I was supposed to get a job in September. A proper career job and everything. Sadly the punchline at the end of university hit me as it most likely hit everyone my age or thereabouts: ‘Oh you have a History degree? That’s great. Make the tea will you?’ Of course I’m being glib (I’ve never made a boss a cup of tea in my life!) but this is the unerringly familiar situation that yet another generation has encountered. In this really rather large world of ours, we don’t seem to be qualified for anything. A recession obviously doesn’t help (and yes let’s call it what it is, a recession and not a pigging ‘credit crunch’, that’s far too twee. I personally prefer Charlie Brooker’s ‘Moneygeddon’) but it’s amazingly easy to blame this all-consuming, ever-present global crisis for everything. I’ve heard time and time again how if not for Moneygeddon I would have a proper-career-job-and-everything, normally in reassuring or patronising tones but it never felt like a suitable explanation. A perfectly acceptable scapegoat perhaps but not an explanation. It seems that a much more difficult answer lies beneath all this application/interview/no response/rinse/lather/repeat carry on and that is that, quite similar to absolutely everyone that came before us, we have become ‘twenty-something and directionless’.
I know, I know, we all laugh it off because if everyone goes through it, it isn’t serious is it? But like the common cold, the perfect setting on a kitchen toaster and Jeremy Kyle inexplicably having a job, it seems like a simple problem that no one has found a solution to. Ask all the twenty-somethings you know what they want to do with their lives. I guarantee you the answers will confuse and outrage you. They are either stunningly non-committal, bafflingly naïve or infuriatingly apathetic. I know, I’m one of them! I fall into the first camp; at least I’m not delusional, I just don’t know. But that makes me no different to any other generation before me and as soon as we accept that the happier we’ll be. The ones who stress and whine and stew on their situation (Hey, my name’s David) are probably far worse off than those irritatingly apathetic stereotypes because they think it’ll all just work out provided they think about it at all. They’re probably right. Bastards.
So what do we do about it? Well if every generation has experienced this without fail there very likely isn’t a proper answer is there? Come on keep up. Besides there is nothing I can write that a thousand singer-songwriters, normal writers, thinkers and other assorted naval-gazers haven’t already thought out and expanded on in a much more succinct but no more meaningful way.
– “I’m young enough to be all pissed off but I’m old enough to be jaded” – Frank Turner
– “Life is a B Movie: it’s stupid and it’s strange, it’s a directionless story, the dialogue is lame, but in the ‘he said she said’ sometimes there’s some poetry, if you turn your back long enough and let it happen naturally.” – Ani Difranco
– “We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we’ll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re just learning this fact.” – Chuck Palahnuik
– “You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.” – Somebody called Rajeev’s blog.
Okay so that last one was a little namby-pamby but you get the message. There’s a lot of ‘deep’ and well constructed thoughts on the matter but no illuminating answer and if you ever thought there was your world is a strange and wonderful place and I would quite like to visit it thank you very much. The best advice I would be able to offer to one of my twenty-something-and-directionless brethren is something that I was told only last night and that is ‘Why subscribe when you can produce?’ Why not you? Why accept or get angry with the world as it is presented to you by people who play at being smarter than you when you can at least try to present it differently yourself? We may never be millionaires, movie stars or rock stars (although statistically I suppose some of us will be but let’s not dwell on that too much for the sake of a laboured point) but we can make sure our minds, our brains, our passions and our ambitions don’t go to rot simply because we don’t know what poxy office job we want. Why subscribe when we can produce?
So I wrote a rambling set of paragraphs I’m not sure if many will ever see, I don’t think that’s exactly what was meant but that simple thought offered to me last night is the closest I’ve felt to inspired in months.
Now excuse me I’m off to make a cup of tea for my boss.