I was talking to my dad, who’s 40 years old, about jobs and he said: ‘Your generation has it easy’.
New technologies and the advent of the Internet are supposed to have made our lives easier. The Internet has the ability to enhance our social lives, but it also gives us all an online footprint that has the power to make our entire lives difficult if we aren’t responsible.
Take Paris Brown who, at 17, became Britain’s first youth police and crime commissioner. Unfortunately, just days into the job someone trawled back a few years in her Twitter history and discovered offensive tweets. She was immediately forced to resign. She fell into the trap of posting something flippantly, which we all have done. I remember reading somewhere that one in twenty American divorces are now linked to Twitter.
The recent rise of social media has not only left the footprint I spoke of earlier, but it now means social networks have become a hub for all kinds of communication. It’s now commonplace for jobs to be advertised on Twitter. However, roughly 646 million people are on the site. If even a millionth of the users responded there would be 646 applicants. In a sense it may have been easier applying for jobs twenty years ago, where personal connections rather than Twitter gave you an advantage.
Round about when my dad was born there were roughly half the amount of people on the planet than there is now. There is double the competition, meaning we’re twice as likely not to get a job.
Back in the day there was no such thing as an internship. Now major companies commonly use them. While it’s undeniable that they are a great opportunity, they can also pose a problem as they often lead to people working themselves into the ground and suffering from severe fatigue and stress. This is all to try and stand apart from colleagues, or competition rather. In the last couple of years we’ve even seen a couple of cases where people have died having worked a ‘magic roundabout’ shift.
Financially, our present and future also looks bleak. We’ve been raised during recession under a Conservative government. As a result, in a few years the vast majority of us will be in huge debt thanks to soaring university and living costs. Think about it, we’ll be paying £9k for one year at University, without a guarantee of work at the end of it. Add the cost of living, which is an additional £5k, and that equates to approximately £45k of debt after three years. Is it really worth it?
Has any generation had it easy? Each generation faces different challenges to the next. They aren’t necessarily easier, or tougher; they’re just different.
My dad might say that he had it tough in getting his CV on the table, but I’ve got more competition than he ever had (there’s simply more people in the world), and if I want to go to university I’m faced with massive debt before I’ve even received my first pay packet.
So maybe it’s not ‘your generation has it easy’, but rather ‘your generation has it tough aswell.’