Look at what my calendar told me I had planned today… A year ago today, I started How to Be Jobless, and gave myself a year to get a job in journalism. It seemed like a good deadline – surely … Continue reading
If I were a babyboomer, I’d be furious. That might seem strange coming from someone who blogs about youth unemployment, a topic typically sprinkled with jealous references to how easy our parents had it (admittedly, a temptation I gave into once or twice). But this “us and them” dynamic between the generations has got to stop. And not just because, admittedly, they’re beating us – this isn’t me quitting because the game is unfair. I’ve expended enough energy denouncing David Cameron as a heartless, corporate-driven, boiled egg-faced tit; it’s time for some fury from the other side. It’s time for some babyboomer rage.
Every blow to the young – such as the slashing of benefits unless we’re earning (despite the lack of jobs) or learning (despite the whacking up of tuition fees) – seems to come with a boost for the older generation, like a triple-lock on state pensions. Chris Huhne argues that because thevoting turnout is more than 30% higher in the pensioner age group than the 18-24s, politicians pander to them to the point that we’re living an a “gerontocracy”. It’s a clever illusion, that they’re rewarding the older generations, their “loyal voters”, at the expense of the young – but an illusion it is.
To begin with, triple-locked or not, pensions aren’t a gift from the taxpayer. They’re pre-earned. They’re as much a generosity as having a party in a stranger’s house, and saying: “Sorry about the damage. We triple-promise not to steal anything (else).”
But the pension triple lock isn’t even decent “compensation” for the collateral damage of the youth crisis. In her smart and sensitive comment piece, Jackie Ashley argued that “an injury to one is an injury to all” because we live in families, which are by their nature multigenerational. But the injury casued to the older generations by the youth crisis is even more direct and blunt than familial concern. Has nobody noticed how often a blow to the younger generation leads to babyboomers footing the bill?
The generation we have been repeatedly told to envy are the first who have to care for the generations either side of them – not only their parents who may need help in their old age, but their adult children. When young people were stripped of job opportunities, benefits, and the affordable roofs we so naively thought would come with our degrees, we became the Boomerang Generation. In the past decade and a half, according to the Economist, about 3.2 million 20- to 34-year-olds have gone back to live with mum and dad.
It is sad for the young people who probably envisaged a more independent life and can be horrendous for their sense of self-worth – but it’s not brilliant for parents either. Having their adult children back is like a middle-class bedroom tax – the government haven’t fixed the economy, the housing or job markets, so they’ve passed the cost of the generation on to the boomers.
Aside from the financial burden, the youth crisis must pack a nasty emotional punch to the older generation because through no fault of their own, they’ve failed as parents, in part.
They did everything they were supposed to; they sent us to school and university, convinced us to study so we’d have the freedom to choose our careers. Yet the result is a generation facing unemployment, or career ascension so slow and internship-ridden they may never afford to buy a house or have a family of their own. Was it their aim to spawn Generation Jobless who, according to World Health Organisation, are apublic health timebomb? Of course not. The most fundamental aim of parenting is surely to make sure your kid will be OK. Isn’t it maddening that, despite doing everything right, they’re not?
So how does a 2.5% increase in pre-earned state pensions, a cynical lunge for the rudely named “grey vote”, make up for any of that? It doesn’t. But by focusing all the visible damage on the young who so famously “don’t vote”, the generations are being divided and conquered. The “selfish, shortsighted old” versus the hard done-by young. God forbid we should all fight for the same thing – a stable economy, a functioning job market, houses we could conceivably end up buying without a nifty inheritance-tax dodge, a winning lottery ticket or an act of God. Maybe if we did, boomers wouldn’t refer to their own money as “the kids’ inheritance”, as if they’ve already outstayed their welcome just by continuing to live alongside their struggling offspring.
The “mustn’t grumble” generation need to start fuming along with the young. Like it or not, an angry generation of 18 to 24-year-olds is a nuisance; at this point the only clout we could claim would be a mass withholding of grandchildren. But an angry mob of babyboomers might actually effect change. Let’s see some boomer rage for the raw deal we’ve all been dealt.
Published on GoThinkBig on 3/1/14As I write this, I’m eating chocolate with no intention of going to the gym, learning the clarinet or being more careful with money. New Year’s Resolutions? Pff. Nothing more than a list of things you … Continue reading
Do YOU have something to say about joblessness, the situation of young people today, or breaking into the world of work?
If so, I would LOVE to feature you on How to Be Jobless.
Since I started training at the Guardian, my voice isn’t quite as relevant when grumbling about joblessness and the plight of the young. It’s all a bit jammy when I’m doing it from my desk (however short-lived it may turn out to be).
If you have a pitch, or even a fully-written blog post, I’d love to see it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
I reply to ALL emails. Every single one. If I don’t, because I fell over and broke my eyes just as you emailed, feel free to send a snarky tweet and I’ll apologise like an Englishman whose foot you’ve just trodden on.
Funny is good, but if that’s not your thing it’s always great to see informative and/or comment pieces. Pieces that are just, for want of a better word, whinging will be politely nudged towards a rewrite – unless they’re really bloody funny. We’re jobless! We want to be uplifted! A call to arms, a message of hope, or stuff we need to know. I hope to hear from you, your friends, your enemies…anyone. We need a collective voice.
So, 2013. You have been somewhat rubbish for a lot of people haven’t you? Don’t let the door smack you in the ass on your way out, because we’ve got big things coming our way…
I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all the readers, followers and interacters of the How to Be Jobless community. I started this blog early in 2013 to make myself laugh. I was despondent, so utterly disappointed that I wasn’t immune to the job crisis, and most of all, I felt totally alone. It’s odd, isn’t it, that someone with a million others in the same boat should feel alone?
In the next Grad Scheming (out on GoThinkBig on Fri 3rd Jan), I’ll be outlining a few New Year’s REVOLUTIONS that we, the jobseeking community, should be starting. We need more collectivism – the unemployed feel alone because jobseeking is competitive. We’re pitted against each other, when we should be working together. We’re divided, which makes it that much easier to be conquered. I hope you’ll take a look.
However, let’s leave 2013 on the pile of “the year things were bad, right before they got BLOODY WONDERFUL”.
Happy New Year, – I think we all know what I wish for you all in 2014. And tweet me when it happens! I love a sendoff.
On your jobhunt, you are likely to meet the odd negative nelly. The occasional tool. And a few utter bastards.
If you want to STAY jobless, invite them into your brain. Let them set up camp and do a shit in your self-esteem pool, until you’re so paralysed with self-doubt you don’t trawl through job sites, so much as scream at them to stop mocking you.
Have a wonderful festive season, whatever you’re doing. I hope 2013 hasn’t been too rubbish. If it was – roll on 2014. And remember, there are always some world-class people strolling amongst us… Merry Christmas! HTBJ xxx
Millennials spend quite a lot of time fielding senseless criticism and ill-informed insults from, well, everyone. Luckily, there are enough people who have read the papers closely enough to know the truth. A genuine thank you to people like the fantastic Ben Goldacre, for pointing out certain facts,like…the fact that WE’LL be the ones paying off the babyboomers’ national debt. No, you’re welcome, really. As he says, “We should be grateful to the young, not rude, and pray that they do not turn.”
A great way to stay jobless is to damn yourself with faint praise.
DO NOT keep up to date with the latest technological innovations
Boast about the ones you do know about though, and if you can work in your love of movies and converting oxygen into carbon dioxide, you’re onto a winner. Joblessness will be yours to keep. FOREVER.
1) Believing your interviewer is “the kind of guy who’ll respect you more if you stand up to him” is a sure way to stay jobless.
For example, announcing, “No mate, let me stop you there, this interview’s gone on long enough, I need a shit and a glass of water” is almost definitely not going to lead to a second interview.
Neither is “I’ve got a headache, need a baguette”. I hope you’re writing this down.
2) Taking advice from “the disordered mind of the crackhead” is probably inadvisable. Crackheads, please feel free to comment below with your objections if you feel this is an unfair generalisation.
3) Get your name wrong. That’s always a winner.