Ten Steps to a Successful Life

  1. Learn the 3 "R"s - reading, writing and arithmetic
  2. Pass SATs/entrance exams and get into good secondary school
  3. Get five good (A*-C) GCSEs including English, maths and science
  4. Get at least three A-Levels in "good" subjects i.e. Sciences, humanities, not "Mickey Mouse studies"
  5. Get into (a good) university
  6. Get a decent degree in a "useful" subject
  7. Get a good/proper job
  8. Buy a house
  9. Get a husband/wife/partner
  10. Have some kids and start the cycle again 
N.B. Not all steps have to be completed in this order

Obviously, not everyone would fit this order of events for various reasons but it feels like there is a definite perception that these steps are the prescribed way to be considered successful. In life.

And I've stalled at Step 7.

In the past week, I've had at least three conversations with people my age about the plight of young people (16-25ish) in the world of work. In the interest of full disclosure, one of us is technically unemployed but doing odd jobs here and there for money; one is in full-time work at a "proper job"; one is still at university, working at a summer job; the last is working two jobs, though one is below minimum wage (that's me btw). Three have been or are at university, one did not go. So in a way this is a broad spectrum of young people in the workplace. Also for full disclosure, we're all female. It basically got me thinking and this is the result. 

As I discussed in a precious post, the UK has seen a record high of young people still living at home. As I also said, this is not always through choice. But with the world as it is right now, it is practically the only choice. Minimum wage in the UK for over-21s is £6.08/hr (about €7.65/$9.60). So a typical 37 hour week would earn you £224.96 before tax. OK, so this is technically enough to live off but, if you were, it is nigh-on impossible to be able to save anything for, say, a deposit on a flat/house. But as we are told again and again, at least we have a job and we should be grateful. Hmpf.

Totally getting this book. Looks like it'll speak
 to me on a spiritual level. 
For a few months last summer I went on Job Seeker's allowance, otherwise known as the dole. It wasn't the most pleasant experience ever, but the one thing I noticed was that they kept suggesting that I look for volunteer work or perhaps do an unpaid internship. I get they are trying to get us work experience to "put on your CV" but the problem is, it's unpaid! I am already living at home, not paying my own way after 23-odd years on this planet, I don't still want to be sponging every penny I have of my parents! 

I get the feeling that employers and companies think that young people are willing to work for nothing just "for the experience", and that we can just live at home indefinitely. It's disheartening and makes you feel worthless if a company or employer does not feel like paying you for your work. I also think it will fuel the fire that is young unemployment. Why should we work for nothing, when the government will pay us £50 a week to sit at home "job-searching"?

Of course, the fact we are in a recession, in a financial crisis or whatever you want to call it, does not help the matter of finding a well-paid, secure job in one's sector of choice. But that should not give employers the go-ahead to just not pay us for whatever work we end up doing. 

The people I spoke to all felt like they have been living off their parents for too long, that they want to move out but they just can't afford to. Not without sacrificing every last penny of their savings or even the lifestyle they are accustomed to. I don't know how this can be changed but hopefully we can all come out the other end doing what we want to be doing, and getting paid a decent wage! Keeping positive…

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