Realistic expectations for the Millennials

It’s been a while since I published a blog post, but a lot has happened in my work life and made me reconsider the direction I want my life to take.

After amazing Christmas holidays in West Africa, still dreaming about the sun and the beach, I receive a mandatory call invite from a HR representative in the afternoon for later the same day. I was a little bit worried, but I knew what to expect given all the changes my company had gone through. Yes, it was a call regarding the “restructuring” of the company prior to our historical merger to come. The company wanted to cut a number of people out and that’s when I experienced the first real stressful time in my young career. The call was then followed by a second one, confirming that my department was in scope, and more particularly my job level. A week and a half later we received the final call and most critical one yet which would determine who was or not at risk. When someone is put at risk, there is a consultation period of 30 days, during which the person and the company try to find a position elsewhere in the company. If no role is available, the person gets their evaluation back and the feedback of why they are being made redundant (which is usually exaggerated, but they need to cut out people, so they say what needs to be said in order to make the decision credible). The best option in my company was to take voluntary redundancy, as it was a better leaving package and allowed people to leave almost straight away, because who wants to stay somewhere they do not feel welcome anymore?

Throughout the whole process, I was very stressed, as I mentioned earlier, but on the other hand my older colleagues probably had it worse than me. The majority have children who they need to provide for and also a mortgage they need to pay. I have none of those, and my parents were more than happy to have me back home if I was made redundant. That got me thinking: is it really a choice that I do not have a mortgage to pay or is it because I can’t afford it? Unfortunately, it’s not a choice, yes I know that I don’t leave in the cheapest city around (London), but when I compare my current situation to my parents’ back at my age, it is completely different. I live with three flatmates; I try to travel as much as I can afford, I can’t save money and I am mortified by the thought of having debts (I do not own a single credit card). I could travel less, but then my life would be about working and not living, and I am not sure I can afford that either. At 27, my mother on the other hand was pregnant with her first child, buying her first house with my father and they also had a car (even if I could afford one, I live in London so I don’t know how practical that would be). Those were different times you will tell me (and a different place). Back then banks gave a real interest with saving accounts and my parents’ generation (or the Baby Boomers’ generation) hadn’t experienced a global financial crisis by the age of 18 which would have a negative impact on their young adult life.

So why is it that we are not treated differently if we live in different times? A lot of Baby Boomers see the Millennials as a lazy generation, that does not know how to handle their finances. However, with the salaries, the costs of living and the current economic situation it is not always realistic for Millennials to have a pension, a mortgage and on top of that have an actual life that allows for little pleasures, such as travelling or buying this or that thing. We would become slaves of our time. (Olivia Rudgard expands more on the financial situation of Millennials in this article). All these questions made me realise that I might have to make changes to my life, maybe starting by leaving this amazing city that is London.

Millennials or Baby Boomers, we all have our share of financial worries, especially when additional factors, such as redundancies come knocking on our doors. Thankfully for now, I have been “saved” from this round of redundancies, but who knows what the future holds?

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