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Young people at risk of making snap decisions about future

Students and graduates are letting Snapchats from friends influence them when thinking about their future careers

Posted by Hannah Vickers | June 09, 2017 | Technology

Young people at work run the risk of hindering their careers by paying too much attention to Snapchats posted by friends about their jobs, according to new research from Milkround.

95% of those surveyed admitted that they felt envious of some part of their friends' jobs, with most stating that others' travel opportunities with work is one of the main instigators of the green-eyed monster.

And, social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to that jealousy. 37% of those surveyed clearly cited social media as the source of their career envy. In fact, our opinions of how our friends are doing in their entire lives is shaped by what we see on social media with over one third stating that positive social media posts make them believe others are doing well. 

Snapchat has been named the social media network that invokes the most feelings of anxiety around careers, with short disappearing stories that leave lasting impressions, with LinkedIn and Twitter coming second and third respectively.

FOMO is to blame for students doubting their career choices, a new survey suggests 

Money is also a major reason for envy, with 46% stating that their friends' salaries are the main reason for their jealousy; with social posts about holidays and things they buy leading them to believe that they are earning less than their peers.

It's no wonder they are holding themselves to impossibly high standards, with social media posts which show all the reward but none of the struggle - Francesca Parkinson from Milkround

Francesca Parkinson from Milkround said:"It's fair to say, students feel a vast amount of pressure to make sure their life choices pay off, in fact almost half (49%) of those surveyed felt the strain of making the right decision. With an extremely high 95% saying they feel pressure to land the perfect job straight out of university, although half of those surveyed still have no idea what their dream job is!

"So, it's no wonder they are holding themselves to impossibly high standards, with social media posts which show all the reward but none of the struggle."

42% of those questioned said that they felt at a lower level in their careers than their friends.

Dr. Parry, clinical lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, whose clinical work focuses on experiences of dissociation and developing wellbeing services for young people, said: "The difficulty with the presentation of career success through social media is largely that we just don’t know what might be necessary for career progression as we often only see the fruitful highlights at the end of someone else’s journey, not the preceding struggle, which can be filtered out through non-reporting."

Dr. Parry's top tips to cope with potentially negative emotions brought on by social media:

  • Take a minute and assess what’s really important to you. Whether it be career, family life, friends, or another aspect of life, make your own priorities the dominant focus in your life
  • Set some time aside to catch up face-to-face with the people who are posting things that might make you feel envious. Getting the whole picture will often help breakdown the pedestal of perfection that you have them perched on
  • Pick your channel. There are so many social media channels, recognising those channels that bring on negative feelings and cutting down on them will mean you enjoy social media more 

For more from Dr. Susan Parry on how to recognise and combat career anxiety, visit her website.

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