Young jobless try to stay positive in very difficult times

More and more young people are battling with unemployment

Being a young adult in the recession has its pros and cons. For some it can mean their idea of how life would be differs greatly to reality. Moving back home with your parents and battling unemployment are problems more and more young people face today and for those lucky to find work, the situation might not necessarily be better.

Reduced hours and low wages can’t bring the independence that every young adult craves. But the harsh reality of the recession can have a positive effect on some. It can encourage people to explore new interests and learn new skills which helps make the best of a bad situation.

Vanessa (26) says being young during a recession is a challenging time but also a creative one, “…people have more time on their hands and they are more inclined to be adventurous with it.

There are also a lot of new types of businesses being formed that we have never seen before and I believe the recession is giving people the courage to pursue these new avenues. I feel like the recession has put an awful lot of pressure on young people to travel. While many people want to travel I think some are being forced into it from lack of employment here,” she says.

Emigration is a popular avenue for the young and unemployed. James (25) moved to Sweden to study a degree in software engineering in 2012. He picked this course because the job prospects seemed desirable. “I think they will be quite reasonable because I study software development which seems to be in good demand,” he says.

Joanne (23) is currently studying an MA to be a social worker. “The possibility of getting a job in my field is quite high in Ireland for when I qualify, but it will be on a lower pay scale than expected,” she says. Because of low wages, Joanne is also open to the idea of emigration.

Emigration isn’t an option for everyone and finding part time work doesn’t always bring security to a person. Sophie (23) studied early childcare and development, when she left college job prospects were scarce and remain to be. “I have applied for many jobs in my area of study but to no avail. I feel that there are probably a lot more job opportunities in other areas of the country or abroad.

“However it’s a Catch 22. In order to move for work I would need savings to get an apartment etc, but it’s impossible to save money for the future on a minimum wage part time job,” she says. Sophie currently works part time as a retail assistant. She started with full time hours but they slowly decreased over time.

“Right now my hours change every week due to what hours are allocated to the shop by the company. This makes budgeting and managing money very difficult. It also makes me feel very insecure about my future and I sometimes worry that my hours could be cut completely.”


Lack of work and working in undesirable fields can affect one’s confidence. Conor (28) studied engineering in 2008 but has struggled to find work in the area of his degree. “Right now I’m in between internships trying to gain as much experience as I can in Civil Engineering. It’s very difficult to get a job and I must remain on jobseekers, (not that I want to or like it), to attain the internship I need,” he says.

Conor graduated from his course in 2012. Before, he worked but left to pursue this degree. “I have never in my life been on the dole. I was always working. And now I feel inadequate and unimportant as some days you feel like your skills are not wanted, or worse you’re not wanted,” he says.

Reality versus dreams of how life would be can be daunting but keeping busy – whether it’s with a new hobby or volunteering – can make being young in a recession more bearable. Vanessa volunteers 30 hours a week as well as taking classes and devotes her time to her own personal blog and one she devised with a friend.

“I don’t have a spare second really. You need to keep busy during unemployment otherwise you fall into a rut and that scares me,” she says.

Sophie also encourages staying occupied and says there are other ways to entertain oneself without disposable income, “When your work is quite mindless it can get you down. So I enjoy reading and make use of the library because it’s free.

“Also doing band practice is a good way to get out of the house for a couple of hours and have fun,” she says.

The future can seem bleak for young adults during a recession, but keeping busy and maintaining a positive attitude seems to be the way through this tough time. “Things could be worse for me,” says Conor, “I’m just very grateful to have a family and a wonderful girlfriend that loves me and I have my health. Things will turn around and I will be ready when it does.”