In case you missed it the last time, the Globe and Mail would like to remind you once again that my generation is doomed.
The Globe‘s latest proclaimation of my generation’s Doomsday scenario was published this weekend. And while it didn’t catch as much fire as the last time the Globe published such a story, many people in my Twitter and Facebook feeds were sharing the story this weekend, saying it was proof of how screwed we all are.
From the article:
The tentacles of this new economic reality could stretch over decades. A generation of highly educated people that Canada desperately needs to drive future growth isn’t reaching its full potential. High debt and a late start in the job marker means longer delays in buying houses, cars and appliances – which will have a broad impact on Canada’s growth rates and prosperity.
Maybe that part is true. Perhaps right now, I’m living in perfectly happy bliss. I’ve managed to secure myself a full-time permanent job, that pays well, bought a house this year and have a stable relationship where my partner also makes a decent salary. I’m sure that could all change on a dime and I would be just another one of those in my generation who are out of work and out of luck.
Lord knows, I paid my dues in my 20s. I went to university and paid for my education on the 20-year plan (you know, OSAP it all upfront, pay for it later), and I’m still paying back those debts. But that’s debt I’m proud of. My credit card debt is another story, but I’m working hard to pay it down. Once one of those things is in the clear, I’m going to set my sights on retirement savings.
And yes, finding a permanent full-time job that I liked, and that liked me, was not easy. I started my career in Toronto at a low-paying part-time job. Then I moved to a high paying job I hated. Next was contract full-time work followed by another contract. And yes, I left the journalism industry in order to get a permanent job. But I don’t begrudge that for one second, I love what I do.
However, according to the Globe article, my rosy view is just naivety:
The different playing field for young people today can be measured in a number of ways. One is the decline of secure jobs: The proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds in temporary positions has climbed steadily, to about 29 per cent this year from 21 per cent in 1997, Statistics Canada data show.
Perhaps this could also be measured by the fact that, as the article points out, more youth are going on to post-secondary education than ever before. Therefore, while those aged 20-24 would nab full-time jobs in years gone by, nowadays, those in that age bracket are still in school, which means even if full-time jobs were available, most people that age would be unable to take them because of their studies.
I know I’m still young. There’s a lot of my life still ahead of me, but looking at my life now and I think I’m in a slightly better place than my parents were at my age.
They had me at 21. By the time they were 27, they had three kids. We bought our first house when my parents were 28. We lived there for just over two years before we went back to renting. I remember my parents saving for everything they wanted: A VCR, a CD player. We got by with one car for years until my parents just couldn’t realistically share it anymore.
Comparatively, I turned 30 this year, and don’t have any kids. I wish I saved more for my gadgets, but (like many others in my generation), I tend to just go out and buy what I want on credit. Time will tell how long my partner and I stay in our current home, and I did buy my first car, but decided to sell it after I quit the job I bought it for and found out I didn’t really use it all.
Then again, maybe I’m just viewing the world through rose-coloured glasses and one day I’ll see just how screwed my generation actually is.