Here’s another article I’ve written that didn’t get published so you’re more than welcome to have it.
In analogue media terms, generation loss is where something degrades after repeated editing, compression or saving. It affects things such as music and pictures, dropping the quality of such materials the more you save them or have to save them to add other things. Analogue music mixing and subsequent copying made for many different generations in the process. Firstly there’s mastering, then more mastering if you need to add more tracks (large channel mixing was very expensive). Genertaion one. Then there’s copying that to versatile media such a vinyl, CD or tape. Generation two. Then if people copy that to a tape or rip it to a computer in a compressed file format that’s generation three. The cycle goes on and each time the original song loses more and more cohesion which manifests itself in static noise, tinny compression and lower quality. Newer digital technology has eliminated a lot of this but it still can occur.
My generation (the actual human people, not The Who song) are hitting their late twenties and early thirties. A combination of factors completely outside of our control, and arguably outside of the previous generations too, has effectively degraded our chances of prosperity in our economy. Austerity has hit us hard as we hardly had any money to begin with. Jobs are so fiercely fought over for barely liveable wages (and sometimes not even that) with many employers simply unable to afford to keep up with the cost of living. Private renting has escalated to such a unregulated level that demand keeps prices too high and social housing hasn’t recovered for several generations.
The problems we face are the same as everyone else, yet it seems that we are the least vocal about the false promises and the lack of hope. We’re called millennials, as if this is a nice code word for being “stuck living at home due to no savings, lack of jobs that pay or being burdened with debt.” Desperation sees us having to take multiple jobs, I myself have three including self employment and a zero hours contract. Practically none of us have equity thanks to the astronomical property ladder. Our reality is that unless we are paid well, which admittedly some people are, we have to starve ourselves of spending, which isn’t helping us nor an economy already hamstrung by austerity. The more likely reality is if our parents/grandparents leave us enough when they pass on, we can start to be comfortable. We can look at house deposits and the like, and finally leave home for the first or second time.
This is a terribly morbid notion and ever more unlikely due to the increase in life expectancy which is tightening strings at the other end of the age gap. The thing is with our generation is that we’re now at the age where we want to settle down, have families and plan for our future. Yet for many of us the future lies between the next phone call offering a days work and the next glass of cheap alcohol to combat the ever increasing depression of this dilemma.
You’d be right to think that we’re quite salty about all of the above, the election promises and the confabulated statistics that support a parties rhetoric. The generation before us of business and home owners suffered massively with the banking crisis that we’re still reeling from today. The generation before that suffered from the economic problems of the late ’80s and early ’90s. The generation below us occupy low paid part-time and zero hours work, as well as working for free to jump start careers, and now WE’RE expected to be beginning the next generation – Starting families and investing in our genetic future.
Our education system was in tatters as we were going through the end of primary and secondary school. Help wasn’t there for people with difficulties in learning. Technology didn’t come until after we left the system, meaning that we just missed the technology and coding boom that our schools couldn’t teach. Our grades, passable or otherwise, are over a decade old and now mean nothing in an experience based, nepotistic world. We’ve lived and are living through the spiralling cost of private accommodation thanks to the lack of social housing, a policy the Conservatives seem set to repeat. Over reliance on the service sector, thanks in part to Labour, completely left us bereft of employment but was a massive lie due to the lack of any career progression. We spent the early part of the decade in now closed call centres selling financial products nobody wanted, leaving us all with frustrating debt. We’re not stupid enough to blame it on UKIP’s phantom job stealers (although some blindly do as a focal point of directing anger) and many of us were sold down a river by the Lib Dems last time out. Trust and optimism was broken and we were hung out to dry.
All of this can be seen as a generalisation. Some people in our generation have escaped this or are just about surviving comfortably. There are both fiscally and socially successful people in every generation who are doing well, but en masse we are not. This is well documented but ill communicated between the lines of optimistic sound bites and manifesto rhetoric. Many generations have suffered from unemployment, public service cuts and the divide of the rich and the poor. Arguably however it is our generation that has felt the combined forces of all of these problems more forcibly and has degraded the most. Like the MP3 file on your music device, we have been suffering from previous generations worth of strain leaving us with nothing but static noise and the tinny residue of a people compressed. The next bunch after us, who are equally disenchanted but young enough to be convinced of false hope, are now the focus of recovery. We’re not even a generation loss but “generation lost”, an unaddressed burden that will haunt the next government (whatever that may be) for years to come.