Generation Y so tough?

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post for my blog. I’ve been penning ideas for a while and I’ve now got a long list of posts that I need to get down to writing. But with a 9-5 job, a 1 hour commute on either side of that 9-5 job, a second job working for the, a flat to up-keep and lots of much needed exercise to keep up with I often find, unfortunately my own blog often comes at the end of my very long to do list. Did I mention I’m trying to write a book too?

I originally planned to pitch this post idea to my editor at, as the readership of the this popular online newspaper is primarily of the Generation Y age bracket. But I decided to keep this one to myself. I wanted to unfurl my thoughts into a post without having to keep a word count in mind or watch my words. Therefore I probably won’t reach a wide audience and get many shares but it will have the Mary Olivia Hickey stamp I think it needs to do it justice.

I want to talk about the woes of Generation Y, if you’re reading this from my Facebook page you are probably a member of Generation Y whether you know it or not. Just in case you needed to know, The Oxford Dictionary defines Generation Y as:

“The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, comprising primarily the children of the baby boomers and typically perceived as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology.”

Basically, you’re a twenty-something person who’s likely to be on Twitter.

And life is probably not quite what you expected. Like thousands of the Generation Y population I was born to parents who’d left University with an okayish degree and been offered 20+ jobs. They picked a career, worked their way up, met a partner, married, bought a house, had children, enlisted them in good schools, ensured they went on every school trip going and helped pay towards their university degree. All this happened as technology, opportunities, globalisation and choices advanced quicker than ever. For our parents, they thought that their children lived in the most exciting time ever. With thousands of university courses to choose from (hello Harry Potter Studies) countless apprenticeships and thousands of potential job opportunities, are parents reminded us again and again the sky is the limit.

Then we all graduated. Fresh faced, eager, excited and optimistic. We’d all sat through the odd dreary lecture about “how times were tough” and the fact we were about to be exposed to the toughest job market yet but did we really believe them? Our parents told us we were the best graduates around and we should seize all the opportunities that came gushing in…


The realisation is both our parents and more realistic lecturers were right. This is the most exciting time for young people, but it’s also ferociously difficult, competitive and cut throat. Especially for the likes of me, a twenty-four-year-old female with a Journalism BA. Over the past year I have sat through 11 interviews and failed. Yes 11. That’s 11 interview dresses, 100s of hours of preparing, 20+ hours commuting to interviews, 6 days of annual leave booked from temporary job to attend interviews, 10 interview tests, 15 hours spent in interviews and approximately 50 hours spent crying down to the phone to my family after receiving that frightful: “You were great but unfortunately you haven’t been successful this time” email.

I’m now sort of coming out of the other end. Sort of. But despite the fact I’m much stronger, I’m also very scarred by the past year. It was an incredible learning experience for me. To my parents, I’m their lovely, clever, hard-working daughter with two degrees and a would-be asset to any company. To organisations out there I’m just a statistic, one they don’t want to take on board.

I think the message I want to deliver in this post is not a negative one, believe it or not, it’s a hopeful one. I have been through the mill and back in these testing times and surprisingly it didn’t seem so bad for my close friends and family. But I hope any Generation Y’s out there can take some solace in this post and realise that all those defeats we face, whether it be securing a job, or a house, or paying the bills each month, seem harder because our parents promised us it wouldn’t be so tough. Unintentionally of course, our parents just try to prepare us for what’s out there but they instilled so much hope in us because for them life looks so exciting for us. They never had Twitter in their 20s, and when you sit down to teach them how to change a profile with an egg to a selfie and how to follow Stephen Fry, they think you’re amazing, and they tell us so.

So Generation Y, it’s tough yes, but keep going. I’ve decided not to settle. Ever. So I’m continuing to tackle a very difficult job market but each to their own. Just know that thing’s have got to get to easier, and if they don’t we are perhaps the most resilient generation ever so bring it on.




One thought on “Generation Y so tough?

  1. Lucy Dunks says:

    Hi Mary, brilliant post! Really enjoy reading all of them, of which I completely understand and can relate too them all in some way or another!
    Look forward to reading more.

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