So, today I read a very interesting article on “epidemic” of teenage loneliness. The full thing can be found here.
And this is for background music as you read (this post or the article, either way, you will likely feel like listening to this song):
The main point of the article is that in Britain, reports suggest that teenagers feel “an air of hatred” of them, to the point where even millennials call current teenagers “complacent layabouts” (that is very British and I doubt that millennials anywhere would use that term, but ok). Several other interesting points were the fact that teenagers their parents to be disinterested in them and employers’ unwillingness to hire them makes British teens feel insecure and disheartened, almost to the point of feeling inferior.
I hear you say already: Indre, you’re not a teenager anymore, nor do you have teenage children yet. Why take an interest in these whiny brats?
First, come on, use the word “nor” one more time and I will take you seriously.
Second, think about it this way: these “whiny brats” are likely to be your children’s bosses. Yes, thinking that far in the future, these “complacent layabouts” will likely run Britain (and other countries, cause let’s face it, Britain is an island with commitment issues, but surely their social problems are similar to those in continental Europe). Worse, their problems are relevant now and to another, seemingly unrelated group of people: the under 30s.
Yes, that mysterious group of people that never make it to statistics. Let’s talk about them for a bit.
Let’s take the “air of hatred”. Oh, trust me, when you’re below 30, unmarried, childless and have positive fat/muscle mass ration to muscle, the “air of hatred” is real, especially in working environment. I cannot say I know about blue collar job conditions, but white collar where I am, it can get brutal. “You’re young, you have too much enthusiasm” – a classic. “But we don’t work that way. Maybe you should be more attentive.” – happens when you introduce changes to working process. “Put more love in your work. And do this slide THIS way, the original was wrong.” – on your 150th presentation, after being given creative freedom.
Much like teenagers suffer being called “just going through a phase” when they really need help, the below 30 segment is suffering the “you’re too young” syndrome. Too young for what? I’ve been paying taxes 5 years less than you, what’s your point? The classic “once you will have kids, you will understand” is also getting old. So when is this “too young” phase going to pass?
Let’s take another example, “unwillingness to hire”. Surprisingly, it’s not so easy to find work, even with significant experience. We’re talking senior positions here though, so don’t start “oh, but if you’re a specialist…”.
Let’s talk instead about something more challenging and much, much more despised: senior management positions. These are the people that can either inspire, mentor, guide you or can make your life miserable. That is where I am. And let me tell you, at that level, your understanding of the game changes. This is where age maters and if you’re under 30 (and especially if you fit above qualifications), boy do the others hate you. The younger ones want to be you when they grow up, the older ones are jealous of your perceived freedom and your bosses dread the day you will go on maternity/paternity leave. At this “golden” age, hirings are short on you, especially as a woman, because they don’t look at your qualifications anymore, they look at how long before you crack and/or get yourself pregnant.
Lastly, let’s take the “loneliness” and inability to talk to your parents (they say parents don’t listen or take interest in the article). The biggest generational gap in terms of communication methods is between people born in 60s, 70s and the ones born in 90s and ’00s. But it’s not just social media and such, that is catching up by now, I mean something deeper.
What makes at least me feel extremely lonely in the sea of “grown ups” is their air of superiority. The saddest part: they only feel that way because they feel inferior. They can’t hope to catch up to you, to your way of thinking, perceiving and understanding. It’s the little things: a second language, adaptation of different disciplines to your every day, your will to go running, etc. Some “grown ups” accept it and I respect them and can work with them, but it is extremely lonely out here, among others that don’t value your opinion based on your age. Does that sound familiar? Why, yes, I guess it does.
Dear reader, I started with teenager problems, but ended with mine and my age people problems (without any absolutes, because maybe others are perfectly happy, I don’t know). But they overlap, seriously. The only difference being that teenagers are in the worst position, cause they have even less of a voice. We can at least afford a shrink when it gets really bad.
I truly wish that no one would go through feelings like these, but if they are, remember: even small, rebellion goes a long way, if not for the world, at least for yourself.