Generation Jobless


Written By: Yazhini S.

Yippie! I graduated. This past year, I graduated from university. It was a grand affair. My entire family came, even my father, who can never take a day off from his restaurant job, asked for a day off and came. While my parents basked in happiness, my sentiments were quite the contrary. You would think my enthusiasm for graduating and “making it” would be greater, but I must admit, I feel as if my troubles have only started since. The expectation for the “rest of life” to follow has only increased since graduating.

While in school, it was acceptable to put off finding a good job, or getting married until I was done school, however now that I have completed school, the pressure to fulfill these societal expectations has increased. Despite the economy, my parents believe in the dream of their child graduating, obtaining a good job, buying a house, getting married, having a child, etc.

I am not going to lie. I applied to tons of entry level jobs, jobs that required high school education even, and have not heard back. I cannot tell you about the piles, yes piles of job applications stacked on my window sill.  I have seen my peers, who graduated last year or the year before still struggling to find a “respectful” job. I have seen brilliant students stuck in contract position after contract position. In this economy, finding a job is really much harder than winning the lottery.

The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives released a report earlier that highlights that joblessness is more common in Ontario than anywhere in Canada. In fact, the report highlighted that only 1 in 2 had any paid employment. (Many times, they are underemployed in precarious work). The unemployment rate for Canadian youth is 17.1% – really a shocking statistic. Studies have proven that not being able to secure a full-time continuing position has real consequences for future promotions and overall lifetime earnings.

Regardless of this, I have been trying with all my heart to not let my motivation down. But it is hard. I secretly suffer in depression over my inability to find a job. I was an A student throughout my life. I was awarded honours and awards, this rejection has been quite difficult for me to accept. Sending in resume after resume has really worn me down mentally. All my life, I equated my worth with my academics, that now, having being rejected so many times, I feel as if something is wrong with me. I stay awake at night, unable to sleep, thinking of the situation I have found myself in. I am sad, I cannot explain how I feel even to my friends. I feel as though I need to pretend that everything is peaches and cream when really, I am suffering inside.

I think for the students who echo my sentiments, I want to tell you, our time will come. We just have to continue to persevere. This too shall pass, but who we are as a person, through difficult and good times will remain. Use this time as a time to change the world for the better. Maybe, it is really our chance to do something more meaningful for the community – something we may not have done if we were awarded full-time continuing jobs. And finally, don’t lose hope. Keep applying, you never know when your time has come!

For the Tamil parents who are reading this, I want to just please ask you, be understanding of your children who may find themselves in a similar situation. Be supportive to your children. They need your support and love more than ever right now. Yes, it would be nice to call Mala Aunty, or Kamala Aunty and tell them your child found that government job, but, the reality is, Mala Aunty and Kamala Aunty’s children are in the same situation. Instead of worrying about maintaining appearances, use this as a time to connect with us. After all, we want more than anything to succeed too.


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