So the Canadian economy has nothing (OK, very little) to offer recent graduates, eh? No problem. Strap on your backpacks, kids. Let’s head overseas.
On March 9, The Globe and Mail reported a 14.7 per cent jobless rate among young Canadians, typically 16- to 24 year-olds. Moreover, they claim that since older workers are staying in the workforce longer, youth who are favoured with employment after graduation find themselves competing for rank with more experienced applicants. The article lamented the consequences for our generation: huge debt levels, stalled careers, minimal buying power, and not least of all, angst.
This is all very unfortunate. But there is a solution: leave.
Poke around the country for a couple months after graduation, drop off some résumés with a cheery but hopeless smile. When it all fails, which it very well may, hop on a plane. If our country has nothing to offer, go somewhere else.
Granted, the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be faring a lot better, particularly Britain, where you can only hope to become one in a million (literally) of unemployed youth. “A good job is hard to find for Britain’s young unemployed,” wrote The Guardian earlier this March.
But broadening one’s job search to an international level seems likely to raise one’s prospects based on probability alone. Besides, even if a career job is not immediately forthcoming, a barista job in France still looks better on a Canadian résumé than the same job in your hometown.
Also, traveling is fun. It can be scary and is rarely a perfect experience, but hey, neither is life. Heading out into the world is a great way to make contacts, gain experience and become an expert in the alcohol culture of various countries.
Of course, the potential for risk seems elevated when operating on an international scale—the country, the people, the customs, perhaps even the language is unfamiliar, and it can appear safer to restrict oneself to the job-hoarding devil you know. Even in thriving economic times, I would maintain that the life experience gained from such a leap compensates entirely for the fear of the unknown. But in this economic climate, I can also argue that it may actually be riskier to restrict one’s search to Canada, if that means staying in an entry-level job for an extended period of time. Why stall your career in your Canadian hometown, when you could be teaching English in Tokyo?
I understand that not everyone strains against the restrictive atmosphere of his or her tiny town. Some people enjoy it, and that’s fine. But according to these economic reports, the choice to job-hunt solely in one’s town, province, or country comes with consequences for which Canada’s youth must be prepared. To my mind, an employable, relatively commitment-free youth has no right to cry foul if they are unable to find work while refusing to budge from the place they grew up.
For some, this may sound harsh. It’s not meant to be—it’s realistic. We can expect reasonable treatment from life, but we cannot have everything we want, exactly the way we want it all the time.
Concessions must be made, and if spending a couple years near a beach in Australia is what I must do for the future of my career, then I must be willing to make that sacrifice.