‘’Work hard and you can do anything you want to do.” That’s the mantra a generation of young people has been told by parents and teachers still giddy from the financial boom of the meritocratic 1980s when every possibility really did seem within reach. But we can’t all have fun jobs that we love – so is it time to get real and suck up the reality of adult life?
Most of us millennials have grown with the perception that it’s not only possible to make a living from a job you love but it is your human right to have a job that you love. However, it’s time to wake up and realize that we can’t all have fun jobs that pay us well.
Take for instance my bestie,’Grace’ a recent nutritionist and dietetics graduate. She spent tens of thousands of pounds training so that she could translate her passion into a career that she will love – and make money from. Afterward, she spent a year of unpaid internship hoping that she would translate it into a job. After all, if we want something so badly, we should cling on to our dreams; ultimately, we always get there, right? Two years down the line, and she had not landed her dream job. Finally, she settled for a customer service job.
Truth is –most of the prestigious industries are on the decline. Print magazines and publishing books have now been swiped off by digital technology. Even the charity sector is out of reach for many – as the industry embraces unpaid internships as a way to cut costs. We are the first generation who have not only hoped but expected, to fulfill our dreams in such staggering numbers.
Many of us are struggling to break into the creative industries. Nobody wants to give up their passion and do a “boring nine-to-five”. We “couldn’t do it” – we’d “die”. We all think that by investing in our education as we have done, we have the right to expect that it should magically turn into full-time, permanent, paid jobs that we love. And we’re surprised when – oh, look – it doesn’t.
But the blame cannot be placed solely on the ambitions of a generation of day-dreamers (yeah, thanks for dubbing us ‘Generation Whine,’ by the way). Some responsibility must be taken by the institutions which continue to herd thousands of us into courses they know have almost zero chance of leading to paid employment.
The truth is that although a lucky few might manage to make a living doing something they love that still leaves hundreds of thousands of disappointed hopefuls. These people will be ‘forced’ to take jobs that they are less excited about, but which pay the rent. They will feel like failures – but they shouldn’t. Their expectations were just way too high right from the start.
Besides, if you’re working for peanuts (or nothing at all), with people who show no remorse for the way they are treating you, are you sure your dream job really is still your dream? Perhaps we should release our grip on what we thought we wanted, step away – and look for an alternative where our employer treats us well and pays us properly. That way, we can stop struggling – and start living. After all, it’s only a job.
This article is based on an excerpt from an impassioned piece from a recent graduate that has been showcased on Graduate Fog.
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