The cliche title Generation Y irks me to no end. Still, to put things into perspective, I will attest to being a member of said generation. That being said, I did not follow the same struggle as most of my peers. After graduating from college and sticking around to avoid real life for a bit, I decided to try my hand in “The City” as you will, and found a job my second day in town. I now work full-time on salary and can almost afford to pay all my bills and occasionally splurge on overpriced coffee and/or wine. Almost. Unfortunately for many of my friends, their experience has been vastly different. Many are unemployed and spend their days clicking “Apply Now” on Linked In and refreshing their Facebook pages. From the outside, it sounds painful and degrading. From the perspective of a full-time employee working at a job she loathes for many hours over forty per week, it sounds like pure bliss.
I don’t want to sound like a brat, though that may be unavoidable. What I’m getting at is that I regret entering the workforce fulltime at a job I am less than passionate about. To be frank, I hate the job. I’m not the first person to admit that. If I chose to quit and pursue a true passion, I would not be the first to embark on that journey, either. The thing is, for someone of my age and minimal work experience, quitting before I have even started is not viewed as a brave and powerful feat. It is a choice. It means choosing failure.
With talk of unemployment and post-graduate struggle ruling my generation, most would view me as misguided at best, unappreciative and lazy at worst. Why should I appreciate a job at which I partake in grueling work hours for a wage far below the industry standard, receiving little to no respect from my peers due to my inexperience? I am not asking for success to be handed to me on a silver platter. I fully expect to work hard and pay my dues. I only wish I had spent more time choosing exactly what it is I’d like to work hard at, rather than jumping at the first job offer I received in an attempt to become an acceptable member of society.
I envy my roommates, both of whom are currently unemployed and feverishly job searching. I had a panic attack at work yesterday. I hid in the bathroom until it subsided and then returned to my desk only to be scolded for not answering emails in a more timely fashion. My roommates watched a riveting debate on Evolution vs. Creationism before preparing miso soup and dumplings from scratch.
Why do place such importance on struggle and unhappiness as a means of proving ourselves, instead of enjoying activities that truly make us happy and mentally sound members of society? Why is there such pressure placed on my generation to work at a job, any job, that swallows their days with meaningless tasks but allows them to nearly pay rent? Where is the happy medium and why does it feel so shameful to find it?