Thursday, March 12, 2009

The young and the jobless

The recession may be a reason to cry into your flan for some, but for others -- especially those in "my" generation (Gen Y) -- could it be the best thing to happen to us?

Yeah yeah, we all know the economic pressure has changed many psychological habits, i.e. saving and spending behaviors, but on a larger scale, does it buttress what Generation Y is all about? That is, our collectively lackadaisical care to put forth real effort into anything? The generations before us were all about ignorance or materialism, but according to a new article in The Big Money, we're all about "devastating unseriousness" -- and the offshoots of a terrible economy, such as high unemployment, may seem to work quite nicely with the average Gen Yer's behavior. Translation: Why work when you can collect unemployment?
One unemployed Gen Yer is living out a life dream, traveling India and paying for hostels with unemployment checks. A particularly desperate male had to actually move back into his parents' beautiful two-story house in Connecticut and is on a weekly allowance from the state.

One mid-20s male in Los Angeles that the article came across "was trying to find another job, but was being very selective." He was, "admittedly, being a pompous prick."

Why the inherent urge to laze rather than labor? Consume rather than produce? Isn't that the whole point of looking forward to retirement? The article attributes that to how life was for Gen Yers pre-2007 recession:
Everyone on the Forbes 400 list was a billionaire and The Apprentice was beginning its sixth season. How could there be anything but a thin awareness of real financial
hardship? Go down the list of the things that occupied the cultural imagination during these decades. Start with Baby Jessica and stop when you get to Ritalin. The reality today is not ignorance or even materialism. It's merely a potentially devastating unseriousness, like listing lying as one's favorite activity on Facebook.
Of course not everyone is lazing around, sipping mojitos and collecting unemployment, but the story does seem to bring up a valid point. The lack of urgency in many Gen Yers eyes is what is most startling but may soon change as progress into the next couple of years.

For now, the arrangement seems to be working to many's favor:
"So many people are getting laid off that are married with kids. I'm getting laid off because I hate my job and in the process, I get severance and I get unemployment," says one mid-20s male who lost his job this month. "It's crazy if you think about it, that I qualify for the same thing."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm in my last years in college and most us are just waiting with a little fear over graduating. we are seeing the economy and many of us are thinking about extending our education. I on the other hand am kind of excited, though as a journalist the state of the papers is a bit frightening. I do think a lot of my generation is being to picky. Most of us aren't willing to do the hard work that our predecessors had to do.
Great post and thank you for commenting on my blog.

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