The “Yes I Can” Generation

March 31, 2018

The job market’s open doors slammed shut all of a sudden and the kids went back to school, almost by habit and no matter what jobs they had. It didn’t matter whether or not they wanted to continue their studies. Out of a job and with no experience, the job market didn’t want them anymore.

Young people with question marks on their foreheads.

A generation without very many opportunities

This is partly how we’ve ended up with the best prepared generation in history. And even though it might seem contradictory, it’s also a generation with the worst academic performance.

We have a generation of young people that have fully, shockingly accepted the roadblocks and requirements businesses put in front of them to join their companies. That’s how we’ve ended up with baristas who speak five languages and can program in  C++ or shelf stockers with a Ph.D in quantum physics.

We also have a new kind of apprentice, called interns, helping businesses survive. They’re qualified, motivated, and low-paid people. And a lot of the time they mean subsidies and prestige for the businesses they intern at. We’re can’t say they work, because if they did, we’d have to report them, wouldn’t we?

Of course, there are exceptions. Generalizations always leaves those out. But if only there were more exceptions in the form of businesses that offered serious, specialized, and fairly paid training, with a job offer waiting once the training period was over.

If only there were more businesses that understood that the interns and apprentices they’re relying on are the future. That they should be invested in. But the world told us if we were good and worked hard in school there would be a whole world of possibility open to us.

You believe it and then you realize it’s not true. The opportunities are all for the bosses’ friends, so anyone who spent time making friends was going to end up the successful one.

The young generation: a pink flower.

Hope for this generation

I think this generation of young people deserves good opportunities. They deserve them because they’e accepted the tough rules of this game called life. 

Because, in general, they know there aren’t many opportunities but still went out looking for them. Because they didn’t blame the generations that came before them for making them lose hope or judging them harshly.

We’re talking about a group of educated, extremely energetic young people. They’ll rush to a job in the morning, another at night, working on their Master’s all the while. We’re talking about a generation that’s had more access to technology than any other in history. It’s a generation that’s been sold on an idea of getting stability to start a family, which isn’t actually easy to do anymore.

That’s why, even if we can point out a lot of defects in this younger generation, we can’t say they don’t work or look for opportunities. We can’t say they’re not willing to sacrifice time, friendships, and even relationships to move to another city where there’s more room for them.

Things might have better in a lot of ways in the past, but remaining in the past means just seeing one part of the reality. And that isn’t fair to the present we all have to live in today.