Tag Archives: Plans

What Are You Going To Do Next?

Emily Perper

If you’re a recent graduate or in any sort of period of transition whatsoever, you know the feeling of well-intentioned interrogation: variations on “What are you planning to do next?”

I’m wrapping up a service year with the Episcopal Service Corps, and you’d think my potential career opportunities were the talk of all of Baltimore. “Hey, how are you?” escalates quickly to “Have you thought about what you’re going to do after this year is up?”  Sometimes I give a beneficent if vague “I’m sending out some resumes,” but at this point, I’ve basically snapped, because…

Because sending 200 resumes doesn’t guarantee a job. Because this economic downturn has been unspeakably hard for recent graduates who were told to go to college, work hard, accrue debt, get a good job, work hard, and pay off the debt accrued. Because “good job” turns out to be relative at best and nonexistent at worst. Because unpaid internships have become an abusive economy. Because it’s not anyone’s business what your survival and well-being entails unless you want it to be their business. 

I’m pissed off. I’m tired. Fraught with cynicism, snark and self-satisfaction, here are my current responses to “What are you going to do after your service year?” and the responses to my responses (which are parenthetical).

Deadpan for best results.

  1. I’m committing aliyah and joining the Israeli Defense Force.
  2. I’m setting world records for binge-watching on Netflix.
  3. I’m reuniting with my vinyl collection.
  4. I’m moving to L.A. to focus on my acting career.
  5. I’m moving to Brooklyn to focus on my writing career.
  6. I’m moving to Nashville to focus on my music career.
  7. I’m going to be a temporary resident of a permanent site in the suburbs in order to serve as house manager and canine companion.
  8. I’m moving in with my parents.
  9. I’m going to live in a house with air conditioning for the first time in six years.
  10.  I’m leading nuclear warhead awareness tours in the Eastern European bloc.
  11. I’m going back to high school. (“Oh, so you’re going to teach?” “No.”)
  12.  I’m going to write a series of response poems to Shel Silverstein’s body of work, because the dude was a bona fide creeper, and the world needs to know about it. Seriously. Wiki it.
  13. I don’t know. What do you think I should do?
  14. I don’t know. What did you do after [insert transitional stage here]?
  15. Actually, I’m a freelance editor. (Insert disbelieving looks.)
  16. Actually, I’m a freelance reporter. (Insert pitying looks.)
  17. Actually, I do a bit of blogging. (Insert pitying looks, a pat on the back and an “Oh, well, I’m sure something will turn up.”)
  18. Actually, I haven’t even thought about it yet! Still have two weeks to go, right? (Best if you want a horrified stare.)
  19.  You know what? I’m really sick of that question. (Insert defensive retort and anxious laugh.)
  20. You know what? I’ve decided it’s going to be a surprise. Wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. Or me.

Honestly, the best advice I’ve got isn’t my advice at all. It’s Cheryl Strayed’s advice. Strayed writes the “Dear Sugar” advice column for the website The Rumpus, and here is her reply to a letter from an English teacher who needed help fending off the career critics:

“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts…

I hope when people ask … you’ll say: Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire; or maybe just: Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters. And then smile very serenely until they say oh.”

Good luck out there, sweet potatoes.

What Are You Going To Do Next? was originally published in The Annual #4!

Purchase your copy today!

Cullen’s Camp Itinerary

Cullen Dolson

Cabin Trip Schedule: Fucking Obey It

Day 1

4:00- Arrive at the cabin

4:01- Check for spiders

4:02- Orgy

7:00- Cleanup

7:30- Make a recklessly large bonfire

7:45- A hearty and raucous debate about what it truly means to be Jewish

8:00- So much food

8:45- Secede from the Union

9:00- STD-themed limerick writing contest

9:30- Whittling

10:00- Begin drinking

10:30- Group poop

10:45- Panel discussion of the Sasquatch: grizzly murderer or mythic liberator?

11:00 – Sonneteering contest

11:30 – A Lincoln-Douglas-style argument about the ubiquity of guns in America and liberty more generally.

Day 2

12:00- Sensual pushup contest

12:30- Musings on the duplicity of “the man” and his system of whorish double standards

1:00- S’mores n’ shit

1:30- Displays of admiration regarding Alex’s basketball prowess in the post

2:00- Sharing happy memories

2:30- Wyatt is thrown into the fire to burn for his crimes against the Confederacy

3:00- Group sing-a-long to Queen’s greatest hits album

3:30- Bored, typical, and unproductive planning about what to do next

4:00- Super Smash Brothers (don’t ask me how)

4:30 – The drafting of the constitution

5:00 – Sunrise

5:30 – Communal lamentation for all our failures

6:00 – White person store for nourishment

6:30 – Fetus

7:00 – The hunt begins

7:30 – Re-admittance to the union

7:28 – Slumber

2:00 – Wake up and kill the least favorite member of the group.

2:30 – Gather firewood

3:30 – Group count to one million

4:00 – Begin pagan ceremonies

4:15 – Get bored with pagan ceremonies and switch to playing monopoly

4:16 – Get bored playing Monopoly and have a dildo fight

5:30 – Draw straws for who has to give Alex his nightly enema.

5:39 – Eat a nutritious dinner… Nahhhhht just keep drinking dat alcohol.

6:00 – Two sides are formed: Orcs and elves. Do battle using only limp arms with toothpicks taped to the hands.

7:30 – Sexual campfire songs (“Kumbayahhhhh,” “Ba Ba Black Penis,” “Apples and Bananas,” etc.)

8:30 – Act out various scenes from “The Santa Claus 2”

10:30 – Scripture reading

11:00 – Group poop part dos

11:30 – Mount Wyatt’s head on a stick

Day 3

12:00 – Puppet show!!!!!

1:00 – Somebody proposes to a woodland creature, but gets denied

1:30 – Start our own religion based on the worship of human feces

2:00 – Realize that nobody will want to join that religion, so we cry for a bit

3:00 – Find a long-lost relative of Alex in the woods

3:15 – Accuse them of being adulterous

3:30 – Scattegories

4:30 – Discover the cure for cancer

5:00 – Forget it

6:00 – Sleepies

8:00 – Discuss who we would bring to repopulate if we were shipped off to Venus post-destruction of Earth

9:00 – Trade one member of the group to a passing hobo in exchange for fresh moonshine

9:30 – Tidy up

10:30 – Gladiator

11:30 – Play sardines

12:00 – Someone contracts herpes

12:15 – Argue about the true meaning of the phrase “I am what I am, but I’m not a yam”

12:30 – Decide that is some stupid Latin shit

1:00 – Write an Epic of the weekend with Alex appearing as a filthy Minotaur and Cullen as a glistening demigod

1:30 – Pack up and go home


Cullen’s Camp Itinerary was originally published in The Annual #002 and be purchased here.