I meet Marie in a backpacker hostel in Picton (New Zealand), where she is taking a break from WWOOFing (“willing workers on organic farms”) for a few days. The 25-year-old French girl is surprised that I ask her if she can give me her From her point of view she has nothing interesting to report, but agrees anyway. We sit under an umbrella in the garden of the hostel and she starts to report indifferently about her career.
Because she enjoyed the subject at school and knew no alternative, Marie studied geography after graduating from high school. The first two years pleased her well, in the third year she became lazy. The fourth year no longer interested her. Due to the lack of teachers, the lectures were generally held and she could not specialize in “environment” as planned. So after two months she stopped going to university.
This was the beginning of a strange year, which was not particularly enriching, as she says. She occasionally searched the Internet for career opportunities, worked occasionally on the father's farm and rode his horses. Otherwise she did not do much.
Accidentally discovered the Traumberuf
By accident, she discovered the profession of topographer. She decided to give it a try during an internship and was allowed to watch for three weeks as private land was measured. She then enrolled in a two-year high school graduation program (BTS: brevet de technicien supérieur) in which she alternately spent two weeks at school and worked two weeks.
After the graduation, she looked more or less motivated for work, but the long-drawn desire to go on a long journey alone went through. Thanks to WWOOFing, she is able to combine the journey with her naturalness. For food and lodging, she works in New Zealand on farms or in private individuals who follow biological guidelines.
Marie tells a little more about her childhood and her parents' divorce. The years after the separation, the then twelve-year-old Marie welded closely to her sister, who was three years older. Together they survived the spatial separation from the father and the unwanted change of school. Marie's face looks very determined when she says that she knows many divorce cases and therefore does not intend to get married. She hasn't thought of children yet, but she's not fundamentally against it. I ask her what is a priority in her life right now. The answer is short and clear: "I."
Since December 2009 WWOOFt it completely on itself in New Zealand. Their work in the kiwi farms is different: goat milking, cheese making, riding excursions. The journey is good for her ego. She is proud that despite the shyness and low level of English, she has taken the lead in the country alone. And it was the traveling fever that gripped her. When she comes back, she wants to work as a topographer for two years and save money to travel again, this time through South America.
In the distance the home discovered
Nevertheless, she wants to live in France for a long time. Then she can not only enjoy the French cuisine, the bread and the cheese. From the distance, she becomes aware of the importance of family and close friends. Marie is especially looking forward to her sister, who has recently become a mother. Also to the friends from the school, to which she has gone before the divorce.
After traveling through South America, she will no longer have to make as much money as possible. In the long run, she wants a career in which she can work in the wild and has contact with animals. It can unfold in it.
"What advice do you give our generation?" I ask my interview partner, 25-year-old Marie from France, during my interview.
Marie hesitates. "I don't know if that's responsible." I tell her that is not the point. "Then: Enjoy life!"
Career choice - do not see the forest for the trees!
Marie's helplessness towards the flood of job opportunities is not an isolated case. Many young people no longer see the forest for the trees, among other things because it is difficult for them to judge the different options appropriately. Making a decision means at the same time ruling out many things that cause further perplexity. Maybe we are not in vain the generation internship.
After studying, it can also be that you need time to give what you have learned a place in your own life. This is especially true when there is no career planning and is not the first place to earn as much money as possible. The alternative priority must first be found.
Travel helps in exploring the possibilities
Traveling can help build a healthy distance to life at home and prioritize priorities individually. You have to answer questions like: What fascinated me most about studying? What do I want to continue, what do I recognize as secondary or uninteresting?
The best way to do this is to concentrate on yourself for a while, in an environment that is not familiar to you. Marie, in any case, has discovered in New Zealand what is important to her - on a professional and interpersonal level.
Alternative to marriage
By the way: in France there is an alternative to marriage - pacser (Pacte Civil de Solidarité). People in a heterosexual or homosexual partnership, but also close friends or acquaintances can enter into this “civil pact”. You will then enjoy the same tax benefits as married couples.
In addition, if one partner is transferred, the other's place of residence is taken into account. Although a “divorce” is not straightforward, it is quicker than that of a regular married person. I believe that through this possibility marriage becomes less important.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965964846
English version: ISBN 9783965964853 (Translation notice)
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