Working in “new media” means associating with lots of young people. Lots of very, very young people.
You realize just how young when you strike up a conversation about your evening plans, happen to mention you’re having a drink with someone you’ve known forever and somehow the phrase “we met during the Recession” exits your mouth. The young person giggles nervously and parrots “The Recession!” in a squeaky voice and you have the horrible realization they weren’t even born during the aforementioned financial crisis.
And you just want to curl up in a ball of shame and wrinkles. Because you were already their age waaaay back then and in the throes of your first retrenchment. Twenty two loooong years ago …
Later, you find yourself retelling the story to another young person, who requires an explanation of exactly what the Recession was. And you feel a bit like a tribal elder as you say “oh, they were dark times … interest rates went up to 17% … there were no jobs … I went nine months without a single interview … “
I should have stopped there, but I couldn’t help myself. I went on to confess that I don’t have a degree. I watched her eyes go a little wide at the notion that someone who is ostensibly their boss should be so lacking in formal qualifications. So I started babbling about how journalists didn’t get degrees back then because editors thought it “put funny ideas in your head”.
Really, they did.
I decided not to reminisce about how journalists got special allowances to work on those new fangled things called computers back then … I didn’t want to totally freak her out … And the allowance – well, your whole pay packet – was paid in cash in paper envelopes. And instead of Google you had Funk & Wagnalls and a library filled with alphabetised manila folders with newspaper clippings stuck inside them.
But geez I felt my mortality keenly.