I turn 23 in seven weeks. I have a college degree, no permanent job, I live at home and I’m about to emigrate. To sum it up, I am the archetype of the 2014 millennial. And it is a seriously depressing position to be in. But I have to wonder, is it just me who feels like a massive failure or is it something that has settled into my generations psyche?
When I left college in 2012, we were all still slap bang in the middle of the recession but I had that kind of blind optimism that comes from being cocooned in a college campus where your surrounded by creative people and your all talking about and making interesting stuff, who wouldn’t want to hire us all immediately? It turns out, no one really wanted to, but still, it’d be different for me, right?
Um…a big fat no is the answer to that. I like so many graduates around the world, left college with a degree and not much else. There were the lucky few who got positions while the rest of us seethed with quiet jealously; “Oh we are SO happy for you! – NOT – I hate you”.
I’ve done the internship thing since I’ve graduated and had only one good experience, the rest being some of the worst times of my life. Knowing, and in some cases being told flat out, that you are there because, guess what!? We don’t have to hire anyone, we can just use “interns” to do a full time job and treat you like a pile of shite! Believe me, I’m not exaggerating, one employer told me flat out that it was my fault I couldn’t come up with a new marketing plan that would revolutionise their business. That was a nice blow to my confidence, let me tell you.
I feel like a massive failure. It’s like I had all these expectations, and expectations put on me by society and myself, and all I can think is that I’m useless. It’s a heavy weight on my shoulders, the constant worry about money and what am I going to do? How can I actually make something of my life?
Am I just being a whiny entitled baby though? Am I the only one who feels like this? Is it just me not trying hard enough or just not being good enough that is stopping me from getting a job and getting on with my life? The ones I do know with jobs are making me feel like the above questions might be true. I can’t even go on Facebook anymore because seeing people with any good news makes me feel like even more of a failure.
I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a job, but it seems like you don’t hear from them. Are we so embarrassed about being a unemployed twenty-something that we just stay quiet? I mean, my last Facebook status was in October, when my dog sat in a flowerpot and I thought it was too funny not to share. But when I do timidly venture onto my page and see a status about someone getting a job I just deflate into a ball of depression and stress and the very loud “What is wrong with me?” thought pounding through my brain.
The American Psychological Association recently published a study saying that we millennials are the most stressed generation ever (also apparently we are the most financially conservative too). Which, if I’m honest, slightly mollifies me.
“Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve. Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress,”
We’re stressed and not very happy. So why don’t we hear about it from actual millennials? All I read is pieces done by people who observe us, who are happily ensconced in their mid-thirties/forties lives, who feel like they have the all knowing power to tell us what we’re doing wrong. Pieces that either completely eviscerate us or have a pitying tone that makes us feel even worse about ourselves.
All I know is, is that my patience has run out. I am sick of feeling like crap. Sick of being only offered internships that barely cover rent, sick of everything in this country. Is Ireland recovering? Maybe it is for tech companies in the cities, but what about the rest of the country?
Two weeks ago 3,850 Canadian visas were snapped up in 8 minutes. On April 1st, 3,850 more will become available. I’m thinking this time they all go in less than 5 minutes. Is that a sign of recovery? Is that a sign that 18 – 35 year olds have faith in this country? That they might have a chance here?
I don’t think so – I think they feel like me.
Lost, annoyed, angry and a bit depressed but definitely not lazy.
(I’d love to hear from others who have an opinion or a story to share on this matter. Am I wrong? Is it just me who feels like this? – leave a comment below!)