An Epic Journey to Canada Part V: A Fragmented World

Juliet at EPICentre

Hello, readers! In the last edition of my blog, we were discussing social gaps, and I would love to talk about some that have been more related to me on this trip.

Once I saw a video of a guy talking about racism within the question “Where are you from”. I probably saw this video several years ago, even before experiencing on my own what it is like to travel abroad, and even though the question clearly indicates that you don’t look like the people from here, let me tell you that I’d prefer people asking me where I am from–truly interested about my background and sharing about theirs–than when they simply don’t care at all.

One of the things that I value the most about being abroad is the diversity that you are exposed to. Those deep talks with open-minded people from whom you can always learn are invaluable and unique moments where you embrace not only a different name or nationality but the story behind each person. By being in foreign countries I’ve learned how diversity is actually a cultural strength and, even though organizations seem to value it and the government recognizes its importance, some people still view the differences as a bad thing. Citizens are invited to embrace diversity, however, they still have the freedom to choose how to deal with it, and that’s why, unfortunately, Diversity is not for everybody.

Assuming that we now live in a world where everybody embraces diversity, or at least respects it, are opportunities the same for everyone? Let’s put this into perspective between Mexico, Canada and the United States with an opportunity comparison provided by Social Progress Index (refer to the chart below). There is no perfect country, nor perfect conditions to do well in life, and even though opportunity might seem like a subjective concept, statistics point out an important social gap between these countries that undoubtedly affect their citizens. Why aren’t opportunities for everybody?

How these gaps are translated in our daily lives may differ between each one of our priorities, but today I want to talk about one, in particular, that has been more than close to me recently: youth discrimination.

This kind of discrimination is silent, normalized and even underestimated; but I want you to think about yourself when you first started to work. How was the experience? Were you prepared to face all these challenges? Did you have the skills needed for the job? I want you to think about what happens when graduates are ready to enter the labor force…what kind of jobs are they encountering out there? Did they obtain the necessary skills? Are they ready to face reality and start a business of their own?

Graduates are facing a reality of ⅓ off of the usual payment for the same job than years before. They end up becoming 9-5 employees (in Mexico they are referred to as “Godinez”). So it’s not a matter of giving us a try with the leftovers of what it’s in the market, it’s a matter of giving us a fair try to build solid professional careers.

As a response to these barriers, some youth have decided to come up with solutions, some of them to start a business of their own, building opportunities by themselves. By doing this, they have discovered that profit is just one fundamental aspect of a business and some of them have found the opportunity of alleviating someone else’s pain in life through creating a new business.

I have been exposed to various projects in social entrepreneurship and, even though the main goal of these enterprises is to be socially minded first and profit-minded second, I discovered that a lot of entrepreneurs are looking forward to doing more than profiting with their startups, even when they are profit driven. This is not a trend nor a game, but the proposal of new ways to create enterprises. Even though this is often a solution, entrepreneurship is simply not for everybody.

I am proud of youth working for themselves, in being the global citizen’s everyone should be, addressing the challenge of inclusion that’s nothing more than the outcome of years of discrimination. I have witnessed that even with the best intentions and the best ideas, things don’t always go as planned, but it’s here where resilience, that unique characteristic that some Millennials keep developing through the years, force you to trust in what you have to offer and accept the simple fact that we are not for everybody.