I’ve Let My Parents Down
I have a confession; I have let my parents down and because of how they influenced my lifestyle, it’s hard to think any different.
Mostly, as children and teens, we try to push our parents terms out of our decision making, so we can grow up big and strong or more importantly, independent of the old, crazy ways. But let’s be honest – the expectations that are instilled in our life time as well as the life we are used to living (this includes all the nice luxuries they give us), all come from our parents. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, at first come from our parents. And we get used to those brands. But when we move out, grow up, maybe go to a place of higher learning, our goals start to gravitate towards those that will help us achieve the money to buy into the similar lifestyle – or even better. We hope we can, we become very positive we can. We walk into institutions and businesses with a skip in our step, an air of confidence and assurance that “We will be living happily ever after”.
But then, reality hits us straight in the face.
After graduating, after all the job rejections, after we are forced to move back home, this confidence turns quickly into disappointment.
My parents were married by 24. They both graduated the same year with my mother having two degrees in English and French languages and a teaching certificate. My father has concluded three years of engineering at MacMaster University and a diploma in Electronic Technology at Mohawk Polytechnic Institute. Right after they both found jobs. A year later they had two cars, a house paid for, and were quite well at making money. This was in 1974.
The plan they had out for me was the same. Finish university, get a job, live a happy life. The expectations were seemingly simple – they had given me high end clothes, two cars over the past ten years, money every day for lunch. Never once did I think I would not be able to achieve even the slightest of wealth. Well, I was fucking wrong and so did they.
2010 I graduated university with a degree and various diplomas. Within six months I was on Clonazepam for my anxiety and Lithium for my depression. I wasn’t able to find a job, those that were offered ended up being scams or “commission” only (meaning, they made the money and fucked me out of expenses). I started my own company, and it’s done well in the grand scheme of things. However, it hasn’t made me enough to move out or move on. It gave me connections – but connections don’t always pay the bills. My father and mother saw this as a hopeless endeavour.
“Why can’t you just find a job?” he asked.
“Because nobody wants someone who sat behind books and a screen” I replied.
This simple answer led into a four hour discussion which he was pressuring me into finding a rich boy to marry; pressuring me into looking for jobs all around the country that would let me work from home; pressuring me into feeling guilty that I have not achieved what he did by 24.
This pressure is a reality for those in my age group.
Demographically speaking Canada is a very rich country. We have almost all provinces looking at an above 50% rate of high school students moving on to University. After reading through the research from StatsCan on education advancement in youth from 2006, it’s a very promising tone. But what’s more alarming than anything is the mound of labour and unemployment rates and questions revolving around youth and careers.
There was a whole document released entitled Employment Patterns of Post Secondary Students which parents of my generation, have overlooked. Even during the school year, we can’t find a job. If we do, it’s at McDick’s wishing we were dead. And those coming out of school, sometimes aren’t able to find a simple service job.
Now being unemployed is more attractive than being under employed. My parents would rather me try to find a better job than work in a job that is “below” me. This isn’t as odd as you think. Would anyone want to say their child is working at Timmies when they have so much education and potential? It’s almost a slap in the face to their investment. That leaves the child, namely ME, stuck in a cycle which makes me unemployed and not in a position to find a higher paying career because I’m unexperienced.
This is the main pressure we face in my demographic. We look to being entrepreneurial because of the lack of employment, but when we look for the parental approval we get into more fights than necessary.
My generation is more than a demographic, we have a true problem socially and fiscally that most stats overlook. We strive to have the lifestyle set forth by our parents, but until we get our mythical “big break” we’re stuck at home crying when our parents yell at us.
What’s the solution? Well, the lack of employment comes in waves of excuses from the economy to the devaluation of a university degree. But first and foremost it comes from the companies we look too. My generation, for some reason believes they can get a well paying job with no effort, so they look to the brands they love to get a job. WORST IDEA EVER!
You want to find a job? Start small.
Small companies offer larger positions. Sure, you don’t make $100k right off the bat, but think about how Facebook and Google started. Out of a garage and into 7 digit salaries. Ground floor with a company, means loyalty and more creative license.
Fuck Internships, offer services yourself
Don’t go to work for peanuts or free, your degree and your know how is a commodity. Set yourself up even with smaller projects with friends, family members, parents or neighbours. Get that experience and money in YOUR pocket. Set up a consulting business and charge a decent sum that is under moderate competitors. Hell go to those competitors to see if you can collaborate with them. Anything goes.
Use your connections
You never know who you know until you speak with them. Even the best connections could be a random on FB or Twitter. Put it out there, and it could happen. What’s the saying again? Ask and you shall receive….
Finally, we as a generation have to understand that our parents are truly proud of us. We look to them, finding ourselves not accomplishing what should have happened. Our parents are cheering in the stands… but we as a generation can’t fall into despair when all we need to do is move our fucking asses and make something happen.