I just read an interesting article in Time magazine today entitled The Broken Hopes of a Generation. It’s a look on the frustrations Spaniards in their 20’s and early 30’s, are facing brought about by the recession.
The article writes, by presenting examples of young adults in the prime of their twenties and their lives, who are having a hard time adjusting to the effects of the economic crisis we are facing today. The kids that were featured in the article, mostly grew up in Vigo, a working class city in Spain. Their parents are not rich, most have regular jobs, majority worked for a big car factory; but have managed to give their kids a comfortable life, since Europe was doing well for the past 30 years prior to the present’s economic crisis. And so, the younger generation of Vigo, were able to go to college and naturally expected better, more successful lives, than their parents. But, again, because of la crisis (as used in the article), things didn’t turn out as well as they hoped. The sad part about their stories is that most of them are still dependent of their parents even now that they are old enough, degree holders, ready to face the world on their own. Of course, some are just a bit depressed that they can no longer continue to live and spend as vicariously as they did before.
I find all this interesting because not only am I in the same age margin as the people featured, I have been thinking about careers and success myself these past two days. Just yesterday, I was reading a friend’s post on her blog, where she retrospected her career life in the past five years since college. This afternoon JG and I watched Kevin Smith’s black and white film Clerks, about a day in the life of an over-qualified underachiever who works as a convenience store clerk. And then the article. Which really got me thinking.
Anyway, I find myself somewhat relating to the people featured in the article because I am in the same age margin as they are, and I too was hoping to find a stable career that would carry me through my adult life. I did after all work my way through college, and like them dream to at least do better than my parents. However, I am not as frustrated as they are, or as affected by what the global economic crisis has brought to my generation and its future.
The only reason I can think of, is because unlike them I grew up in a country that has already been struggling even before the recession. Because the Philippines never really experienced the same economic boom Spain had in the past three decades, I, like my most Pinoys my age, (including JG) already knew that it wasn’t going to be easy for us when we got older. We had hopes that we might get the job that we wanted, but we were also prepared at the notion that there is also a big possibility that we might not.
Luckily for me, I fell in love, and found a partner that has a stable career, which put me in a position where I am not required to work to survive. However had I not married JG, being the idealistic that I am, I would have probably pursued my dreams and be a penniless writer. But as blood and culture would dictate, I would still have to help out with the everyday expenses in the family. So if I wasn’t where I am today, knowing I am not as talented as a writer as I wish I am; I would probably still be working in a call center – because its easy to get and pay is good there.
But I would still be okay with that, because I was raised that unless I work extra hard, or get lucky, I would have to accept any career I find myself in. Even if I find it mediocre, or no matter how over-qualified I am for it. Back at home, anything is better than being unemployed. And not everybody can depend on their parents. Some do not even have the luxury of aiming for a dream job, because they will have to pursue a career that if not in demand, is at least stable and easy to get a hold of. Which makes the difference.
Nevertheless, like the kids from Spain, many Filipinos back home are also frustrated that they cannot be as trendy, or travel the world, or pursue whatever career they want. But we all continue to strive to try to attain those things. Simply because life is a struggle, no matter where you are, recession or not.