Hi I’m Ashley, a twenty-something working at a big corporate in London. And although it might not seem as cool as blogging about something like fitness or food, I’m here to talk about work. Bear with me!
Unless you win the lottery (and as I’ve recently told my boyfriend who is convinced he’ll win the Euromillions, chances are 1 in 139,838,160) it’s looking like most of us will need to work until we are at least 65. So let’s say we start work at 22, and from then on do a typical 9-5 for the 253 working days we have in the year. That’s almost 80,000 hours in our lives that we’ll spend working. Blimey.
And yet despite this, a lot of twenty-somethings that I know can’t convincingly tell me that they like their job. A lot seem to be pretty lukewarm about it. Many seem to feel a mismatch between what we’re advised about the world of work through our teens and the reality. Are we just being moaning millennials? Should we just accept lukewarm for the next 40 years? Or is there something more we can do?
I think there’s an easy place to start, and that’s just talking more – honestly – about work and our experiences. If we can share the opportunities we’re making and challenges we’re facing, then I think we can help each other.
I think this is important because millennials and the Gen Z-ers coming through do face new opportunities and challenges that we’re still getting our heads round. To name just a few, various research says we’re the first generation to be worse off than our parents, increased university fees mean some of us will have £50k debt by age 21/22, and social media gives us a connectivity (and certain pressures) that we’ve never seen before. Yet while there seems to be a lot of support and networking geared at entrepreneurs and senior business people, for some reason there doesn’t seem to be much for those of us that are starting out in employment (moaning to your mates about your job over a glass of wine doesn’t really count!).
There’s also another reason why I want to talk more openly and honestly about work, which my 18 year old brother has brought to light recently. He has just finished his A Levels and gone on to do an apprenticeship, and I spent a lot of time over the last year to 18 months helping him think about what he wants to do and how to get there. But a lot of people out there, like me, don’t have an older sibling that has recently gone through all of that themselves. And sometimes career advice from schools and families, although well meaning, doesn’t factor in the breadth of options that are out there and may be more suitable than traditional routes like university. With the amount of opportunity and change in the job market now and on the horizon (one study predicts that 47% of white-collar jobs could be automated by 2033!), I think honest guidance and information about work is more important than ever.
I by no means have this work thing sorted out and like all of my friends, can go through ups and downs with it. However, I’m really lucky to work with a real variety of exceptional people every day, some very senior and most super supportive of me and my development, at a company that is market-leading and works with almost every other business you can think of. I am learning a lot, and think there might be a thing or two that I can share.
So here I am starting this blog to try and encourage more conversations about how to make sense of the world of work as millenials/Gen Z-ers. Maybe it’ll help us enjoy those 80,000 hours a bit more. Let’s see how we get on!