Insights from the UK and beyond
Doctor? Nurse? We’d rather be socialites, say today’s youngsters
No longer do little boys and girls dream of being doctors, nurses, firefighters and solicitors — commendable jobs that command a steady income and offer a career for life. These days, it seems, being famous is far more desirable.
The most desired careers among young people include being a musician, famous singer or band member, working in the media, and being a “celebrity or socialite”, according to research by Alliance & Leicester. Its poll of 1,077 people aged 16 to 21 showed that 25 percent want to be a famous musician, 24 percent desire a job in the media and 14 percent want to be famous for, well, being famous. Being a fashion designer (13 percent) or a teacher/ lecturer (13 percent) completes the top five most popular careers.
In contrast, just 8 percent fancy nursing and 5 percent want to be a vet, as today’s generation of young people move away from careers that involve years of study and are designed to last a lifetime to those where fame and fortune are achievable in the blink of an eye.
This desire for fame — and the apparent ability to rake it in for doing nothing other than being a well-known face — is a sad reflection of today’s society, and is epitomised by this year’s bunch of Big Brother housemates. When the show started nine years ago, it was billed as an experiment in psychology and sociology. Now, it is little more than a platform for wannabe pop stars and TV presenters.
“Even though BB bosses promised ‘real people’ this year, we can reveal that Mario and Lisa are serial wannabes who have been trying to become famous for 12 YEARS,” reports today’s Daily Star newspaper in a five-page Big Brother special, which features a picture of presenter Davina McCall waving an “Unleash the Freaks” sign.
With such role models, it’s perhaps unsurprising that young people crave celebrity status and the trappings that apparently come with it. Jade Goody, who became famous after appearing on the Channel 4 reality TV show in 2002, might have been voted the third most pointless celebrity (behind Celebrity BB 2006 winner Chantelle Houghton and Paris Hilton) in a December 2007 poll by Now magazine, but she is believed to have accumulated a personal fortune of around 3 million pounds from TV appearances, book deals, promotional work and a perfume line.
Her “career”, however, took a turn of the worse in the wake of a racism row stemming from the very show that made her. And for every one who “makes it”, countless others don’t. As many former Big Brother contestants prove, such “fame” can prove incredibly short-lived – and the dole queue can soon beckon.
Onto another form of entertainment now… and while England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has shattered the dreams of fans across the country, there are some benefits. Britian will potentially save the equivalent of 30 double decker buses-worth of carbon dioxide emissions, as up to 70 million televisions remain switched off come kick-off time, according to utility provider E.ON.
That will not only make England’s carbon footprint considerablysmaller, but should save fans a tidy sum in electricity costs — not to mention money on those match-time refreshments. A silver lining if ever there was one.