Friday, 13 July 2012

'I salute your wrangling of the sex mad future of this country', or: What do you do for a living?

So, what do you do for a living? The ultimate dinner party question. One which I imagine one in five of the under 25 year olds of this country dread being asked. Let's not be so snobbish as to assume that just because they are unemployed they don't go to dinner parties. Or perhaps they're asked it over the sticky plastic table top of Maccy-D. Or it's shouted over the vibrations of heavy synth. Whichever. Stuck in the neo-libralist spiral of the free-market and omnipresent media, where worth is measured by economic contribution and the stock-piling of possessions (if you'll excuse my ranty lefty rhetoric), many adults (and thus god help the 'young adult') feel that they are defined by their job. Don't have a job, enjoy a liminal identity and the pity or judgement of the questioner. Miss Fox wrote a little bit about this a while ago; as she saidI read an interesting article in Stylist magazine about how people who lose their jobs can feel like they’ve lost their identity. That’s sort of how I’m feeling – almost like a non-person. My generation was told that we could do or have anything if we worked hard enough for it, and now, of course, there are many of us in the situation where we have put in the time and effort, and taken on huge debts, only to find out that we’ve been rather misled. Or fucked-in-the-ear, as I prefer. 

As Paul Mason puts it: 'the human expression of a broken economic model'. No wonder the Common People feel Gideon wants to make 'an unemployment figure of you!'

'I'm a Thatcherite; I'm out of control!' 

Ooops, I've gone off on a bit of a tangent again. Tangents are one of my favourite things, as you may have spotted. And parentheses. And puns. I'm a good-time-girl, what can I say?

Anywayback to the opener - the uber-key question: WHAT DO YOU DO? Recently when people have asked me this, I have found myself making a quick decision regarding whether they a) actually want to know, b) might be remotely interested, and c) I can be bothered to explain (and since I love talking about my work, 'c' is time-related practicality rather than an apathy issue). The real question is: Do I just say, 'Drama teacher'? I do, sometimes. It's not a lie; I am a Drama teacher. I just have about nine other jobs too. So, I've experimented a bit.... My most common - and reasonably thorough - is: 'I teach Drama and creative writing to hard-to-reach community groups, and also do sort-of PSHE-ish education stuff, about health and sex and that, in schools'. The 2012 version of my standard, 'in prisons and shit' of 2010 whenever I was trying to explain what I was doing with my life and my degree. 

My 'PSHE-ish' repertoire (Personal, Social, Health Education, for those of you who have avoided schools ever since you legally could) has expanded recently, as I have delivered my first sessions for Cragrats and Family Lives. Enterprise education in Sutton Coldfield (with a delightful night at the North Birmingham Premier Inn and many hours worth of a car full of actors in their late 20s singing 80's power ballads) with the former, and South Croydon far too early in the morning, with a room full of 12 year olds discussing sexting with the latter. Leading a friend to grace me with the compliment found in the title of this post. 

I'm glad it's the weekend, to tell the truth. And that rarely happens (pop psychology explanation of my historic fear of weekends must be saved for another occasion - I need my beauty sleep now). But it turns out freelancing my arse off round London can be bloody tiring. Especially when it involves throwing juggling balls at drug addicts, telling teenage boys how smoking will effect their erections, and pretending to be a penguin with young refugees. What do you do??! Ummm... I'm a Drama teacher...sort of....

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