OPINION: Your career dreams are valid, no matter what the Internet says

author avatar by 3 years ago

WORK, eh? What a chore. Every time I see someone complaining about “nobody wants to work these days” my immediate thought is well DUH, work is terrible.

NOT working is terrific. Between lying about on the sofa eating crisps or hauling bricks around all day, I know which one I WANT to do.

But alas, the capitalist society through which we collectively stumble refuses to collapse into a vague system of bartering and favours, so we’re stuck with the concept of having to EARN a living. Ugh.

Not only that, some people are going to judge you for the career you choose, which brings me to my point.

You possibly recognise the photo accompanying this article. It’s from a social media post that has been doing the rounds this week.

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It shows two women; one is named Kendall Jenner. Kendall Jenner is a famous model, and her photo is described in the post as “American model Kendall Jenner in a bikini showing what for many is the perfect body in a woman”.

The other woman is Alyssa Carson, who is described in the same accompanying texts as “the 19-year-old astronaut who became the youngest person in history to pass all NASA aerospace tests and who is now preparing to be the first human to travel to Mars.”

The post then sums up by saying “Heard of [Alyssa Carson]? I think it’s about time we rethink our ideals and aspirations as a society, don’t you? Our daughters need role models to look up to not look at… Get better role models.”

…first of all, some housekeeping: Alyssa Carson is not an astronaut. She is not affiliated with NASA in any way, she has not passed any aerospace tests, and she is not preparing for any manned missions to Mars. She has been to visit many NASA attractions and has attended many space camps, and would very much LIKE to be an astronaut, but she is not in any kind of training with any national space organisation from any country.

It’s not Alyssa Carson’s fault that the narrative has been twisted this way, and it remains incredibly sad that some people still can’t talk about empowering women without pitting them against each other in this cheap, snobbish way.

I hope Alyssa Carson becomes an astronaut. Seeing people achieve their dreams and doing what they love for a living is always wonderful.

In a similar fashion, I am delighted for Kendall Jenner. She is doing what she wants to do, and doing it very successfully. She makes millions of dollars a year for doing exactly what she wants to do. I absolutely fail to see how that sets a poor example in ANY way. “Do what you want to do and get paid a shitload to do it,” is a fine lesson.

I would wish that same result for absolutely everyone in my life. The fact Kendall Jenner is finding success in a bikini evidently sets some people off. What year is it again..?

Is modelling inherently bad? Would I be disappointed if any of the women or men in my life became a successful model? Absolutely not. I’d be pleased as punch, and I’d wager most of the people sharing that shitty post probably would be as well. I would be equally pleased to discover one of my friends had become an astronaut.

This stupid, reductive notion that some jobs or careers are better than others needs to go away.

You wanna be a doctor/model/refuse collector/professional gamer/office manager/actor/rapper/care home assistant/astronaut/barber/member of parliament/piano repair specialist/porn star? Great! There is a market for absolutely all of those careers. Good luck. Don’t try all of them at once though. It’s difficult to cut somebody’s hair while also managing an office while also filming a music video with a piano you’re in the process of repairing.

Your dreams for your career are valid as long as the idea of making a living from them makes you ridiculously happy.

If you get there, no matter what that career is, then congratulations, you’re MY role model.