From a report from the Economic Policy Institute: Today’s young adults are the first generation in a century who are not likely to be better off than their parents.
The same thing is true for the healthiness of our generation – we’re not expected live as long, or longer than the previous generation, as has been the trend in the last 100 years.
It still hasn’t hit home. Whenever I tell anyone that I am worried about unemployment, they reassure me that I’ll be okay because recessions always turn into booms and its just a matter of time before someone hires me.
What bothers me about this response is not the attempt to reassure or comfort me, but the assumed complacency (on my part as well, not just the speakers). I think that our generation has been spoiled by the linear path that is encouraged of high-achieving students where we move from one program to the next – from hs, to college, internships, fellowships. The path of achievement is through acceptance into reputable programs, which grants us some security until we find the next one. Working at a corporation similar to joining in a program except that in the sense of job security. While you can’t remain complacent about the quality of work you produce, it assumes a similar assumption of certainty that hard work will be rewarded.
I’m frustrated that I’m allowing myself to reiterate these same token phrases of certainty because it’s the only way I know how to deal with uncertainty. What I should be doing is stop thinking that I can rely on a college degree or getting a fellowship after college, and start becoming more entrepreneurial. But I can’t bring myself to do that right now, at least, because I am enrolled in a supposedly prestigious program. I know that I should be taking more initiative and thinking outside of the box. Its a phrase used to describe the analytical process applied to individual projects, but I need to apply that same process in creating a 5 year plan for myself. I’m just not sure where to begin or what to expect or really…anything.
It could also be the main reason why I can’t go back to London, because the system there relies even more on programs, I think, rather than entrepreneurship. I had come into my study abroad experience wanting to take on many projects, but my drive just fizzled away because few people around me were taking initiative. But in New York, I’m inspired by my suite mates, each of whom intern in addition to freelance and working another job on the side – that’s the kind drive that could save our generation if it is mixed with creativity.
My understanding of the differences between the British and American system of reliance was inspired by this post on BuzzMachine about the fear of failure held by the British media industry – to accept uncertainty, you must accept the reality of failure.