Conversations with friends these days tend to be forward looking. With very little to say about what we have been doing, discussion naturally turns to what we are going to do.
At the time of writing, the NHS is administering 140 coronavirus vaccines every minute – suggesting that a light may be appearing at the end of the long tunnel of the pandemic. As we move towards that, we’re all busy making plans for what will happen next.
For those of us who are ‘pre-family’, that question is an interesting one. There was great deal of talk just over a year ago – before most had ever heard of coronavirus – of a 21st century version of the ‘roaring twenties’. That was mostly in jest, an excuse for a Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve party, but with perennial news stories like Trump and Brexit coming to an end, there was hope for a more positive and prosperous decade ahead.
Skip forward a year and while optimism still prevails, much of it is based on the fact that things can hardly get worse. After a year in isolation, what does that idea of the roaring twenties look like? And is it more or less likely to come to fruition?
The Economist wrote this week about a new era of innovation – highlighting the reasons to expect a post-pandemic productivity boom, including investment in, and adoption of, new technologies. One thing it missed, and the biggest source of optimism for me, is the motivation from ordinary young people to kick on and move forward, both at home and at work.
Based on my own friends, that enthusiasm is already building. There is a buzz growing about the possibility of relaxed restrictions being just a couple of months away. But if you’re picturing lavish parties, new awakenings, and social upheaval – think again. Sure, Glastonbury 50 – whenever it happens – will be all the more special, but in reality the anticipation lies in our everyday lives.
Young people have the chance to pick up where they left off. Most of us were working towards something – a house, a promotion, a wedding – and with those inevitably slowed by the pandemic, most will be keen just to get moving again.
And the time to do so is perfect. Many have been able to save more money in the past year than they ever thought possible, making those big life changes all the more achievable. And on top of that, our new mastery of remote working will provide much more flexibility in how, when, and where we work in the years ahead.
Having the flexibility and resources to make pragmatic, positive decisions will help us all to take big steps forward in our lives. In turn, that will lead to a happy, focused, and ambitious cohort of young people in business (you might even say the roaring twenties), with a lot to look forward to in the years ahead, old sport.
Neil Stanwix is an account manager at Camargue