I’m currently in that awkward period between being done with higher education and getting a job. That point in life when your ID says you’re an adult but your bank account reminds you that you are what I like to call ‘an adult child”. It’s a thing, trust me.
I ran into one of my old high school teachers today and besides the awkward “oh has it really been that long?” and “what are you up to now?” I was also hit with “You of all people will have no problem finding a job”. Literally 10 minutes after that I was told by a completely other person “Surely you’ll have no difficulty getting hired”.
I just smile and nod because they don’t know that I can’t even remember how many jobs I’ve applied to so I have to resort to having a list with names and dates. I have just finished grad school and there are entry-level positions that require 5 years of experience. However, to get said experience you need a job. If there was ever the perfect catch-22, there you go. I’m running an operation with military precision in order to find something and the world makes it sound as if I can play coy and that I’ll be courted (sorry but I’m not heading into the finance or tech sectors).
This whole polite act is getting played out with all this pressure. I may crack soon because all I’m thinking is that:
- It is estimated that by the end of 2016 the global youth (ages 18-24) unemployment rate is expected to reach 13.1% which is up from last year and three times that of the adult unemployment rate. [ILO, Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015, 2015, p.6, http://goo.gl/QPhyAv]
- To complete the transition between school to a stable job, globally takes approximately 19 months. Not to mention that many university graduates are either overqualified for the job or don’t even use the skills they learnt at university. [ILO, Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015, p.3, http://goo.gl/QPhyAv] [UNDP, Empowered Youth Sustainable Future, http://bit.ly/1NgLyLt]
- Last year alone there were 74 million unemployed young people. [United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, p.17, http://goo.gl/WHzXtK]
- A third of all youth around the world suffer from a lack of decent work opportunities. [FAO ILO, 2013, http://bit.ly/1IeueGJ]
- In 2012 it was estimated that 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 15 years (not to be the cynic here but…I don’t see that happening) [ILO, 2012, http://bit.ly/1pFBrFw]
Trust me I could most probably continue but I won’t because that would require a tub (or two) of ice cream and since I’m in the southern hemisphere and summer is around the corner for us I have to have one thing going for me. If it ain’t a job it will have to be the #SummerBody (I would prefer both tbh).
It is an increasingly difficult time for individuals entering the job market and more so than ever it has absolutely nothing to do with smarts. It’s competitive because there are so many of us, and so someone may have the exact same resumé as me but may get the position because they know five languages and I know four. We’re such overachievers, I’m actually really proud of us millennials truly, honestly.
It’s frustrating but c’est la vie.
This is the state of the world at the moment for many people like me. We didn’t sign up for it (like so many other issues) but we definitely have to live with it and make do.
However, what I find even more exasperating is the fact that being employed for many of us is a means to an end. In five-six years I want nothing to do with a 9-5, or an office. As Millenials we are characteristically independent, enjoy flexibility and are communicators. We are the entrepreneurial generation and we have the tools and access to knowledge to make that happen. Unfortunately, many of us do not have the capital or the investors to make it happen right now and that is okay.
So we hustle. We make dreams happen.
We grow up thinking that life is somehow a factory process where we come out at the end with a somehow put together little apartment, with a job we like and $$$. That’s the illusion we’re sold because no one speaks of their failures. No-one sat any of us down and told us about their worries and doubts when they were our age. We don’t hear stories about the struggle but we all hear about the victories because it’s wrapped up all shiny and presentable… good thing I’m into the hobo look.
This period may be a bit of a rut. Trust me it is for many millions just like us, literally. It’s difficult, it doesn’t help your self-esteem and many times you see people passing you and wonder what about me? PICK ME! SOMEBODY PLEASE…
But the way I see it, all my heroes struggled and made it. There have been plenty of times when I’ve had a bad couple of weeks/months and I somehow found myself on the other side looking back. And if there ever were a people that were built to adapt to change and fight for ourselves that would be our generation. We want to win! What a time to be young and alive.
So I guess this is as much for you as it is for me:
Keep your head up and always look forward because there will be light. It may not be when you want it but it will come and when it does you’ll be grateful to the struggle.