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: Coming of Age in a Post-Recession World
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Oct 23rd 2011
So, I'm 22. Graduated this summer with a respectable result from a top-ten university.
In the humanities.
I knew it would suck coming out the other side, I had no illusions about being able to waltz into a cushy job, but this is becoming absurd. I can't even get the kind of kitchen porter or bar work that I had no problems getting three or four years ago. (Pulling pints at 17? Welcome to the fun world of local pubs). I took all the active steps while at university etc. etc., but it all came to nada. The same goes for my friends - apart from temporary or agency work none of them have been able to get traditional 'office jobs' and about half of them have gone back into post-graduate study in order to try and weather things out, borrow their way out of debt.
As it is, I managed to graduate with relatively little of that debt, except to the government, and picked up various bits of cash in hand work (decorating and labouring, mostly) to pay off the end-of-lease bills. I moved back in with my parents, which is stressful but at least they're being supportive.
On the other hand, my girlfriend was made redundant a couple of days ago. She was working as a nanny (after going travelling rather than taking further education) and the parents' company went bust. As it is, she's doing odd shifts on kitchen work, but can't get very many hours. Kind of difficult to maintain a relationship when we can't even afford bus fare.
So. Things goddam well suck and I was better off at the beginning of my A levels. Sure, we all saw this stuff coming, but as a young person there isn't anything you can really do but roll with the punches. Unless you wanted to occupy something and be part of that protest culture, or you believed that voting Liberal Democrat might achieve something. I know I did. trolololol.
But yeah, fuck you old people. This is all your fault. That rioting in August? People not giving a shit. People not feeling invested enough in society for 'Let's go crazy and smash stuff up and nick things' to seem terrible advice. I don't think that that'll be the last of it.
Oct 23rd 2011
I'm 24. Back in with my parents in the English countryside, after studying for a Masters degree in London. And, while I'm privileged and mooching off tolerant (for the time being) family members ... I'm ... quite ...
Can't drive, and couldn't afford to run a car even if I could. Do a couple of days a week in London for a tiny design start-up installed in the corner office of an abandoned branch of Deutsche Bank ... where I rock up at lunchtime, do some copywriting and general company strategy, spend a lot of time surfing the internet, and clock off quite late for a couple of pints and a chat with colleagues. Dodge rush hour on both sides, and keep transport affordable with a young person's railcard.
Spending a lot of time networking, having pints and coffees with interesting tech people, crashing on friends' sofas. Starting a really basic teaching qualification in January, with the aim of teaching 16-18 year olds part-time, or possibly some kind of adult education.
Tend not to buy much stuff, apart from books. Spend a
of time online, as a surrogate/prosthetic sociality, watching American TV series, bantering with smart and interesting people over social networks, and devouring news and current affairs.
Meanwhile, with meatspace friends, there's a weird sense of grim solidarity. A lot of time spent bumbling across fields to/from country pubs at strange hours of the night, to bitch about part-time jobs and lack of life-based progress. Weekends hiking with mates. Barbeques and birthday parties. Time spent being gently baffled by the peculiarities of my tiny village ... with its annual half-marathon and competitive ploughing.
Secretly believe capitalism will end before I even
paying off my student loan, and would quite like to live in a
plywood moon lander
. Saw a barn owl last week. Know I'm never going to be able to retire. Don't really mind. Sitting on 30,000 words of a sagging science fiction novel about post-disaster politics and infrastructure. Use my dad's wi-fi & electricty-enabled shed for writing and project tinkering.
Overall, something like Potemkin adulthood? The hollow shell of respectability and responsibility; as sustained by a suit jacket, a blagged press pass, and your half-page biography on a company website. Serious Victorian-letter-style emails bounced back and forth with intimate strangers and long-departed college friends in Portland and Toronto and Thailand.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Oct 23rd 2011
(Also, somewhat amusingly, I think I know who @MWHS is.)
Oct 24th 2011
@justinpickard Friendface indicates that you're right, although I can't remember having met in person. Normally I just come here for the funny memes and videos of interesting things - but this thread was perfectly timed for when I needed to vent.
Oct 24th 2011
Oddbill pretty much posted the non-asshole version of what I was going to say. WHITECHAPEL REDEEMED FROM A PIT OF NEGATIVE HORSESHIT YAAAAAY
Nov 25th 2011
The news for the last couple years has made me SO GLAD to be living in Australia. Sure, I'm in debt for uni, but I'm in debt to the government, and the government doesn't charge interest above inflation and won't make me pay them back till I hit a higher tax bracket.
I've also never wanted any job that's not in some creative art or other, so I have been resigned to "keeping the day job"/being broke since long before the recession, on account of how the first thing anyone says to you when you go to an academically selective high school and want to write science fiction is "are you sure?"
One way recent events HAVE changed my worldview is that I've developed, much to my own surprise, a fierce sense of responsibility to the generations after us. We've inherited a bit of a shit sandwich, climate change and global poverty and political instability and all, and I want to do whatever I can to mitigate the damage.
81 to 86 of 86