I read this article and it just seemed so completely ridiculous that I just had to share it with you. Written by Madeleine Dodd for the Huffington Post, it was entitled – Are you having a mid-twenties crisis?
Just the title was enough to make me laugh. It describes the “under publicised beast” that is the mid-twenties crisis, less obvious that the well-known mid-life crisis but describes those who are suffering as panicking when they realise they are too old to win the X Factor and then making huge changes in their lives such as quitting their job, ending a relationship, doing a Masters or going travelling. Dodd links these choices to three big differences between our generation and the last:
1.We know too much about what everyone else is doing thanks to social media
2.We’re the first generation to be less wild than our parents who lived during Woodstock times
3.We know our real value and it comes in at under 20 grand a year
What an incredibly negative and disillusioned woman. Such a shame to have such a jaundiced view of the world we live in at such a young age. Fair enough, times are tough and employment-wise we do have it a lot worse that previous generations, we are constantly aware of everyone around us and what they are up to, and perhaps some of us are having less fun – but perhaps this is more to do with what some people do with themselves. As a bit of a social media nutter (comes with being a blogger, doesn’t it?) I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Tumblr every day and am constantly seeing updates of what other people are doing and where they are in their lives. To be honest, my Facebook is packed full of three types of people – the ones who had kids/got married young, the ones who are still at university or are on gap years/travelling and the ones who have moved on to work, whether it is something they love or not. The only ones to be jealous of there are those travelling! Fair enough, if you haven’t got the job you want it can be hard to see how amazing some other people’s lives are, but chuck a bucket of salt over that and you might see a glimmer of reality when the ones with amazing jobs are having problems at home, work hideously long hours, actually get treated like crap in the office or their relationship broke up because the job moved them away. There is two sides to every story – Facebook sees the best side (or sometimes the very worst side) but there is always more to the tale.
As for point two, I think someone needs to get out more. Being wild is not about having money from said job or going off and taking copious amounts of illegal substances or dancing in fields naked. It’s about finding your passion and your love and blowing off some steam by giving into it completely every now and again. For me, it is going to see live music including DJs or heading to festivals. And I think if people really knew what a night out was like with me, they would realise this generation are wild enough, in fact if anyone tried walking around Boomtown Fair 2013, they would realise what wild really is!
Finally, we all know our worth and it comes in at under £20,000 a year? Okay, I understand it is very demoralising to come out of university and be forced to work in a job that you don’t like or that you think you are better than. I understand that I have been very lucky in securing such a good job and training to accompany it, but a lot of work also went into securing that. People really need to stop moaning about the recession and employment market, there are countless jobs out there that don’t have people to fill them because others are being too picky about what they want to do.
I have never been under the impression that I would walk out of university and into a job in journalism – I studied English and didn’t have my NCTJ – and I didn’t. I was unemployed for six months but in the two years before me finding my current job, I had done copious amounts of work experience where I impressed by getting front pages in my first week, I had filled in for the company when they were short staffed and contributed a weekly column – all my own organising and forcefulness but it worked in the long run.
Much as I love my job, I have realised that perhaps straight journalism is not for me and perhaps I would prefer online/broadcast or magazine work instead – most of all I would like to try different things but in the meantime I am making sure I am fully trained so that I have the journalism qualification for the future. After realising this, I managed to work it so that I was managing the website and entertainment section of the newspaper to help broaden my experience. I also started volunteering to write for a festival review website for free in order to gain more experience. I have since been made editor which is great experience and will look fantastic on my CV.
Knowing your value is not about how much you are earning – god knows that some of the most valuable people out there are the volunteers and those at the bottom of the heap who work endless hours to perfect things so others at the top can take the credit. It is more about making the most of your talents – by going beyond the call of duty both at your own job by making yourself invaluable, and at extra-curricular activities such as blogging/writing/volunteering/work experience that could benefit you in the long run by giving you extra experience. Sure you might not walk into a producer job at 23, but you’ll have a wealth of skills and although you might be working in a job you hate (back in retail after university is a killer) but you’ll be doing something outside of this that you love and that could lead to bigger things in the long run.
Put simply, the world has changed since our parents’ day and that may not be a good thing in every way, but it isn’t all bad. There are plenty of opportunities for those who are just starting out in their industries – just look at the countless people who have started up their own companies. They have been able to do so because the lack of jobs in their desired area has been lacking forcing them to create positions, and the low interest rates have given them the capital needed. Win-win. And the use of social media has only helped to develop this by offering free marketing and advertising of products to customers.
This is me at my graduation, full of hope and excitement for what would come next career-wise. I left university without a job lined-up but I wasn’t afraid of what was to come. I used the time off between university and starting work as time to relax after my hard work towards exams and to research jobs and journalism training. It helped me decide to start a distance-learning course instead of spending the huge amount of money on in-house courses, which worked in my favour because another journalist left the paper suddenly and they called on me instantly. I was clearly within their minds after all my hard work and it paid off. Patience is everything and a negative attitude helps no-one.
And since when was quitting your job, going travelling or breaking up with a long-term boyfriend seen as flighty or as signs of a mid-twenties crisis? Surely your twenties is the perfect time to start afresh, you have no real commitments and nothing to tie you down. It is a common time to break up couples if their careers or travel fantasies pull them in different directions, it’s the time to find new love and fall head-over-hells for the wrong people. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try out as many different types of work as possible to gain experience and use jobs as a chance to travel, move away and gain independence. As for going travelling, when you’ve just spent nearly 20 years in education and firmly under your parents’ wing, a taste of freedom at university can give you the desire to see the world and get out there. To experience it all for yourself, and with difficulties finding the right job, why not work in retail, save some dollar and head out to Thailand to find yourself?
What do you think about life in your twenties? Are you having a bit of a crisis, or do you feel like you’re got it together?