Tiffany, post-graduate student, Canada
In these times, things of significance have not changed for me personally. I’m still concerned with carving out a satisfying career that supports a meaningful lifestyle, however, it has become more difficult to achieve this personal goal when even getting a first job, paying graduate tuition fees and finding an unpaid internship is more challenging. Recruitment for unpaid volunteer work has been as rigourous as getting a permanent full-time job with benefits – the latter of which seems rarer these days and based more on personal connections and being the “right fit” rather than actual credentials.
The recession has affected my work and practice by keeping me more practical in general and less willing to take risks with new projects or courses unless they are absolutely necessary for building my future resume and/or job fit.
My daily life has been very much affected by the recession because I have to be more conservative with money. I am less willing to travel for pleasure or go out for dinner or even to see a movie. When I do go out, I feel guilty because I have looming student debt that could take longer and longer to pay off when I graduate.
I’ve remarked upon a change in myself because I am less willing to be adventurous – to do things just because I feel like it and because it is psychically rewarding. Now, I’m just about day-to-day living and trying to seek balance and shelter from a cruel and harsh outside world where work is a dehumanizing experience.
The kinds of changes that are needed is a leash put on the absolute and cheap, quantity vs. quality lifestyle of consumerism that pervades this capitalistic North America. It’s this type of bad spending habits that has put us in this recession, but sadly, I don’t see people truly learning to favour quality over quantity and who simply enjoy cheap, fast, quick, consumption for the sake of it.
I envision the future as a more conservative one. I’ve been a lot about generations and the next “Generation Z” will be more cautious, careful, conformist and less likely to rock the boat because they are growing up in the age of Post-911, global economic crisis, environmental issues etc. They perhaps will be more exposed to globalization and be able to open-mindedly travel the world much like younger members of “Generation Y” are doing right now.
“Generation Y,” however, is faced with a larger task of pulling out their Baby Boomer parents from a world of unchecked idealism that has put us in this state of affairs. As a generation that I belong to (well, about the tail end of Generation X and the beginning to Generation Y), we are a generation of “good kids” that excelled in school and worked hard with the expectation of getting solid full-time jobs and working linearly towards some kind of material goal
This is goal no longer exists. And Generation Y, given its enormous size, educational ability and characteristic optimism will have to muster up courage, independently, and without its characteristic dependence on their Baby Boomer parents to revolutionize the workplace to be more civic-minded.