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© 2003
Robyn Gallagher

Undecided

It's a common, recurring theme in my life since I left school at the end of the seventh form: I don't know what I want to do.

I envy people who leave school, go to uni, graduate, get a job, work overseas for a few years, whatever. All nice and linear.

The last eight years I've spent not really knowing what I want to do, trying out a few things, having a couple of jobs, and generally finding myself back at "now what?" status.

In fact, check out how I've spent the years since high school:

1992: My final year of high school. Everyone (everyone) asks me, "So Robyn, what are you going to do next year?" Um... I dunno.

1993: I want to be an actor! I did a bunch of drama courses and applied for a couple of drama schools, but before it even got to the audition stage, I realised that I did not actually want to be an actor.

1994: I want to play the guitar! I bought a guitar, got some lessons, learned to play. I'm not sure if I ever aspired to be a musician as a full-time occupation, but I did want to be in a band. It never got that far though. Lack of progress lead to lack of enthusiasm.

1995: I want to be a media arts student! I had been accepted in the Bachelor of Mediarts programme at the Waikato Polytech. The first year totally kicked arse. I did well, and was even top in the written communication, introduction to journalism and design strategies classes.

1996: I want to be a proper university student! I had to pick a major: journalism or film and television. Even though I was really good at it, I hated journalism, so I picked film and television. I discovered that I was technically inept and had developed an allergy to being around film geeks. I didn't want to spend my days mucking around with tripods and cables, so I dropped out and started at Waikato University where I was going to do a BA majoring in music. I'm not sure what the logic behind that was, but I'm assuming there was some.

1997: I want to study linguistics! I moved up to Auckland to study linguistics at Auckland University. I like language and writing, and linguistics was about the closest I could come to that as a university subject. I discovered that I was really crap at linguistics and that linguistics is just maths with words (which apparently most people only figure out in their second year). I walked away with my sanity intact.

1998: I want to work for an ISP! Well, it was either get a job or go back to Hamilton. No debate. It was a small company that was turning into a big company, so there was always something going on. It was my first actual job, and I didn't suck at it. But the question plagued me: did I want to be a "senior accounts clerk" at an ISP for the rest of my life? Hell no!

1999: I want to work for a big evil corporation! And they wanted me to work for them. I was headhunted, though on a pretty minor scale. I worked for a big corporate ISP, I was promoted, got a few raises, and got to work with some pretty cool people.

2000: I don't want to work for a big evil corporation! It was one of those classic cases where a really cool boss leaves, and everything sucks. For a month no one could figure out who my manager was. I had to attend meetings with people who talked about "provisioning solutions". It got to the point where instead of asking myself if I wanted to work there for the rest of my life, I was asking if I wanted to work there for the rest of that week. So I quit.

2001: I want to do... um, lots of things! I've tried lots of different things. I've thought of many different jobs to pursue or things to do, but nothing's worked out. The one thing I really like doing is this web site, but I can't figure out how to turn that into a career.

It's horrible, because whilst I don't have a university degree, it's not like I'm some dumb-arse who's destined to a life behind the counter of a fastfood restaurant, or working in a factory. I have skills, I have talents, I'm just not sure what career matches up with them.