Three degrees yet I clean a lavatory: the tale of Spain's lost generation

A young Spaniard with three degrees has become the face of the country’s ‘‘lost generation’’ after an online rant in which he complained that the only work he could find was cleaning lavatories in London.

Benjamin Serra Bosch, 25, who has two undergraduate degrees and a master’s, posted a message about his plight as an overqualified youth unable to find a decent job in his own country.

‘‘I received a distinction for both my degrees and now I clean s*** in a foreign country,’’ he wrote in a message posted on Facebook and Twitter. ‘‘I’ve been working in a well-known cafe chain in London since May. And after five months working there, today for the first time I saw it clearly.

‘‘I clean toilets ... Well, I also make coffees, wipe tables and wash up cups.’’

Mr Serra, from Valencia, insisted that his work did not make him ashamed, despite having a degree in journalism and advertising from the private CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia and another in public relations from the IEBS Business School. He also has a master’s degree in community management.

‘‘I’m not ashamed of what I do,’’ he wrote. ‘‘Cleaning is a very worthy job. What embarrasses me is having to do it because no one has given me an opportunity in Spain. There are many Spaniards like me, especially in London.’’


‘‘We are a plague. And make no mistake, the youth are not here to learn the language, having an adventure and new experiences. We are immigrants.

‘‘I thought I deserved better after so much effort in my academic life. Apparently I was wrong.’’

His story has struck a chord in Spain where unemployment among the under-25s rose to a record 56 per cent in August. The number of Spaniards seeking work abroad has more than doubled since the start of the economic crisis five years ago.

Mr Serra’s outburst spread across social networking websites, provoking thousands of messages of solidarity from Spain’s young workers, who refer to themselves the ‘‘Lost Generation’’ because of the lack of opportunities in their crisis-hit nation.

According to official statistics, nearly 60,000 Spaniards left the country to seek work last year, more than double the figure in 2007 before the crisis began.

Spaniards are the fast-growing group of foreign workers in Britain, with the Spanish embassy in London recording that 70,000 were registered there last year, although the total figure could be as much as five times that.

I received a distinction for both my degrees and now I clean s*** in a foreign country

Mr Serra called on Spain’s politicians to ‘‘get their act together because I am an example of what is happening to many young Spaniards’’.

He added: ‘‘Sometimes I want to shove my qualifications in the face of those customers who look down on me. It seems that all my certificates aren’t worth the s*** I clean from the toilets.’’

The Telegraph, London


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