The recession has affected everyone, and Generation Y is no exception. About 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds have been underemployed or out of work during the recession, the highest share among the age group in more than three decades, according to a Pew Research Center study released earlier this year. Many Gen Y’ers see this distressing situation and are grateful to be gainfully employed.
Some Millennials, like Benjamin Wilcox, an engineer in Baltimore, Md., were in that distressing situation and can now look back and fully appreciate it.
Last year, Wilcox spent ten months on the job hunt after being laid off. During that difficult time, he leaned on friends and family who helped with his rent and kept his spirits up. He began to appreciate them in a deeper way and diligently tried to exhibit that appreciation.
Then in December last year, Wilcox was offered a new job, several states away and he has the luxury now of being grateful for all he learned during that 10-month period.
“I can now be thankful for that long period without a job. It makes me appreciate even more each paycheck that is deposited into my account. Every morning I wake up to head to work, I am thankful to have something to wake up to do. These are some of the simple things I can appreciate now that I am successfully employed. I can’t say that my job defines me, a job should not define anyone,but when I think back to where my life was a year ago and where it is now, it certainly makes me thankful.”
For Wilcox, this isn’t just a happy ending. Rather, it’s a happy progression. Not only is he intensely grateful to be contributing to the gross national product again, he is grateful for the caliber of job he has. It’s an exemplary situation that stretches him in many ways.
“My new job is more challenging and rewarding than the one from which I was let go. The responsibility I have will warrant a call by 8:30 in the morning about which direction my project needs to go that day. I have been learning new skills and knowledge every day along with applying skills I learned in college. I have also started studying for my master’s degree in engineering which the company is paying for in full. The job is more than I could hope for and I couldn’t be happier about my situation.”
To be gainfully employed and actually liking it? That’s more than most of us could ask for and it’s certainly a reason to be grateful
To learn more about Wilcox, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.
Follow the 2nd Annual “Gen Y Gives Thanks” series during the entire month of November. Each day a different Millennial will express what he/she is most grateful for this year. Click here to read all “Gen Y Gives Thanks” entries, including the ones from last year.