YOUNGSTERS nowadays are so often the victims of unfair stigma. In particular, it’s easy to stereotype a young person who’s unemployed. “Look at that lazy so-and-so there in his hoody, I bet you he does nothing but play video games all day.” Sound familiar?
I’m not saying everyone views youths in such a negative light, But for many among us they are the first members of society who we wave our fingers at when something untoward happens.
Many people will have you believing today’s youths are lazy, not prepared to work and that they have no basic manners. Let’s not be blinkered here, though, as it’s all too easy to tar them with the same brush.
Youngsters nowadays are facing up to difficult and uncertain times. Especially in towns such as Hawick where, if I’m being brutally honest, the recession is still very much in evidence.
The local economy is not growing quickly enough – and a brief look in the sparsely populated jobs section of the Hawick News is testament to how difficult it is to gain employment at the moment.
The implications of leaving school and being unable to find work are massive. Not only does it mean individuals are missing out on valuable work experience, there are social and mental problems which can arise, too. The paranoia of being unable to find work and knowing some people will perceive you as lazy, even though you are desperately trying to find work, must be pretty torturous.
I wouldn’t surprised if some youngsters become ostracised from their friends who do work, purely because they don’t have the money to take part in activities that their employed friends can afford. And in some extreme cases, such isolation may even form the start of a downward spiral into alcohol and drug abuse.
Youngsters without any source of income are also not taking the step towards adulthood. It really is a tough time for those who want to make it on their own, but are still having to rely on mum and dad.
Of course, it’s not enough to just say he’s talented at this or she’s amazing at that. In the job market it’s often who you know and not what you know, which can apply even moreso in small tight-knit communities such as Hawick’s.
Young people looking for work need to pitch themselves, no matter how daunting it can be. They need to make themselves known to potential employers. Bridging the social gap between young and old would no doubt be a gigantic step forward.
At present, too many youths are stuck in a rut, and maybe we should cut them some slack. Many of them are trying hard, without getting anywhere at all. And that in itself takes a great deal of resilience.