’ve often thought of my experience of adulthood thus far as one of incrementally discovering that there’s no institution, or walk of life, in which everybody isn’t just winging it. Growing up, I assumed that the newspaper on the breakfast table must be assembled by people who truly knew what they were doing; then I got a job at a newspaper. Unconsciously, I transferred my assumptions of competence to (among others) people who worked in government. Then I got to know a few people who did – and who’d admit, after a pint or two, that their jobs involved staggering from crisis to crisis, concocting credible-sounding policies in cars en route to press conferences, exactly as portrayed in The Thick of It.
And even then I found myself assuming, self-hatingly, that this might be explained by a certain bumbling Britishness, the perverse pride we sometimes take in shambling mediocrity. Then I started working in America. Where, it turns out, everyone is totally just winging it.
This realisation is alarming at first, but it’s ultimately deeply reassuring.
Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend! We recorded this pilot many internet moons ago over too much wine but we hope you enjoy it. We’ll be on a #relevant internet schedule very soon.On the agenda: Special IRL circumstances, smug Californians, the Obamacare struggle is real, menstruation clickbait, Beyonce’s influence, and drunk online shopping. Plus: What’s in a name?
My bestie Ann and I launched a podcast!
The key is just to find work that won’t steal all your energy and kill your spirit. This is hard, and takes time, but you will find it eventually if you keep trying.
Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.
We are living in a time of heightened significance. The stakes seem higher and our choices matter more.