Home > blogging for America, blogging for Britain, politics > Us kids will be alright.

Us kids will be alright.

Front page of the Metro this morning: “Graduates twice as likely to be jobless“.  In my fresh graduate’s mind, I thought, “How bloody inspiring.”  The article reports that 20% of graduates will be jobless for approximately 6 months after leaving University and further notes that the UK is pushing “policies that put the burden of the country’s debt on the young”.  Not that we aren’t in enough debt of our own…you do have to pay to jobless degree holders, you know.

I know this rant sounds odd coming from a recent graduate who is lucky and blessed enough to have a job.  Two, in fact.  But, the article reminded me of my own little internal battle of young adulthood that resurfaces every now and again…and all too often more recently. 

I have two bachelors degrees (with honours) and a shiny, new master of arts (with distinction). I spent two years in a PR position with a top fashion designer in New York City – young girls would have likely queued for weeks to take my job because it sounded “sexy” (hate that word, by the way).  I moved to the UK on my own to expand my horizons on life, work, and all of it.  And again, I am blessed enough to be living here in London EMPLOYED.  I just turned 26.  I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short time, but at the same time, there have been moments throughout this bumpy ride that make me question my decisions and worry whether I did the right thing.

I’m shin deep in student loans and have sizeable credit card balances from setting myself up here in the UK.  At the beginning of the month, when I pore over expenses, realize that I’ll be paying off debt for the next 40 years of my life, and wonder what it’s like to have savings and not live paycheck to paycheck, I think, “Where did I go wrong?”.

But, when is it OK to think that furthering your education and career are bad decisions?  Never, in my opinion.  I am a huge advocate of higher education but do realize that bright people choose not to attend.  However, an “it’s not the right thing for me” decision is very different from a “bad” decision. 

It’s tough to be young.  I know the much “older” and “wiser” would simply say, “It’ll all sort out in the end” or “There are others that have it a lot worse  that you do, when I was young…blah, blah…” or “You’ll see when you’re older”.  (This where the all-inclusive “we” comes in, because although I’m not jobless, I’m still young)  We’re still trying to figure out who we are…who we want to be.  And instead of being inspired by the boundless opportunities that ARE right in front of us, we’re forced to worry about seizing these opportunities because they may not be a good decision.

I’m going to work harder at not regretting the decisions I’ve made.  I’m young and naive…and totally fine with it.  I never would have known if I wouldn’t have tried.  I’m not sure how many 20-somethings read this blog, but I’m asking you not to read the the Metro front page today.  Worrying about a statistic that doesn’t have to include you isn’t going to help anything.  Use that energy to try and change that statistic.

We’re all gonna be alright…

  1. Neil Chappell
    January 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    First of all, if any unemployed 20-something graduates do read this blog, congratulations for being curious and interested enough to find it. Let us know, and engage with us. If we’re looking to hire, you’d be on our radar.

    Secondly, as someone who has been inclined to avoid debt throughout my life, I don’t envy today’s students their lot. But there are some silver linings to this huge, global recessionary cloud. The good news is that any significant recovery will likely begin when you’re still in your mid-twenties. Suddenly (with a bit of luck) you’ll be young, worldly-wise, educated and cheap: all qualities that employers love. The other good news is that the world is becoming more meritocratic, despite the Old Etonian bias of our government. I didn’t attend university because – amazing as it might seem now – I felt it unnecessary. I had no inclination to sit in lectures when I could be working and earning. Of course there are professions that are off-limits to non-graduates, but if you are smart, articulate and confident, you will be employable in much of the ‘real’ world. And if you aren’t – graduate or not – you might struggle. So, remain positive. Read, be creative, acquire knowledge and put yourself out there. You never know what might happen…

  2. Kelly Pires
    January 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    This post really hits close to home for me! I have the constant internal struggle with wanting to live life to the fullest, experiencing everything I can, and having to balance that drive with the actual funding to do it.

    But I figure, when we 20-somethings are older and wiser, we’re not going to look back on our lives and say “thank goodness I paid off that student loan or credit card debt.” We’re going to look back and miss those (relatively) carefree days, where we followed our instincts, took chances and became the people we are because of those decisions, right or wrong.

    So YES we’re all gonna be alright!! Front page Metro article, be damned.

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