Staff only: Kids, listen up, the big bad world hasn't changed...
With the end of term fast approaching I've just decided to give my 6th years a little lecture on this craven new world that they will be entering. These are kids that have grown up with the kind of luxuries my generation of teens could only dream of; TVs in their bedrooms, free online music, exciting intellectual publications like Nuts and FHM which help boys cope with the fact that they're ugly and weird.
Not that that was ever an issue for me, of course.
I've got to give it to them straight -- when that TV breaks down there mightn't be a new one to replace it if Dad's job in that multinational computer company has moved to China.
The iPod you dropped in the canal the other night when you were drinking cans down at the towpath -- well, it could be a while before Mum saves up enough of her hard-earned pay to get you a new one.
No, that's all too negative. They won't listen to bad news if it sounds, well, 'negative'. Best couch it in terms that appeal to them -- after all, we're not meant to damage their self-esteem.
They're not used to hearing sentences with the word 'not' in them.
So to be more positive, I've decided to take a few popular career choices from 10 years ago and in my special 'everyone is special and wonderful' voice, comfort them with the impression that outside of school, in the big real world, nothing has really changed since 2000.
Here goes. Aimee, you said you loved Big Brother and you wanted to get famous by getting on to the show. All right, so it's gone now, but if you like staying indoors, only going outside when you want a smoke, doing nothing all day but talking 'personal stuff' with your friends, (yeah?) then you're going get to do that. It's called being young and unemployed.
Aaron, you want to be in advertising. Nice choice. Now, although there's no point in advertising anything when nobody has any money to buy things, you can get your work recognised and become sought after. It's called graffiti. Just don't let the Gardai catch you.
Dylan, you want to get onto You're a Star but it's not on any more because RTE don't want to hire the RDS for the auditions. You can't afford to go to England for The X Factor, but wait, there is still a way to become recognised as a performer and fulfil your destiny. It's called busking.
Kim, you wanted to work in the law. If you want to see action in the courts it shouldn't take too long. Although salaries are falling and the cost of living is meant to have got cheaper, you'll soon find that the utility companies seem to think you have won the lottery. Get any kind of a job instead of becoming dependent on social welfare and they'll put you in the courts soon enough.
Don't worry; nothing has changed.