Nice and NEET?: Reflections On A Social Trend

Today, I’ll be attempting to destroy this image of the NEET lifestyle.

While doing my usual ‘net patrol for interesting stories, I came across a video by the brilliant Gaijin Goombah discussing the use of recurring terms in his videos. There, I was surprised to see a phrase I had never heard before.

NEET (short for Not in Education, Employment or Training) is a term used to describe people who, for various reasons, are not in school, in an internship or otherwise employed full-time.

This struck close to home for me since I technically qualify as a NEET. I graduated Cum Laude about a year ago, I only work part-time as a Night Auditor for a local inn and I use the extra free time to polish my writing skills with you – my kind readers.

So naturally, with the number of NEETs on the rise as Gaijin illustrated, I wondered if being a part of this trend (some what inadvertently, granted) was a positive or a negative.

At first glance, you’d want to say that it’s a bad thing. No job means no money and that life becomes tougher for you and anyone you support. And that certainly is true. Speaking from personal experience, the best part of my tax return this year is that I got enough back to completely pay back ONE of my student loans.

However, as Gaijin pointed out, many NEETs aren’t the lazy, redundant blobs of protoplasm many would have you believe us to be. Almost all professional bloggers and Youtube personalities are technically NEET; using a part-time job to support their passion projects and, in turn, the returns from those projects supplementing their part-time income.

Again, speaking from personal experience, many of my close personal friends are NEET. One runs her own bookkeeping business. Another builds computers on the side. Yet another is a freelance graphic artist/model designer for video games. I myself am trying to build up this blog, hopefully by making more frequent posts and investing in video equipment for taped episodes, to get enough readership to sell ad space and live a comfortable life helping support my parents as they draw closer to retirement.

For some of us, the choice to become a NEET is hardly a choice at all. I personally live in a very sparse area of the northeast (what I lovingly refer to as East Bumblescum, New Ver-maine-shire) where job options are limited and few and far between. Most jobs that are looking for my skills are in states on the other side of the country and I just don’t have the means for long distance travel or relocation. Being NEET and opting to be a self-made entrepreneurial Op/Ed writer is just me using what skills I have to make a name and living for myself due to a lack of options.

Admittedly, this trend is a problem for big businesses needing full-time workers and for the elderly population as Gaijin noted. However, many businesses prefer part-time workers anyway as it means they don’t have to offer them full-time benefits. And with free government-funded healthcare becoming more of a reality everyday, that seems to be less of a problem for everyone.

What’s more, many traditional jobs are becoming automated and employees are being phased out. Living an entrepreneurial NEET lifestyle seems only logical in a world where, more and more, humans need not apply.

In closing, yes, the NEET trend is scary and has a host of problems that need addressing. But, it’s important to note that we are not (and can’t allow ourselves to be) lazy, ignorant slobs. We’re still human and we’re dealing with the same serious human social and economic issues as the rest of you the only way we can see how. And just like you, we need the emotional support and help of others to give us strength.

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