Monday, 26 October 2009

Finding Something Shiny

Anyone who is subscribed to this blog will know the sporadic manner with which I update. That said, I do feel I have to apologise. I have had wistful thoughts of being the next Charlie Brooker or Caitlin Moran; my judgemental fingers quivering upon the pulse of the British nation, my opinion that more objective for being in China. Covering stories like the “blacking up” scandal seen in Vogue a week or so ago, the new wave of young sailors taking to the high seas to traverse the world and my generation’s apparent addiction to the Interwebz have genuinely been considered as blog topics.

This happens so often; I have the whole piece virtually written in my head. Then, alas, I find something shiny, like Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist streamed on some site, and all hope of writing anything is subsequently lost.

It is a frightfully sad thought, but if I were to be paid for this then I would probably be more motivated. I would sit down in the trendy café, in a manner very similar to my current one, and type away about the wonders of democracy, the struggles of the third world and how much we all hate Jan Moir.

I have, however, yet to receive the traffic or demonstrate the reliability of someone worthy of being paid for something like this. Woe. Is. Me.

I have been thinking about the future a lot. I know! How very un-Buddhist of me; I should be living in the moment and all that, like Jonny Wilkinson, but it’s been fun sort-of-not-really planning my future.

The more I think about it the less I can see myself moving to China and working here after I graduate. From people I have talked to this seems to be the only real option for graduates of Chinese and, quite frankly, I don’t like it.

I don’t know what this says about me, but I think the fact I am so away from YouTube and the “community” when I am here has a big thing to do with it. I feel like I was doing so much with rhymingwithoranges when I was back home: the charity work, Summer in the City, working on lots of different projects, and all of a sudden they have all been put on hold.

I feel like I could still have something of a YouTube franchise here. There are some fantastic video shows here; Sexy Beijing, Danwei, that I feel I could find a niche somewhere. I have been thinking that, when my Chinese gets better, I could start doing interviews with some interesting people here. I already have a couple in mind.

But then, I don’t know, I feel like it would be miniscule in terms of what I could do back home.

Maybe I’m not looking at the big picture enough. Am I really going to be on YouTube for the rest of my life? Am I going to be able to make a living from it? ‘Cuz, let’s be honest, I’m no viral sensation.

Also, if I choose to focus on YouTube I will, inevitably, end up falling into some kind of media. I have always kind of been wary of choosing journalism as my profession. No offence to any journalists who happen to read this blog, but I have always thought that that job tends to be full of talkers, not doers. I want to be a doer, can I be one if I choose this direction? I mean, it’s all very well promoting debate etc etc, but most of the time I feel like I’m preaching to the converted. I don’t want to be a preacher either.

I also have to consider what I am going to do after summer 2011, when I graduate and am set loose into the real world. Should I do a Master’s? If I do, what should I do? Where should I go? It’s a scary proposition.

At this point in the blog I think I would usually be expected to wrap up with some kind of conclusion and evaluate what I have learnt through this train-of-thought journey. But honestly, I‘ve got nothing.

Ooh! V V Brown’s album on Spotify! Shiny.


Andrej said...

As one (even more!) sporadic blogger to another, I thought I'd share my two pence:

Up until a couple of years ago, I was on course for a good hands-on politics degree, one of the few in the country that would give me some kind of door to working in or around Westminster, and then I got hit by health problems that made me drop out.

Since then my blog has been a bit of a political outlet for me, but like you I've never been much of a fan of journalism either, and I'd much rather feel like I was actually doing something rather than just sitting poking holes in what other people are doing.

This said, my current situation has made me think is that maybe it might be something that would play to my strengths. I feel fairly able to put my feelings into words, as you do. And just occasionally, talkers can be doers as well - the likes of the late Paul Foot and Ludovic Kennedy show us that...

But if there's one thing the past few years have made me realise, it's that however well you have it planned out, the future might not turn out as you expected. My point: by all means plan, but try not to discount anything, because you never know when you might need it!

Brett said...

I'm starting to think this is how everyone is feeling atm with the end of uni slowly slowly looming.
It's a little bit terrifying that you could end up putting a lot of effort into something that you're heart may not be entirely in, or that by choosing to do one thing instead of another you close off a lot of options for your life.
This is why I am reading blogs instead of paying attention to my lecturer

alignedworld said...

I'm finishing high school this spring, so I'm starting to think about the big picture too. It isn't as imminent for me, but I'm having the same struggle you are- that idea of being a doer rather than a talker resonated with me, because I want the same thing but I'm not sure how to get there either.
I don't really have any answers, but just know that you are far from the only one who is trying to figure all of this stuff out. :)

Alan said...

Considering your more immediate future plans is wise, in part, because the economy generally is tanked and your opportunity choices may be more limited. He who has some plan has a better chance, in my opinion, and at least a better sense of who he is. So good on your for where you are in your head right now.

Most people don't end up doing what they planned in college. Things change, life is about discovery and self-discovery. What I hear in your "doing" vs. "Talking" internal debate is that you want to be influential. To affect your world. Thats a good thing, and you start by choosing a path that brings you, first, the income to live a lifestyle with which you are comfortable. The world doesn't want doers or thinkers who are also unemployed.

So focus on what you would like to try as your first job, and think a little smaller. Figure out what you can "do" everyday that affects the things in the room with you. Whether thats painting a picture, making something, assembling something, teaching someone something or writing a story, do things first for those you can physically touch. And find somewhere to do it that sees the value and pays you enough for rent, etc.

Most importantly, however, you have to feel a passion for whatever this is you do every day. Care. Be proud when its right, upset when its less than perfect, motivated to do it again and again and again, over and over, never losing the passion for making it, whatever it is, right.

For me, thats the guests in my hotels. For over 30 years, I've been excited about going to work to see how close I can come to making my hotel provide a perfect visit for all my guests. I love it even more today than I did when I was your age just starting out. Thats the kind of passion you have to search for and find for your career. I do things every day, and they affect people. Not globally, but what I do creates memories that endure for thousands, and provides a variety of comfortable lifestyles for hundreds of people who work in my hotels.

This wasn't my first job. It took me a try to discover where my passion was, and I found it after failing in one job and then becoming very introspective and realizing that my earliest passionate memories were of watching things work in hotels. Within days I had made a career change and its been satisfying ever since.

So look inside yourself, think small to start with, and most importantly, find your passion.

黄典林 said...

Dear Jazza, I watched your videos on youtube when i was searching something about how people from west think about chinese language and culture. Why not do something more academic about linguistics and intercultural communication in the future as you are so sensitive to people's linguistic behaviours and political implications of language uses. Probrably when people enter a new cultural and linguistic environment, which is actually a completely new world of meaning, a different way of making sense, they would find some more subtle things in cultures and the deep inside of human beings. That's my feeling now in Australia, where i am studying as a chinese phd student whose english peoficiency really sucks. Plus, totally agree with your opinions on media as a mediated form of representation. Anyway, wish you have a nice time in China where you cant miss the chance to see its tradition, its people, their ways of life, their desperation and hope, and the bizarre junction between the premodern, the modern, and the post-modern within a single nation-state. ----- Dianlin, sydney, AUS.