Unemployment in London is a hot topic these days. And by “hot topic” I mean “pressing problem threatening to force London into a death spiral,” and by “these days,” I mean for about the past two years. Because I’m a young(ish) professional, the issue of unemployment among professionals is particularly interesting to me. Not good interesting. Sucktacular interesting. Here’s why:
When you’re trying to convince everybody that you rock and have the potential to be insanely successful, and they should get you on their team, know what doesn’t sound good?
“Oh, and my life is slowly falling apart around me because I have no money, and I’m kinda depressed, and I’ve never felt this crappy and defeated in my entire life, and yes, it seems like I’m very busy, but I’m not getting paid for any of it, and I kind of want to eviscerate myself with a rusty pitchfork every time someone says how great it is that I’m so active and how awesome I am, because OH FOR GOD’S SAKE, SOMEBODY PAY ME, PLEASE.”
So we don’t say it. We talk about how wonderful it is to be busy (so many lunch meetings because you’re always free for lunch when you don’t have a job!) and how great it is to be talking to people about their ideas and how we could help them (because we’re not busy helping anyone who’s paying us!) and that we couldn’t imagine working a 9-5 anyway (okay, that one’s just actually true. I mean, we can imagine it, especially the dental benefits, but c’mon–it does suck).
The best is when people call themselves consultants but actually haven’t been paid in, um… a while. I’m not a consultant. I’m someone who used to be, and is now severely underemployed in a job that barely pays my bills now, and won’t last much longer, and then, well, I guess I just won’t pay my bills.
And the more I try to work toward getting a better job, or doing things that benefit my community (all that activity everyone thinks is so awesome!), the less time I have for that job anyway. And I’m not the only one in this boat. We are an ocean liner full of people barely treading water, and risking drowning every time we try to get a little closer to where we want to be.*
I probably shouldn’t write this blog post, because now some potential employer is going to find it and think I’m mentally unstable and not particularly wonder why nobody else will hire me, but you know what? I don’t care. If none of us are willing to say, “Hey, it kinda frigging sucks to be us in London right now” then who the hell is going to say it?
And when someone is willing to stand up and say it on our behalf, why on Earth are we disagreeing with them?
Stop giving everyone a reason to say that every young underemployed person in London seems really happy and like they just love it here and would never leave no matter what and actually don’t want any money anyway. Because that’s what all of our elected officials and various representatives hear when we act like we have been. Like everything’s cool.
No. It sucks.
I’d like some people to please try to fix it.
*That’s a terrible metaphor. Why would people in an ocean liner be treading water? That sounds like grounds for a hefty lawsuit if you went on some kind of a luxury cruise and then ended up treading water. Oh, hey, I hope that happens to me.