Young and unemployed in small economies

Being young always felt cool. Being young and unemployed, in a super dynamic and consumerist world is, I guess, what being young makes a bit less cool. If you have been reading anything in the past few years, you must have come across at least one research that claims how there has never been a generation this well educated in history, yet, so not well off, that there has never been a generation that lives worse than their parents lived. And, I wouldn’t really say that we live worse than our parents lived, but, that we seem to be living lives with less certainty and less perspective.

Young people of today, Millennials, and I believe it is needless to define that social group, live in the abundance of content, entertainment, accessibility, knowledge, smartphones, design, information and shopping opportunity, but in complete scarcity of any stability and certainty. So what is a young person looking for a job facing in 2016? Thinking that we can live in a very fast world, where information travel with a speed of light, from Australia to Iceland, and on the way to Iceland, all the ways to space and back, when people become millionaires over night, when their home made apps take off on App store, and hoping that there will be stability, social funds, and work places waiting for us, was so naive and juvenile. Thinking that if you graduated let’s say Marketing from the Business School, that you will be competitive in the market five years later with the knowledge you have acquired there, living in the period from 2010-2015, was completely unrealistic, because, only in that one specific segment, so much has changed, new occupations have grown over night, trying to keep pace with  extremely fast development and immense creativity of software industry.  In areas of complete mobility, under common law, such as is the market of the US, or what the European Union market strives to be, stipulating the movement of workforce/people as one of it’s four core freedoms: movement of capital, goods, services and people, the problem of unemployment looks solvable, and one would think that it all depends on the very individual, and his/her pursuit of happiness. Constant mobility, large number of people in one place, such as financial centers of successful economies are, drive people to push things further, increase competition, and the quality of jobs, not just in a sense of how much you can earn, but in a sense of how much you can learn and grow while working for a specific company, which is something that really gives hope, and of course, creates a wonderful base for talent based economy. But what about small economies and the workforce in small markets? Living in such a market myself, through years I had an opportunity to notice a few problems, which make the unemployment even more serious of  problem, but not just in a short run, which would mean, until one doesn’t find a job, but a problem that doesn’t just go away once a person gets a job, because the quality of jobs, in every sense of the word, from how much you can earn, to how much you can learn and grow, remains very low. For example, when you’re looking for a job in the field of Marketing, or let’s narrow it  a bit more, in digital Marketing, on the local market you will be require to bi skilled with social media, Facebook in particular, because Twitter never really made it through on your market, and your employer might not be too familiar with the potential of Instagram, to be a good writer, and to write in decent English(even though digital agencies are full of people who are unable to write a proper e-mail in English). If you decide to expend your job search a bit more, and visit a few global web sites which are hiring people for freelance, part-time or remote full-time engagement, brace yourself, because a huge shock wave is coming your way! Among many other things, you will learn that you should have some decent HTML coding and code editing skills, being skilled at SEO is a must, Photoshop is probably what you’ll need more that both of your master degrees from the Business School(believe me, I have friends with two master degrees from the Business School who earn a living with Photoshop) , and let’s stop here, not to get you too depressed.

 

I believe this is the right moment to land the most useful advice I could ever land on you: Go online and learn, or to be more precise, MASTER, everything you can! Make a list of things that you have to know, your MUST KNOWS, invest time, invest efforts(there are way more important things to be done, than hangin’ on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, or Netflix)! Start doing something about it today!

 

And this is where you understand that there are two parallel realities: the one that you live in, your market, and the one that seems to be moving in a much faster pace, somewhere else. While small markets, and very underdeveloped markets are obsessed with formality, and a bunch of degrees that you don’t know what to do with later on(most of people go to check into the unemployment office, to get the right to health insurance at least), fast markets, bigger markets are obsessed with mobility, speed, innovation, and constant learning. So we could definitely conclude that small markets suffer from static approach to knowledge and skills, and therefore from not so competitive workforce, which, once hired, can be the generator of change and progress in the company. Instead, every new employee supports, in a way, the preordained business structure, keeping things on a low level, not growing and helping others grow, and not increasing his/her personal competitiveness, once he or she decides to go somewhere else. This order of things keeps occupations underdeveloped, employees in stagnation and it completely slows down the market. So, instead of having young, versatile, hot blooded people who are running and rushing into the market to grab jobs, and grab opportunities, to achieve immense results and make the impossible possible, we have a whole bunch of people who are exhausted by one of the following things: working and not being payed, because their employer refused to pay them a few salaries, exhaustion  from under-payed work with millions of overtime hours, volunteering, doing whatever just to earn anything, and still not being able to afford anything of substance, that would signify that they are actually going somewhere, humiliation and degradation, and often times mobing at work by their superiors, who are terrible managers and who, because of their personal laziness and inability to develop themselves, see threat in anyone who has drive and bigger ambitions, etc. So in that period of time of pointless struggle, that only the fittest and those with strong vision can learn lessons from, grow and move on, to bigger things, we loose generations of young people, and we throw away so much potential, and that’s something that small nations of only 3,5 million people, or cities with population of less than 400.000 people can’t afford. So what can be done? I strongly believe in the power of ideas, power of will and everyone’s capacity to be the creator of his/her own destiny. And if we are able to create our destiny by making terrible decisions, when deciding to be lazy, be lousy at school, learn just enough to do a certain task, or enter bad relationships and marriage for conformity, I strongly believe that we are able to create a better and more significant destiny, what might, as a result pull out a few more people and help them reshape their destinies too. The worst thing I am seeing around me on daily bases is young people, my amazing friends and acquaintances, who know how to do things, who have skills and talents, specific skills and talents, who have hobbies which can be turned into businesses, but are just walking zombies, looking for a job at some company, a job that is very generic, that anyone pretty much can do, and which require for you to be: literate, to be able to use Internet browsers, write descent sentences and have a certain level of English language knowledge. The hope for small economies and small markets lies in those people who refuse to accept that their future is doing a stupid office job, going from one company to another, but counting on the power of their authenticity and creating specific value. Small markets, such as Sarajevo market, are not that fit for developing local startup companies, especially tech companies, because if you analyse factors such as overall population, the size of target group, Internet penetration and how and what for the Internet is being used, with a very simple calculation, you get to the conclusion that it is not very likely that you will be able to develop a successful local business model that you could export to bigger markets. Unfortunately, it is very likely that you will fail to even prove your hypothesis that you have set on before yourself even in a form of vision. In some of my following posts I will be analyzing successful local business models, but most of them will not be successful tech startups. What really works for small markets, and what really is the only hope is a typical small business, self employing small business with low initial investment, producing products for local markets and services for both, local and foreign markets. In our tech era, it is a sort of hybrid of how silicon valley tech companies and local small businesses come to being. Illegal or barely legal, in a garage, with a good idea and a laptop, and on the field, with the local people, depending on your small, limited market, and on your every customer. And, let’s not forget about branding. And let’s not forget about telling powerful stories. This could be the solution, and this is what I will write about, among other things, in some of my  future posts.

The person you see on this photo is not really unemployed, but I really liked the photo mostly because in the left lower corner it has this No but srsly. and it looked kinda like a combination of Felicity and Millennials of New York characters. The person on this photo is Emily Weiss. Google her right now, because you might get inspired! And, no, I will not comply with your laziness and link her name to a source of information about her.

I honestly can’t wait to write my next post, and I know you can’t wait to read it too!

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