Kate Sutton

 

 

I read an article last week in the Daily Fail (not going to link, sorry … but just remember to take that article with a pinch of salt, it’s The Fail after all) … but it profiled a young blogger* in her 20’s and went on to talk about ‘The Complacent Generation’ – a generation of 20-somethings who feel they should be entitled to (and I quote) … the ‘perfect life they deserve.’

 

This particular young woman talked honestly about how her life hasn’t quite turned out as she’d wished (although, aged 23, her life is far from over!)

 

“I think about how I’ll have the perfect figure, a nice house, a good job (preferably blogging full-time), a successful novel in the pipeline and my boyfriend and my dog by my side,” she writes. “I’ll go travelling thanks to my blog and I’ll be able to afford holidays of my own, several times a year.”

 

I read this ‘article’ and always temper my immediate thoughts with the understanding that she might not have said this verbatim.  However, I have three points of view on this subject in general – one as a blogger, one as a mother of a 19 year old … and also one of a woman of a certain age.

 

I think we’re all guilty sometimes of portraying a life on Instagram and Twitter that doesn’t show the world the bigger picture … I’m as guilty as the next person because I can’t imagine anyone being remotely interested in a photo of me unblocking leftover bits of lettuce and mince from the sink. (Yum.) And I know that if you whack a Mayfair filter on my face I’m going to look ten years younger. OK, three. If I’m lucky. But I do try and ensure there is at least some semblance of balance. I have no hesitation whatsoever in showing people what I look like during a thunderstorm, cuddling a giant hamster or what I look like frizzy haired pre-haircut (all on my Instagram if you’re interested!) Hell, I filmed myself on a rollercoaster for God’s sake … you can’t get much more unflattering than that.

 

But a fair proportion of the younger generation seem to have bought into a perfect lifestyle that just doesn’t exist. Young fashion and beauty bloggers/vloggers, for example, are guilty of showing the world a snapshot of a life that is picture perfect, editing out the actual reality.  That’s not their fault, they are showcasing a fantasy lifestyle that they’re paid handsomely for but unfortunately, there are a lot of young people out there who buy into it.

 

I have experienced life’s ups and downs and know from first hand experience that there is no such thing as perfection – my rose coloured specs fell off years ago unfortunately! I know that when I look at photos on Instagram what is see is what people want me to see. It’s not real life.

 

But there seems to be a new generation who think that the world owes them a living, and a perfect one at that. The young lady in the article is heading for a serious fall, if she hasn’t fallen already, and I’m not quite sure where the blame lies. Her parents for not ensuring she’s sufficiently grounded? The economy? The internet? Her peers?  Her own delusion?

 

As I said earlier, I have a 19 year old son who has worked since he was legally allowed to … McDonalds at 16 and now he does a 45 hour week at Wetherspoons whilst he’s home from Uni this summer. He has seen his parents work hard for everything they have, especially, maybe, me as a single parent, and he’s always been taught that if he wants things in life he has to work hard for them. It’s just how I’ve raised both boys and I can’t for one minute imagine them desiring the life of anyone they see on the TV or internet. (Having said that, Dexter, at aged ten, is showing worrying signs of coveting the life of a footballer, but he’s a work in progress.)

 

After I graduated in 2010 (aged 40), I naively  thought I’d easily walk into a job, even if it wasn’t the perfect job. However, I ended up unemployed for seven months, unable even to find work as a PA, which is what I had done for 20 years … so I do understand somewhat that disappointment when things don’t turn out quite as you expect them.  And I look at that photo above of me aged 20 and think about everything I dreamt for back then … my life is so SO different to what I thought it would be.  But that’s OK.

 

But I’ve never felt entitled to anything. Ever. When I didn’t get the jobs I thought I deserved post graduation, I temped for the NHS in a job I really didn’t like. I would have done anything to provide for the kids, a lesson learnt from my parents. Maybe the difference between me and her is that if I don’t work, who’s going to put food on the table for my boys? Certainly not their fathers … and so I guess I have that as a massive driver.

 

Maybe this young woman’s parents cushion all of her falls so she doesn’t feel the pressure I do.  (And I am, of course, speculating.)

 

It’s great to have aspirations … I do, and my boys do, but we’re realistic. I have no doubt that once Ben (my eldest) graduates he’ll end up living at home with me until he finds his feet and saves up enough money to get his own place. But he’ll do any job he has to if it means earning money … he certainly has no qualms about that at all.

 

I hope this young woman lands the job, the house, the man of her dreams … but I’m canny enough to think that she’ll be lucky to perhaps get one out of three.

 

It’s a hard lesson to learn isn’t it?

 

I’ve been a blogger for over four years and have had the pleasure to occasionally work with big brands … but (and it’s a big but), it’s taken four years to get to this point.  It’s not luck. That’s over 800 blog posts. That’s thousands of emails sent. Relationships created and nurtured. Blogging conferences attended. I’ve networked, I’ve written, I’ve filmed, and I’ve worked really, really hard.

 

I don’t think good things come to those who wait … I think good things come to those who work really hard. None of us are ‘entitled’ to anything.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

* The blogger in question has since responded but I haven’t as yet read her reply … definitely be worth reading that within the context of my post and the original article.

 

 

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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10 Comments

  1. This is a great post Kate and I totally agree with you – I feel surprised and delighted every time I am presented with a great opportunity. There is a lot to be said too for the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you get from really earning something, rather than just having it given to you.

    1. YES! Exactly! There’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve worked hard for something … but shouldn’t all parents instil that in their children? And if they’ve grown up thinking the world owes them a favour, I wonder where the blame lies?

  2. The blogger in question wrote a response because the daily Fail had twisted (not surprisingly) the interview that she did… I’ll try and find the link. I do agree with you but I also think the tide is changing again as today’s school-leavers have witnessed just how hard it is to find work, education and they are focusing now so hard on education and work experience, certainly in the Further Education Sector where I work I have noticed a change over the past year. I did a post-grad 3 years ago and so many of my classmates thought that because of the high level of our education they deserved to walk into a super-duper job. The reality of course was the opposite and a lot of them struggled with that. I guess it is a lot to do with how you were brought up in the end and like you my parents have always encouraged me to work hard and I constantly remind myself about how lucky I am with what I have and what I have to do if there are things that I want. Alas I am just not willing to forgo chocolate so my body shall just have to remain lumpy and bumpy! 🙂

    1. I’ve added a footnote that the lady has responded because it’s definitely worth getting the full picture – and I certainly take anything the Fail say with a pinch of salt, it just prompted me to talk about entitlement in general really. I ‘encouraged’ my son to go to Uni but he and I both know that this doesn’t guarantee him a job at the end of it. I personally feel it will give him a head start but that’s just as much with regards to his personal development and confidence than academic grades. Time will tell. As for chocolate, life is far too short 🙂

  3. Love this – totally in agreement.

    I have a lot of views on the whole subject of entitlement. I know how university was pitched at my year at school made people think that by going they’d be entitled to a better way of life. Salary expectations for first jobs out of uni were around the £28k mark, and remember I’m 32. Similar comments such as “I’m going to be your boss when I come out of uni” were said to those who didn’t go.

    Reality TV has done nothing to help impact peoples perspectives either, but what bothers me is the shift in peoples personalities and how I think a certain amount of debt that people are in today (THIS DOES NOT MEAN EVERYONE – BUT CERTAIN PEOPLE), with the whole “well Coleen has that bag so why shouldn’t I? I want it!”.

    With the boys, it’s a balancing act. I’m very much of the opinion of “you can be anything you want to be” but that sentence is always finished with “IF YOU KEEP TRYING AND WORK HARD”. My eldest is a perfectionist and I can see him break a bit when he picks up an archery bow and arrow and doesn’t instantly perform the perfect Robin Hood moment, same with swimming. We have already had the conversation that if he wants to aim to win Wimbledon (he reckons he’s going to win it twice btw), he has to work hard at tennis lessons, but also have a Plan B in place. We obviously don’t know what that Plan B will be since he’s only just six, but like you say, he’s work in progress!

    1. Thanks for the comment Aimee! You’re right, it’s a fine line between encouraging our children to dream big but also be realistic that a) dreams involve hard work and b) IF it doesn’t work out, what’s the Plan B? Not sure young kids understand the ethos of a Plan B but at 23 you should. I do believe with the right support in place and the right attitude, you can go a long way and let’s face it, I’m not exactly at the top of my game so who am I to throw my 2 penneth worth in? I just know that people who feel entitled to anything make my teeth itch.

  4. I’m not reading the article (the Fail? I think not.) But I’m failing to see why her quote implies that she thinks she’s entitled to any of those things without working? Blogging, as you’ve said, is hard work. And she’s saying she wants to do thing via her blog. What am I missing?

    1. “Her ideal career has failed to materialise.” “For five years I’ve been reading blogs about people jetting off to LA and you think, “Why can’t I have a piece of that?”’ says Hannah.” The article talks of a malaise that seems to be perpetuating this generation when things don’t turn out how they’d ‘visualised.’ I guess I’m questioning why should she get to jet off to LA like other established bloggers if she hasn’t put the ground work in. I’m speculating and second guessing because a) it’s the Fail and we know what they’re like and b) I don’t know this woman. I rambled somewhat and perhaps didn’t make an actual point.

  5. Really interesting post Kate. I think it’s really important for kids to grow up seeing that life isn’t all rosy and that people do fail, do struggle, do look shitty when they wake up etc.
    There will always be a case of the grass being greener, whether it be friends who seem to have awesome lives or bloggers who seem to have it all and you’re right, some people don’t take into consideration what it took for those people to have all that they do! The long hours, writing between jobs, nappies and all sorts.
    Life is tough! Argh!

    1. Life IS tough lol! And I’d by lying if I didn’t occasionally get a little jealous of other bloggers … BUT, I do believe that hard work concurs all. Perhaps I’m naive but I persevere!

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