Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recession In The City
By Niamh Hopkins

There are many 'positives' to this recession. I have always been an optimist but my mantra of late has definitely been 'everything happens for a reason' and the old favourite 'what's meant for you won't pass you'.

Only one week into my notice and I am ignoring the bleak media reports: instead I am daydreaming of my next job and 'keeping positive' for the future. It's the only thing you can do …

Over a cup of tea with the girls in my place last night their update wasn’t so positive. One of them has had her hours cut to two days a week and the other has failed to find any sort of work since returning before Christmas from the wonderland of Oz.

Still we tried to ignore the impending doom and talk about anything BUT the recession, reassuring each other that our ‘amazingness’ will jump out of our CVs and soon land us a job.

Any job.

Oh for the days when worrying about where to go on a Saturday night was the biggest thing on our minds.In the meantime, I tell them that one of the positives of this recession is that it will bring people closer together. Sure here we were, all of us together on a week night, something almost impossible to organise with our busy careers just six months ago.

‘Working late’ and ‘wrecked from work’ were regular texts flashing up at us from the insides of our expensive handbags when someone couldn’t make a night out.

Now, with no money to spend, we will see a return to family time, staying-in, dinner parties at home and calling over to your friends for cups of Nescafe and a custard cream instead of meeting in Starbucks for a Mocha Chocca Latte and a five euro muffin.

Stress-relieving, post-work drinks will be suspended for the moment. Instead, I can’t think of a better time to develop a serious tea-drinking habit while weekends might see me raiding what’s left of the drinks cabinet at home.

Apart from this the recession is a time to get back to basics and discover what other talents we might have. Is there something else we might be good at? Can we upskill and try something different? These are all things that many twentysomethings like me will be pondering over in the coming weeks and months.

All age groups are victimised by this recession but I can only comment on my peers. Day in and day out I am hearing more tragic stories of the Celtic Cubs who never thought our good fortune would end.

Unlike our elders, many of us have never thought to save for a rainy day. Heck, every day was rainy so you might as well spend your hard-earned cash on partying and clothes, or keep it for travelling to somewhere less rainy (hands up those still paying off loans from over spending in Australia).

Yes my circle are lucky in many ways. We have no kids yet and are not lumbered with a hefty mortgage. We have a couple of years experience on those who have yet to graduate amidst the dismal conditions of next summer, yet we still have time to go back to college again and may even qualify for a mature grant to do so.

We are old enough to go away on our own yet young enough to live back at home for another few years. We are in the middle, afraid to stay in Ireland in case it gets worse but afraid to go away in case we never return.

Going away’ seems to be the most popular suggestion being bandied about at the moment but with no money to go and the possibility of no job when I get ‘there’, it doesn’t seem to be my most appealing option.

So for now I am keeping positive, spending hours online searching for any slight hope of work, bombarding companies with my CV, praying they are exempt from the recruitment freeze and are currently looking for me to join their team. I refuse to fall into depression just yet and wait, hopeful that good times are around the corner once more. Keep positive, keep busy and keep hoping is my plan for now.

Sure it’s not all doom and gloom out there. A friend I was supposed to meet tonight has just cancelled on me – he has two jobs and is feeling a bit tired I suspect. While the rest of us climb the walls, he is climbing the career ladder. This kind of news gives me hope, for at the very least it’s nice to have someone who can treat to me to a five euro muffin if we ever get the chance to meet up!

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