Monday 18 December 2017

My cider drinking buddy is now asking me for career advice

E grade

This is a first – a student asking me for career advice.

Initially pretending that I didn't hear him as I scuttle off down the corridor to the safe haven of the staff room, one of my Transition Years, Dan, eventually manages to stop me by throwing his body in front of me and virtually flinging me backwards into the antiseptic hand pump on the wall.

"Sorry sir," he says with a grin of triumph, "it's just that I really need your help."

Okay, I think to myself, one last shot and I'm getting into the staff room; if I say the wrong thing I could end up being sued in a couple of years' time.

It's obvious I know nothing about careers.

"Sorry Dan, but I've got to get books in there. Maybe later?"

Calling my bluff, Dan mentions the fact that he shared a bottle of cider with me on that TY trip recently.

I ask him why he's not asking the Career Guidance guy but apparently he quit to go surfing in Panama for Christmas.

We end up sitting in the empty school hall and Dan tells me that he's been working weekends up in Dublin, staying in his auntie's and then coming back home for school on Sunday nights.

Needs the money as his dad left ages ago and his mum is struggling on her own to feed the family.

He then describes the job he has found.

This consists of walking the streets of Temple Bar every Saturday afternoon with a giant flashing placard on his back advertising a local night spot and getting bottles thrown at him for a couple of hours.

He then stops to grab a kebab before moving on to the second part of his job as a cleaner in the same nightclub.

This means, in his words, working till 4am to mop up urine, booze and 'libido'.

The only thing that makes it the slightest bit bearable is listening to Radio Oval with earphones squeezed all the way in to block out the world while he pounds the cobbles of Dublin.

Dan then launches into an ad hoc review of some 'classic Pink Floyd album' the station played in its entirety that loses me.

He knows that if he can get into college in three years' time that becoming a teacher might be an option, citing the good holidays, dry conditions and how I personally have demonstrated that it's very hard to get sacked.

On the other hand, it seems that after five years teachers get burnt out and become zombies. All true.

In the end this is my advice to him; emigration is always a great option and that if he loves music so much and he doesn't want to go too far from his family, he should find plenty to enjoy in London.

Agreeing that there is no better time to submit yourself to utter humiliation and exploitation than during Transition Year, he agrees to wait and see for another year or so.

Irish Independent

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