Generation Y: Losing Hope with the Job Search

This story is becoming far too prevalent in my generation not to share. The common reality of new graduates in this struggling economy is that many thousands of these individuals will be without work in their chosen field.  I wish this wasn’t the case.

However, this situation isn’t isolated to only Canada; it is happening in countries across the world.  My generation, “Generation Y,” is now being called, “Generation Jobless.” Even the name makes us feel powerless and at a position of inferiority to others.

Many young adults feel that they are overeducated and unemployed.  This belief comes as a result of applying for jobs after they graduate.  They are not hired because they are inexperienced for the jobs they would like to pursue but overqualified for the jobs they will get.

Therefore, as a result, many talented young individuals are unemployed, volunteering to get experience, and/or working at low-paying jobs to pay the bills and their education loans. Check out this short documentary on the issue.

I have heard negative comments about my generation, but almost all of them are untrue.  These naysayers do not understand what the job market is like today for my generation and where we are coming from.

Let me explain a bit about what it feels like as a member of Generation Y, as I have gone through and overcome this struggle twice.

Education is valued in society; the notion is enforced in many of us that a key to success in life is to get an education.  Therefore, you spend your childhood and teenage years working hard in school and in extracurricular activities to achieve amazing grades and educational experiences.  You need to be an exceptional well-rounded individual to apply for acceptance into a post-secondary educational institution.

You work so hard so that you will be let in to have this amazing opportunity: a post-secondary education.  An education is not easy. The students spend three or four years of full-time study focused on a particular topic that they are interested in.  It is a lot of work, and it is also a huge financial commitment; most rely on scholarships and part-time work elsewhere to pay for it.

Once you work for an intense four years, you get a degree, if you make it.  That piece of paper is an entrance ticket to a certain high level in the job market.

Graduating from my Master's degree at the University of Toronto (c) Arianna's Random Thoughts
Graduating from my Master's degree at the University of Toronto (c) Arianna's Random Thoughts

So it would seem. Today, however, there are too many students and not enough positions for those who graduate.  The workforce has changed a lot since our parents’ generation.  Therefore, graduates will be unemployed, have to go back for graduate or professional degrees, or will move to other countries to start their careers.  But there is a Catch 22 with going back to school, as once you graduate, you will still have to build experience in order to get work appropriate to your education; how can you do that while working hard at your schoolwork?!

So, it appears that the student/new university graduate in many western societies is in a “no-win” scenario.  If they can’t find a suitable job after submitting hundreds of resumes, they are deemed to be “lazy”; “not working hard enough to find one”; “too picky.”

But consider Matt Barber’s case; he appears to be none of the three.  He simply wants to land a job in his field. He has submitted over 100 resumes and has no interviews.

For a recent graduate, not finding a job in one’s field upon graduation is hard; you are so excited to start working, but then you don’t have a venue. This can be a huge let-down.   It can really destroy your self-esteem; you take the unemployment as a personal failure, and start to blame yourself.  It doesn’t only hurt yourself; it can burden your family, friends, and support system.

I have experienced this hardship in finding work twice in my life; once after graduating from my Bachelor’s degree and the second time after my Master’s degree.  I am thankful for the short-time off after my Master’s, as it made me realize that I wanted to start my own business.  I was blessed with my amazing support system who encouraged me to persist.

My goal with this post is not to dwell on why young people are having a hard time finding work, but to voice the concerns and stories of others in this experience and to make a change.  The aim is to start a discussion on the topic where people who have experienced this issue can have a voice. Perhaps hearing the stories of others will provide you with a sense of encouragement and the hope to persist in your job search.

I have asked professionals who are working in their dream jobs to share their stories in perseverance because I know there are many who are struggling to find suitable work, but are losing hope.

Our society needs these talented new graduates of Generation Y in the job market.  We need to start talking about this issue, then taking action to overcome it. Our young people are an amazing resource for our society which needs to be valued and used to full capacity.  Otherwise, our society is throwing away its most amazing asset, its young people.

“I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” (Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston)

Upcoming Series:

What can we do to make positive change (I don’t believe in riots or violence)?  How can we get people interested to start talking about this important issue?

** If you would like to get involved by sharing your story or have ideas for upcoming posts, please contact me here.  I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!