John Walker's Electronic House

by on Apr.15, 2005, under The Rest

Oh dear me, it’s been a while.

The dissertation was over by last Thursday, handed in that afternoon. To answer the question everyone asks, nope, I’ve no idea if I’m happy with it. I know that I wish I’d made some points differently, having thought of some things I really should had said on Monday. I was explaining the logic of the argument to someone, and in doing so said something so utterly perfect (forgotten since) that it would have ensured mathematics would have to increase upper limits on percents in order to mark it fairly. As it stands, I cannot fathom whether it will receive marks in the low 50s, or creep toward the 70s. I can argue it either way in my head. We shall see.

However, handing it in did not secure a few days of sheer relaxation. Thursday night was spent at Sian’s while she finished, which was at about 4am. Then Friday handing hers in and some entertaining shopping in Bristol. And then the weekend was spent in Wales with some of the older teenagers I’ve worked with for the last three years. It was a splendid time, relaxing in Wales, sort of youth work but not quite, and has set my mind thinking about all manner of things about how youth work works, and how youth workers create pretend versions of themselves to present to youth groups, and so on. But that’s all but small fry compared to the mind-thinking that dominates…

I’ve realised (well, I’ve just realised that I’m writing one of those awful diary-entry blog posts, as if anyone cares about the minute details of my busy week, but phew, here comes a valid subject for writing about…) that I’ve never made a plan for my life.

It’s quite a huge realisation, and moreso when I wonder at how I’ve not noticed this before. Warning: here comes the complete life history of John: After failing my A Levels once (NNE, since you wondered. There are two groups of people in the world: those who got an N, and those who didn’t know you could get Ns. They’re like a U, but Not quite), and then doing poorly in the retakes (EED, nosy), I applied for a Radio Film and TV Studies degree on something that I can only think of as a whim. The course was already full, and I had to talk my way onto it in a very strange phonecall. That was a pretty dreadful degree (although the first year was alright) and halfway through the second year I did some work experience at Talk Radio (as it was called then, before evil Kelvin Mackensi demolished it completely). Due to a technical hitch that night I ended up being useful, and I was offered a place on the show’s team. “Poor John” they called me, because I wasn’t paid. So that meant leaving uni, and moving back in with parents. Talk Radio stuff came to an end (not before they paid me for some stuff) after a few months, and at around that time I somehow ended up pitching work to PC Gamer. I forget how that happened now. And at the same time my friend Steve asked if I would help him with the youth groups at the church he vicared for. Three years later and I find myself applying for the youth work degree, just as something to do next rather than as part of some complex plan, and the magazine work kept going. Three years later again, and I’m finally here, now. And I’ve no idea what to do next.

Part of me seems to assume that something will come up. It always has before. But that’s madness – I’ve just been incredibly fortunate so far. To be fair to me, I’ve done a decent job of the stuff I’ve done, but none of it ever happened on purpose.

As of July, I’ve got what alternately presents itself as either a hopeless void of nothingness, or all the potential in the world. Key issue: I’ll need to make enough money to pay rent/bills. But how? Do I try to do more writing? Do I get another youth work job? Find more education? Or something else. If anyone knows, please tell me.

19 Comments for this entry

  • MHW

    Key issue: I’ll need to make enough money to pay rent/bills. But how?

    You could turn Brian’s Guide into a pay sight.

    Hee. I kill me.

  • John

    As is only appropriate after that typo.

  • Anonymous

    deep sea diving

  • antichaos

    I’m not aware of many careers in youth work, unless you go for ordination. Let’s just pause and enjoy that mental image.

  • David

    I also don’t know how many careers there are in youth work – in my church there’s a youth minister (who’s leaving tomorrow) and youth leaders who usually work in 2s/3s with different age groups. However your church works, I can tell you as someone who has benefited incredibly from several really, really inspiring youth leaders that it’s probably a thankless task most of the time but I think there will be always be some who are given so so so much by your work. If it’s something that you can do and want to do, I’d urge you to carry on with the youth work in whatever capactiy you can.

    But you also make They’re Back worth reading so please carry that on as well.

    I’m only 15 so what do I know? But I reckon you don’t really need any plan – stick to what you’re good at, let that take you where it takes you. And for heaven’s sake, have fun on the way.

  • John

    “I’m not aware of many careers in youth work.”

    Ignorance is bliss. Have a look in the back of Youthwork Magazine. There are enormously more youth work positions available in all sectors than there are people qualified to apply for them. So much so that ridiculous salaries in the mid 20K are being offered. So while it doesn’t offer a career ladder working toward Managing Director of All Youth Work, there is a viable career to be had in it all.

    I’d be an ace vicar.

  • David

    Me: “youth minister (who’s leaving tomorrow)”

    You: “Have a look in the back of Youthwork Magazine”

    *points at Bushey Baptist*
    *points again*

  • bob arctor

    25k isn’t bad for a youth worker. ‘Bout the same as a lot of nurses.

  • MHW

    I’d be an ace vicar.

    Ooh. Yes, yes, do that.

    That offers so much to BEMLi.

  • John

    A heck of a lot more than many nurses. More than games journalists as well. However, I find that I’m not paycheck-driven. Being able to pay rent, bills, food and DVDs are my priorities. After that, it’s about being interested.

  • Clare

    If you don’t stay involved in some form of youth work I will personally come and hit you over the head with a very large bible, one bible bash for every teenager in the country…which is a lot. You are very good at it, you’ve spent 3 years gaining qualifications to prove you’re very good at it and experience to make you even better. It seems a bit of a waste to leave that behind.

    Having said that, you could do youth work voluntarily..whilst earning money another way. But then again that seems a bit silly when you could just get a youth work job and kill both birds with one stone.

    Unless you can find three really good reasons why you shouldn’t go further with youth work then I think you should keep at it. You’re really good! Not necessarily the Christian kind…but youth stuff of some kind.

    You would make a fantastic vicar!

  • Rossignol

    You told me you’d be a shit vicar.

  • Bobsy

    I think you’d make an average vicar.


  • Tim R

    I find I want what I don’t want, and don’t want what I want, nor do I want what I want to want, or not want what I want not to want. If you understand where I’m coming from, you’re screwed.

  • Andy Krouwel

    What makes you think you need a plan? They’re overrated.

    I’ve managed quite well with just a short attention span.

    Whatever you do though, don’t stop writing, eh?

  • alec

    A shit vicar perhaps, but I reckon you’d make a lovely vagrant.

  • Prometheus

    Plans are over-rated. Take Hitler for example. His plans got him nowhere in the end.

  • Bobsy

    A little unfair. Hitler’s plans got him a huge portion of western and central Europe. It was the plans of everyone else in the World that lost it all for him.

  • KM

    Move to the US. We’re in need of some good religion here. And not that crazy George Bush type religion either.