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How to Be Realistic About Your Job Prospects: A Practical Guide

What if you can't be bothered to put in all the groundwork needed for your dream job, because you really need to be up to date on what's going on in 'Revenge' and enjoy napping? What if you mistakenly came to this blog for useful life advice?

Shock and/or horror at the news that 'there is a massive mismatch between young people's career expectations and the reality of jobs available'. A recent survey has, presumably through some form of magic, managed to realise that teenagers want cool, well-paid jobs, preferably without having to get any pesky qualifications. Unfortunately, what they didn't realise is that they could have found this out in a much easier way: by realising that of course they do. That's what everyone wants. There was little need to go around with clipboards playing a game of 'would you rather grow up to be 'A: a popstar', or 'B: a mindless, coffee-soaked drone who does paperwork for nine hours a day without much recognition like 90% of the workforce.?''.

The revolutionary survey revealed that not many 13-16 year olds want to work in restaurants, hotels or finance, where a quarter of available employment actually lies. Of course they don't. When you're thirteen, your list of ideal jobs probably includes 'videogame tester', 'pizza tester' and 'telling people you totally already smoke weed (but actually it was crushed up rosemary someone in the year above sold you)', or all those three professions combined in an unholy mess of cheese and pixels which is unlikely to constitute anybody's concept of a constructive nine-to-five.

Not having realistic ambitions is part of being a teenager. That's why you're not fully grown yet. You still a lot of leftover imagination from childhood, and the part that isn't directed towards being all like 'urgh mum and dad, you don't even know how lucky you are, everyone else my age is already pregnant and in prison' is directed towards the thought that when you grow up you are going to be the perfect combination of rich, famous, successful, respected and universally loved, like if Stephen Fry and Nelson Mandela had a baby and it cured cancer. The 11,000 thirteen to sixteen year olds they asked were most likely too busy necking breezers at an older sibling's party before crying for nearly four hours because someone didn't text them back.

As they should do. It would be a sad day if all people under eighteen suddenly started deciding they wanted to go into HR for a medium sized plastics company as the life insurance was really very reasonable. There'd be no storylines left for terrible teen dramas. It'd just be people walking around discussing Ucas forms before abstaining from sex until marriage.

Although that may not be too far from the truth. For all the conclusions drawn from the survey, the list of top ten most popular jobs has accountant at number three. ACCOUNTANT. How on earth does that constitute overly ambitious expectations? Sure, if you have to use the calculator on your phone to work out the cost of your Snickers duo plus the other Snickers duo you might have straight after (70p+70p), then it might not be for you (and you should probably go for a diabetes test), but it's a lot more realistic than 'billionaire pornstars with nobel prizes' or whatever people think they want.

Along with accountant, such dizzyingly impractical professions like policeperson and IT consultant also make the top ten. How dare these kids think so highly of themselves! All this survey highlights is that generally people aren't being unrealistic enough. A 'massive mismatch' would be if two thirds of the teen generation genuinely thought that they were going to grow up to be Spacemen who flawlessly solves international crimes for two days a week before going back to their mansion made of Page 3 babes and Kinder Buenos, when in reality they can look forward to laying out the cones around late-night road construction.

To be fair, one of the top ten was a little ambitious, the inevitable actor/actress. Very few people are able to act professionally and manage to even barely support themselves let alone hit the big time. One boy form my year at school actually managed the feat, appearing in a slew of successful films over the last couple of years. How did he do it? A rare blend of talent and epic hard work. He threw himself at what he was passionate about so hard he didn't even have time to watch TV. Seriously, he had no idea what was going on in The OC or Gossip Girl. Imagine!

But what if you can't be bothered to put in all the groundwork needed for your dream job, because you really need to be up to date on what's going on in 'Revenge' and enjoy napping? What if you mistakenly came to this blog for useful life advice?

Use my plan. When I was six I told my mum I wanted to be bin man. Why? Because they only seemed to work early mornings so I could be home in time for Teletubbies. I cleverly managed to set the bar so low so early that whatever I do end doing will probably be way more satisfying. All you need to do is convince yourself that your self-worth means you'd be underqualified for cleaning loos and you're sorted for life! Come join me and be an anomaly on their survey. It's great. (Sort of.)