Saturday, June 16, 2007

C21 Green Gap Year - C20 Rushed Gap Week

Youngest son's departure for his gap travels did make for some 'green
with envy' type reactions. He is travelling much of the way by train:
Wimbledon-Waterloo-Brussels-Berlin-Moscow-Bejing-Hong Kong
so his journey is greenish in the C21 sense of the word as well.

I will try to post a link to his blog later if I can remember how
to work this blogger's dashboard but meanwhile was amused to read
a letter in today's FT comparing some aspects of Western C21 young
people's lives today with those of their C20 parents:

"Dear Junior, Nice to know that you are back from your second gap year travels. The photos of Sydney and New York looked fantastic, although we are worried to see that you haven't kicked your binge drinking habit. It would be nice to think that one day we might visit these places, rather than gazing at photos attached to the occasional e-mail asking for another few quid to keep you partying.

Your mum and I were reminiscing about the "gap week" we had between leaving school at 16 and starting work. It seems strange to think that only 6 per cent of us then went into higher education, unlike 43 per cent of today's school leavers.

Those were the days - two weeks' holiday a year and no excuse for not having a job. That brings me to your sister. Afraid she is still one of the 1.3m Neets (not in employment, education or training) generation. I can't understand how she finds it so hard to get a job when none of those lovely young Pole and Czech youngsters appear to have any problems. One bit of good news, she should be starting her drug rehabilitation classes in the next few weeks.

I hoped your degree in media and origami would have given you a little more academic rigour. But no, from the mistakes in your letter it looks like you will be attending one of these remedial classes that employers are providing for their new graduates. Five minutes using Google would have avoided these silly mistakes.

Only 44 per cent of health spending in the US is funded by the government compared with 72 per cent in countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Where did you get that nonsense about them having to subsidise drugs for seniors?

Less of the sniping about my "early retirement package". How little you know about corporate speak. This is a polite term for redundancy. Don't forget that our dear Mr Blair has created an extra 900,000 jobs in the public sector, all with nice fat final salary pensions. I know you don't necessarily want to be an "outreach worker" or a "co-ordinator's assistant's assistant" but there are still plenty of final salary pensionable jobs about if you want one.

Your biggest gripe is about the cost of housing. There you have a point. The affordability of housing today is around the same level as it was back in 1989. You were only four so you will not remember what happened next - the property crash. Be patient. What goes up can come down, and normally does!

Don't be so gloomy. I am sure if you lost some weight, stopped smoking and didn't drink so much, the world would look a lot better.

I had better get back to writing the umpteenth job application. Not much fun trying to get re-employed when you are 50-plus"

(Courtesy Dick Stroud, Managing Director,20plus30)

Though to be fair, my own gap travels also included trains from London's
Victoria Station to Istanbul (the last bit to Sirkeci station by steam)
as well as Egyptian railways Alexandria to Thebes, were for rather
longer than 1 week.

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