It is the first time Generation Y are going through a difficult period – unlike nearly all other generations before them, even Generation X were part of a society that went through recession during their childhood.
So how will Gen Y deal with the shock treatment of mass retrenchments across industries that makes the labour force so much more competitive? They have some of the best education any generation has access to and this is their biggest asset.
Another strong asset is the resilience of youth – through tough times you get to learn how strong your really are and develop the strength of resilience. It will take longer for some than others but for many, this tough experience will be the making of them. It will be the autobiographies of amazing women and men in 20 – 40 years that will be telling formative stories from this time.
It will be interesting also to see how this generation will make use of their networks – just think of MySpace and FaceBook et al and the broad networks that is available – nothing like previous generations have been able to use during recession and retrenchment periods.
I have two friends who have retrenchment as a looming presence a the moment – one has accepted she has no control over this wrecking ball and is determined to come through this experience a better person while the other is scared, hurt and doesn’t know how things will work out. They are two different personalities with one being very resilient and the other a permanent employee personality (while this is very good for employers it isn’t always good for the employee).
Retrenchment can be the best thing for someone as long as there’s a decent payout that gives a person life choices and having a positive and resilient attitude. My heart goes out to those who are left high and dry without financial payouts and support. That’s when we all need to be supportive and helpful as possible because each of us can make a real difference to a friend and loved one going through a tough time – even if all that’s needed is a sympathetic ear.
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All the best,