I’ve been struggling with what to say about it for the last week And it all comes down to the fact that I get it. As corny as it sounds- I am the 99%. I’m 29 years old, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Contemporary Studies (2004), and a post-graduate certificate in New Media Journalism (2008). I live at home with my parents, and am carrying around a $5 thousand debt. I’m living at home because despite my best efforts, I have been unable to find a full-time job- the best I’ve been able to do is freelance positions.
Part of it is the field I’ve chosen; journalism is a really hard one to break into. And I’ve never expected it to be easy but I’ve decided to be persistent and stay the course… my hard work has in some measure been rewarded. Another is the economy; there was a period of time where media organizations were laying off, as I was applying for jobs. The job market is still poor no matter what field you’re in.
Another part of it is that despite whatever factors that may have led to my current circumstances; there is a problem. I know of quite a few people in a similar situation to mine; those educated in a given field who want to make a living at it, and yet can’t find jobs. So they’re stuck either working at part-time jobs, or unemployed and at home. And if the younger section of society is having this difficult a time finding a job then it is probably time to start asking the tough questions about how it went this far.
Honestly as I’ve been thinking about this as it applies to my own situation I’ve found it’s all about mindset, and perspective . The job searching process can be incredibly frustrating; I felt like I’ve been knocking my head against the brick wall on some days. But I’ve tried to remain positive and remember that every position I’ve had has been a step forward. And I’ve had the chance to cover amazing stories- the St. Paul’s Church Fire, interview political candidates; met cabinet ministers, and talked to passionate people with interesting tales to tell. I’ve also through those positions, and interviews made some great friends. And I’ve been lucky too that while I have money coming in through my freelance position, I know there are others who don’t have that.
As my seemingly endless search for a permanent job continues I have wondered if this… whatever this undefinable thing is more of a symptom of a societal shift rather than a cause for protest. Technology has made our lives easier; it’s made our jobs easier. People can work from home; jobs can be done online. My generation has been told for a while that we’ll have more than one career in our lives. Maybe what we’re turning into is perhaps a society where thanks to technology we can have more than one career happening at once.
It could be governments are slow to respond, because they like the rest of us know there’s something that’s off- they just can’t define it yet. And how do you solve a problem you can’t define? The only thing to do is to wait and see what develops then change to respond.
We have to remember that we are in Canada phenomenally lucky to have survived the worst of the economic downturn. We’re lucky that while the US, and EU are struggling, we’re generally still pretty prosperous in the grand scheme of things. Despite this though, there is obviously something undefinable happening here. We just have to wait and see what happens, then respond.