Monday, 20 September 2010


The babies of the
aftermath, of the recession: GENERATION Y, today’s 19-29 year-olds, are a new, exciting and unpredictable breed. They are not only a regurgitation of the past, adopting the hippie dreams of their 1960s parents, they are the future. But is the future as bright as the creatives at Orange suggest?

Living in the shadows of generation X, a generation famous for their ambition and success,
generation Y struggle to compare. Dwelling on our tendency to be workshy, spoilt and narcissistic, there is a concern that gen Y are living for the present with little or no regard for the future. However, as someone who is deeply imbedded in gen Y, I beg to differ. Having recently graduated from university at 21, I have been hurled into a pool of unemployment with a resounding splash. Despite the little hope there may be of securing a job (post-graduate under outrageous debt), I find myself strangely at ease, comforted by the desperation for employment and the urge for recognition which is hauntingly echoed amongst my peers. My parents, proud members of gen X, do not share my positive, possibly naïve, sense of ease. They are in fact feeling the pressure of the reality that I, along with my three siblings, will be living at home until the ripe old age of 30.

Reluctant to consider myself under such hopeless pretence, I am the first to adopt the theory of gen Y as ‘the next generation’, acknowledging our motivation, creativity, optimism and idealist attitude. We are a bunch who have lived and breathed recession, no cotton wool over eyes to speak of. Representing the younger end of the spectrum, I have not fled university and turned to a career, property ladders and happy families like gen X once did. Instead, I am faced with a comparatively bleak horizon: 3 months graduated, a 2.1 honours from a respected university, back living with my parents, sharing a room with my 23 year-old sister and still struggling to put my fresh, and what should be sought-after, skills to good use. And to rub salt into the wound, I come entirely free!

Not only can we expect to work for free, I am finding myself paying to work, spiralling further into post-university debt as I travel to London for internships and often unsuccessful interviews. However, it is in fact the very struggles that gen Y face that we have to thank for our status as ‘the next generation’. As money is no longer a factor in the building blocks of our careers, we are having to accept un-paid work as a-given and increasingly a luxury. But being the opportunists that we are, we dodge despair, always seeing a sea of prospect. We no longer face a choice between want and will, between inspiring unpaid experience and menial paid tea-making, most of us previously opting for the latter.

If not enriching my CV with experience, I am sat at home, with nowhere to turn to but the inner depths of creativity. We are the generation blessed with infinite free time. Time to blog, create and imagine a better world. We have the unburdened opportunity to seek out experience of choice without an obligation to wage and it is these experiences which have the potential to ignite gen Y. While it may be difficult for gen X to comprehend our defining moment as ‘a rave at a shop’, referring to the riot at an American Apparel discount sale, gen Y vision considers this nothing far from creative genius. We are the people turning excessive consumption to charity, turning the clocks forward to make it lighter later and we are gradually the people creating a better tomorrow. We are the children of the revolution.

Rose Brownlow

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