The gloomy Singaporean millennial
Is the future career path for our generation a bleak one?
I’ve always believed that quickly landing myself a decent job as a fresh graduate requires some sort of divine miracle.
But guess what? Around half of Singapore millennials in a recent survey share the same sentiments.
The survey revealed that Singapore millennials were pessimistic about their immediate career prospects. Most were not confident about finding an equally good or better job within three months, if they were to lose their current job.
I found myself being comforted by the fact, albeit guiltily. This may not be surprising, but we have every reason to be worried.
Are there really not enough jobs for us, or do we just have warped expectations about our career options?
Something else from the survey, conducted by ManpowerGroup, took me by surprise. 14 per cent of Singaporeans believed that “they would have to work until the day they die”.
I, for one, do not want to work until I die.
There is much more to life than just work. All the achievements we get, all the money we earn, and all the authority we possess may be commendable, but how long would these things last, once we breathe our last?
Excellence in our career is definitely a positive trait, but obsession is not.
In kindergarten, we drew our ambitions in exercise books. In primary school, we learnt we had to study hard, to ensure a good job in the future so we can earn lots of money.
At 16, fresh out of secondary school with our ‘O’ level results, we were forced to decide on a course that could lead us to our preferred (or for some, destined) industries.
We have been brought up to set high career goals. A huge part of our lives revolve around work, and we constantly let the expectations of having an “ideal”, high-salary job dominate our minds.
Perhaps it is this emphasis placed on working that gives us immense pressure and discomfort, especially when our preconceived career expectations are not met. That explains the gloom.
After all, finding a job is easy, but finding a job that we enjoy, with a good working environment and pay, well…it’s almost impossible.
So, what exactly are we working for?
Most people would say that they are working for money. However, if we are like the 14 per cent of Singaporeans who believe in working until we reach our graves, we would not have the luxury of time to spend the money we earned, do we?
I cannot help but feel that something needs to be done to adjust our mindsets about the idea of working.
Although raising a generation of career-oriented millennials could speed up the nation’s growth, let us not neglect our psychological well-being. We are constantly fearful of losing out to others on career opportunities, because our job is everything to us.
It wouldn’t hurt to be a little less competitive. Who knows? It might just be the cure to our gloom.
Let us begin by realising that our lives should not be dominated by work. I hope it is not too late to say that we are not a nation of workaholics, nor do we aspire to be.