Ten years ago, I was a new graduate from one of the best universities in the world. I had great grades, a positive record of accomplishments. I could think, I could write, and most importantly, I was humble enough to take direction.
And I couldn’t get an entry level job. No, let’s be more specific. I couldn’t get an internship that would allow me to get an entry level job. Over and over I was told by directors, schemes, and potential employers ‘we really need our interns to make tea. You can’t do that so.’
I have cerebral palsy. Putting me near a kettle is a fire hazard.
To be clear, I wasn’t applying for a job as a professional tea maker. I was applying for jobs in publishing, the arts, entrepreneurship, business, and the media. It made me wonder what kind of power trip these people were getting off on if they looked at a qualified intern merely as a tea maker.
For me, the phrase “make your own damn tea” has two meanings. First, in order to get anywhere in life, we cannot fold to society’s expectations of what we should be doing. How many women are expected to make tea simply because they are the only women in the boardroom? How many men are hesitant to take up positions of carers because ‘it’s just not done’? As society’s structures start to topple, the people who are quite used to having their tea made for them will either have to learn to cope, or be swept aside.
Secondly, ‘make your own damn tea’ means quite literally, do it yourself. We live in a world that is perpetuated by the myth of a rescuer. Be it Prince Charming or the next political leader, someone is coming to save us. All we have to do is wait. Bull. ‘Waiting’ only ensures the power structures stay exactly as they are. Nobody is coming. We have to make things happen.
Make Your Damn Tea. We’ve got shit to do.