Natural selection, naturally; a guide for modern-day survival

September 20, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

By: Rob Hardy

Planning your future got you down? Worried that you’ll never find work in an endeavour more ambitious than pushing a hot dog cart? Are your chances of grad school diminishing as that all-important “A” eludes you while you succumb to falling behind on your ten-chapter-a-week reading lists?

Well, don’t despair, as this survival guide will give you the pointers necessary for success in life (or, in actuality, keeping your head just above water every month).

First thing’s first. All those pesky school problems ruining what should be a non-stop party on the weekends (or back-to-back shifts at the coffee shop)? Well, in case you haven’t figured it out, stop doing anything that isn’t one hundred per cent required or necessary as you plod through your undergrad, and heck, even beyond that. Time is precious, and you need to make sure that every second of reading has immediate and direct application to your goals (which, of course, are landing a great job so you can make a lot of money and get to take it easy one day, thereby allowing yourself to forget about all the nasty inconveniences of life you bitterly had to endure).

Who cares what a bunch of dead guys ever said about life and the world, anyway? And who cares if no one else does? After all, we have Twitter and Facebook now, and YouTube for the times we don’t even feel like reading tweets.

Learning to look out for number one is going to be a huge asset, as it is one of those “transferable skills” that you can take with you as you battle your peers to the death for internships, jobs, raises and promotions. If you want to keep and grow in your current position, make sure to follow the template and keep your bases covered. Risks and initiative pay off for some, but we’re looking for comfort and security here.

Unfortunately, it’s going to be a real task to start scouring that massive Internet footprint you’ve left these past five years or so. Now that Facebook has made the timeline app mandatory for everyone, guess that you’ll be staying up three nights in a row in a stupor from lack of sleep and way too many gummy bears as you manually delete every single post that’s actually funny, is original and expresses the real you – you know, the whole point of why Facebook got popular in the first place before the corporate world tried to get hip and ruined the Internet and self-expression for every single person on the planet. Thanks, guys!

But, hey, you want to stay on that path to 50K+ a year, so what does it matter that you don’t even recognize the business-like persona you are desperately trying to cultivate before you ever even get to the really hard stuff like your resume, customizing 73 different cover letters or researching each company down to their mascot? Are you sure you’re glad you’re done with school, or is this the really bad sequel?

Once you’ve finally traversed all these enormous landmines, urinated into a cup and been asked to justify your very existence as you wait for validation in a blur of job interviews, you can start to breathe a bit easier. You’ve finally gotten your foot in the door and you won’t be sleeping in a box next month (though don’t quit the cafe just yet, in case you get demoted back to intern status). Then again, you might have no choice, as homelessness might start looking good compared to quickly seeing your full-time job with the part-time paycheque morph into nights couch-surfing – this time at the office. Just smile and suck it up, buttercup! You’re young and should be having “the time of your life” at your very first “real job.” Don’t let on that you might actually want to brush your teeth at home once in a while instead of the staff bathroom. This “big project” your team is on is a privilege, after all.

Once you pass this hurdle, too, things will get better. But until then, it’s not like you have your own apartment at this stage anyway. Living with seven other people in the same situation does have its advantages, though.

And once (if?) you do get to that coveted peak of stability and your own pad one day, you just might even get to finally head home early enough to enjoy the dang thing and the ultra-expensive cable you subscribed to, at least for an hour or so before hitting the hay and doing it all over again in the morning. That three-bedroom you’ve had your eye on sure is neat, even if you’re usually not there or unconscious when you are.

This is what awaits, and what you have just read is a sardonic take on the bleak existence many of us find ourselves in during these uncertain times. Do not take the advice seriously (please care about what dead guys have said about life and the world) and aim not to be thrilled at fully subsidizing the experience on your resume while your friends begin to wonder if you’ve deliberately ditched them, as you’ve fallen off the map. You can’t really blame them, though. You did, after all, erase all of their wall posts after monitoring the sanitation of your new profile image with all the severity of your hawkish new boss, all the while secretly daydreaming what you’d really like to be tweeting this morning.

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