We sat around a round table as the music and conversations created a cacophony of buzzing ambient noise, a collection of beers and assorted other booze under chin, as blue cigarette smoke lazily waft past our eyes and down our throats. We were a small group of friends all thirty-somethings, all college educated, all under-employed and frustrated, that had returned home in the hope of beginning our ‘adult’ lives even if we couldn’t really define initially what that abstract concept even was.
To our surprise and after cross-referencing anecdotes about employment, making ends meet, or the lack of the ability to make ends meet and asshole bosses, we found that ‘adult’ life involved a lot more shutting up and putting up than any of us could imagine. It was quite unanimous that we where all sick and tired of hearing that “times are difficult, keep your job as long as you can, jobs are scarce” at every turn and every conversation we had with someone older than us.
They where established though; they had their houses, their cars, their primary checking accounts and even some meagre savings. They even had social security (even if it was also meagre) whilst for our generation, as all signs indicated, would be a pipe dream. Worse of all they were tired, they had no initiative, no need to change or evolve yet they held all the power to do so. Their only advise was, as usual, “keep your job as long as you can, jobs are scarce”.
We all sat their with fire in our bellies, dreams to change the status quo, and to materialize our aspirations, even though at every moment this flame was being doused. We lived in their houses, we drove their cars whilst our meagre salaries where augmented by their savings. We are not lazy, we are not idealistic naive flighty new-age hippies but talented, intelligent, hard working individuals. We do not demand anything but basic respect and courtesy and an opportunity to work hard for a goal that inspires us, sorry maybe even that’s too high of a demand; to work hard for any goal.
Marinos spun his sweating glass on its coaster staring into its bubbly amber contents.
“You know I’m not even pissed at them”, he took a sharp swig of the beer, “they’re following their own advise, ‘keep your job’ they are sitting for as long as possible on their positions, making the job market stagnant, creating a complete lack of upward mobility.”
“Yeah I guess they feel just as insecure as we do.”
There was a soft chuckle amongst us, one of those chuckles that could be misunderstood for a bitter snicker. We sat there thinking about being patient, sticking with what we did even if it was menial and we got treated as disposable, temporary employees. It was at that moment that some of us thought that maybe, just maybe, beyond the horizon we would find a society that had a place for us, that gave us the basic, fundamental dignity of being self-sufficient, the basic allowance of following a dream…. whilst some of our minds were already racing around how to go about creating it.