In the first of a fortnightly series of advice columns, the Potato has asked potential Fianna Fail candidate for Dublin South, Donnacha Flynn to answer some of our readers questions. Our first letter comes from Gavin Doyle (18) who’s a school leaver from Tallaght.
Dear Mr Flynn
My name is Gavin Doyle. I’m 18 years old and have just left school. I had wanted to go to university this autumn but my family can’t afford tuition fees. As my father is self-employed, it was impossible for me obtain a grant of any kind. There is very little work out there for someone like me with no work experience. I have thought about emigrating. What advice could you give me?
Thank you for writing to me. I realise that leaving school can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. It’s unfortunate that you’re not in a position to pay for university tuition fees but you shouldn’t blame yourself in this situation or more importantly, the previous Fianna Fail government. The real culprit here is your father who no doubt went into debt by re-mortgaging the family home in the mid 2000’s to buy a yet to be completed Turkish holiday apartment that he couldn’t really afford. Blame him.
With the door to third level education closed, I’ll try and map out some of the options available to you.
In these harsh recessionary days, emigration is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. On the contrary, we here in Fianna Fail actively encourage it. The fact is that the country has shag all money to be spending on you or your education. We blew it all ten years ago on fancy cars, holidays and over-priced houses. Not only do we not have any money to educate you but we really can’t afford to keep you while you sit around in your pants playing Grand Theft Auto. You’re a burden we can’t afford. So my advice is to head to the States, Canada or Australia. Even the UK. Get on a plane to New York and just stay. Everyone is doing it now. You’ll get a job no bother. Sure won’t you be like the Fresh Prince moving to Bel Air? Well and good you’ll have to live in a shared 3 bedroom apartment in Queens with 30 culchies, work 14 hour shifts and commute for 3 hours each day but sure won’t you be in New York? You’re a young man. It’ll be great craic altogether. Better still, if you mange to get a job in IT or something professional, learn all you can from them and come back here after. We’ll be all over you like a rash then. It worked for us in the 90’s.
Internships are becoming a fact of life for many young people without work experience. You might argue that internships are just a form of institutionalised slavery. Meaningless dogsbody work that only benefits the employer and never leads to anything worthwhile. But learn to embrace it. Take the opportunities that present themselves from being part of a real work environment. If you’re not being paid, try taking the odd quid from petty cash, a ream of printer paper or perhaps a laptop from time to time. I myself spent much of my youth working as an intern for my father (a Fianna Fail TD at the time). It was my job to go around local businesses collecting brown envelopes and to deliver them back to my dad. I wasn’t paid for this but I made sure I took some of the money from those envelopes and pocketed it myself. Nothing was ever said to me. That wasn’t stealing, it was using my initiative and it’s made me the politician I am today.
Become a comedian
You may think that with so few employment opportunities these days that the comedy scene would already be clogged up with chancers trying their hand at being a stand-up comedian and you’d be right. But there’s always room for one more. Just get up there and give it a bash Gavin. Being from Tallaght, you’ve probably already got an earthy, natural sense of humour. Use that to your advantage. Try to make those who come from a disadvantaged socio-economic background the focus of your material. Immigrants, the traveling community, junkies etc are all ripe for ridicule. And sure if you don’t get any laughs, isn’t it better to say you’re an unemployed comedian than an unemployed school leaver?
I’m sorry Gavin but even I can’t put a spin on this one.
It’s oldest profession in the world Gavin. There’s plenty of money to be made for an open-minded young man like yourself and let’s face it, you’re not going to be asked to do anything as degrading as a FAS course.
Work for RTE
Gavin, do you have any relatives who work for RTE? Ring them now.
Words Donnacha Flynn & Christian Talbot