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  1. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

    So let’s add ageism to your list of blind spots? These old people just don’t understand our plight! They’ve never had it as bad as we have it now! They don’t understand economic inequality and being swallowed up by the great, capitalist machine! Wild, unabated capitalism is not new. Generation after generation have rebelled against it, formed communes, social movements, individually opted out of the system.

    These are hard times economically for vast swathes of society, across all ages, regions, occupations. People, yes even people older than those in their early thirties, are losing their jobs, covering more than their fair share at work to make up for those who have been laid off, unable to complain because a job is a job is a job. The values of their investments has plummeted putting retirement at best a distant dream, their increasing health issues making even a tough job better than being without health insurance. I don’t want to minimize your plight. I do want you to see the world around you, comprised of OTHER PEOPLE who not only have problems, but also have things to teach you, things you might even learn to write about.

  2. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

    * claps *

  3. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil July 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

    Underemployment is a real thing. It means that either you aren’t working as many hours as you’d prefer (e.g., you’re working part time, but want to be full time) or you’re working at a job below your skill and training level (e.g., you’re doing minimum wage data entry and you have a PhD in math). It’s a useful concept because it captures a second layer of problems with the economy that go beyond unemployment.

  4. BHuesca
    BHuesca July 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm |

    @BBBShrewHarpy-

    Just running with something here…Or what you call ageism could be looked at positively, that at least the OP didn’t appropriate (as she did in other posts) the experiences of those people of other ages that she has yet to experience?

  5. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    @BBShrewHarpy,

    So let’s add ageism to your list of blind spots? These old people just don’t understand our plight! They’ve never had it as bad as we have it now!

    N-oooo, I think she was trying to point out that things are pretty fucking awful for us millennials right now: we’re disproportionately affected by student loan debt, underemployment and unemployment. There really isn’t a reason to what-about-the-middle-agerz this conversation; she’s speaking to her own experiences.

    I don’t want to minimize your plight.

    And as for the pliiiiiiight of the middle-aged people, I have five words: chickens coming home to roost. You want us to take responsibility for our shit? Sure! Now take responsibility for yours; the financial policies made while we millennials were in school and safely below voting, and probably below employable age, are the direct cause of the economic fuckshittery going on across the planet right now.

    And while you’re at it, stop condescending about how Anna discussing a problem she has means that she thinks no one else has problems ever.

  6. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    I think I was most annoyed by the following:

    It makes it difficult to take advice from older generations who do not realize what it is like to have this economic climate as the starting point of our careers. My father always tells me that my uncle used to say, “If you don’t like your job, quit.” My uncle clearly wasn’t living in 2012 in a double/triple dip recession that just keeps on dipping.

    as if nobody else was living through this except the millennials. As if there were not people entering (or in some cases re-entering) the workforce who were not in her position i.e., recent college graduates. It gave me the same feeling as the article linked by Caperton about the young editorial assistant, Ms. Cotter. Not that Ms. Miller is doing a humble brag (I like that term!) or being in any way disingenuous, and her piece is much better written, but rather there is a sense that “This!This!This! is the most important time of my life and if things aren’t perfect now they will never be good, and how can anyone old understand!”. I guess I am being a fogey in that I’m sure I felt like this at some point and am weary of it now, because life is just one long adventure with no one single crucial time in it, and the time in which you live is probably special in some way, but not special above all others. I’m a Gen-Xer. This is what we do!

  7. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    as if nobody else was living through this except the millennials.

    Well, her presumably dead uncle sure as fuck isn’t.

    “This!This!This! is the most important time of my life and if things aren’t perfect now they will never be good, and how can anyone old understand!”

    Personally, I read it as “things are really shitty right now, and I don’t think it’s exactly the same as before and older perspectives don’t seem to fit my lived experience.” Which…you can argue with the thesis, but it’s not ageist.

  8. Jadey
    Jadey July 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    I don’t know about the US, but in Canada youth unemployment is hitting dramatic highs in conjunction with increasing costs of tuition and housing. Yeah, there’s some generational solipsism happening (there always is – we all only get one generation and one lifetime – it always feels unique to us), but the numbers say that it’s more than that.

    I’ve had problems with Anna’s posts, but I don’t think this one is particularly ageist or that it’s suggesting that *only* young graduates are struggling with this (the point about people re-entering the workforce or changing careers is also quite valid, though over-whelmingly we are talking about young people here who have never had an opportunity to get a meaningful financial foothold going). Frankly, I do talk to a lot of older people (boomers especially) who have tried to give me advice based on *their* experiences, which are so hopelessly out of touch with the current economic situation that it would make me laugh if it didn’t make me want to cry. I’ve also talked to Boomers and Gen-Xers who get it, of course, but the *overall* generational dialogue happening right now is full of inanities and ridiculous slander about how “lazy and entitled” kids these days are for wanting to work(seriously – the comments on any news article that tries to bring up the ridiculous economic pressures on people who are trying to put down financial roots and can’t would make a stone weep). It’s appalling and short-sighted. The student protests in Quebec right now have brought out an endless spew of ageist crap against my generation in my country, and I am sick to death of it.

    There’s of course lots of problems for older generations too – boomers who expected to be able to retire in comfort are watching their safety nets dissolve and seeing that all the “good debt” they were encouraged to take on is no such thing. Gen X-ers – and soon us Gen-Yers too – are getting cramped between supporting expensive kids and expensive parents with fewer and fewer stable economic resources to lean on. The current economic situation is untenable and is going to leave lasting scars – failure to secure savings and pay down debt, begin a reliable career trajectory, and feel psychologically whole, these are problems which are only exacerbated by time, not lessened. Chronologically speaking, the younger generations are going to be living with those scars the longest… of course we’re angry.

  9. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

    @macavity:

    It is true I can’t argue with her experience, nor do I want to, but I can advise her not to dismiss the experiences of others who have struggled, continue to struggle, and are trying to advise her, and happen to have come of age 20+ years before her.

    I’m not sure why you assume her uncle is dead. Life expectancy is quite high in the US, and given that she is in her early 20′s it is likely her dad’s brother is still alive, though of course illness and accidents can befall anyone at any age. Just like economic hardships. The fact that his saying was related to her by her father may be due to the fact that it was part of a standing conversation between two brothers, one of whom was sick of his job.

    As for chickens coming home to roost for the generation before mine, well I’m not sure that this generational warfare is very helpful. I do experience occasional resentment towards the baby boomers because there are so bloody many of them, and with no lock box on social security, my generation is paying very heavily for them to retire and go on Medicaid, while seeing our own future benefits decline. But ultimately we’re all in this together, which I guess is the bit I’m missing from Ms. Miller’s piece.

  10. Jadey
    Jadey July 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

    Which reminds me…

    The spirit of Occupy Wall Street is by no means dead. It goes on every day, under all kinds of different names, including the Quebec student protests and on-going “Occupations” all over, as well as many others I’m sure. Movements of the disenfranchised and exploited are hard to silence when the pain is so close to the surface and people have so little left to lose.

  11. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm |

    It is true I can’t argue with her experience, nor do I want to, but I can advise her not to dismiss the experiences of others who have struggled

    Well…thinking someone’s advice doesn’t necesarily apply isn’t really ageism. I can think my parents’ advice on staying in the closet at the workplace isn’t applicable, for instance; it doesn’t make me ageist.

    I’’m not sure why you assume her uncle is dead.

    It was the use of “used to say” that made me think he was dead.

    As for chickens coming home to roost for the generation before mine, well I’m not sure that this generational warfare is very helpful.

    Honestly? There isn’t any element of generational warfare in the original post. You chose to read it into it – or react, at any rate, as if it were written into it. I responded directly to your post in which you said

    I do want you to see the world around you, comprised of OTHER PEOPLE who not only have problems, but also have things to teach you, things you might even learn to write about.

    I don’t know your intent, but it came off incredibly condescending and listen-up-little-girl. Ageism: the privilege cuts both ways. If you really feel we’re all in this together (a sentiment I agree with), treating someone who had absolutely no responsibility in creating a problem as if they’re being selfish just for pointing out that the problem affects them personally is a really odd way to show it.

  12. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    @Jadey:

    Frankly, I do talk to a lot of older people (boomers especially) who have tried to give me advice based on *their* experiences, which are so hopelessly out of touch with the current economic situation that it would make me laugh if it didn’t make me want to cry.

    Could you please give me an example or two of the silly advice you have received? This is definitely beyond my experience, and I’m quite curious.

    There is one way in which I think your generation was royally screwed, and that is in college fees. You were basically told you had to go to college if you wanted to earn a decent salary, but even in-state fees are so exorbitant at this point that it doesn’t seem like a good option for anyone not in a technical/professional program. My instinct is that online learning combined with some independent yet qualified tutors (academics are suffering too!) and standard exams instead of program accreditation will take over everything else. It’s just ridiculously expensive, and graduating with so much debt is debilitating at any time, not just now.

  13. AnonymousForThis
    AnonymousForThis July 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm |

    The secret of the millennial generation is that we’re living through a depression after growing up in a boom. Suddenly it all seems so much worse because we don’t remember anything other than the Clinton years. We’ve known nothing but plenty, and now that we have to work we’re indignant and appalled. Thats why Occupy fails, because its all the entitlement, lack of focus, myopia, me-first bullshit, and ultimate spinelessness that are the hallmarks of our generation. We suck and we aren’t yet willing to do better.

    The other side of the coin is that things are worse than they’ve been in a long time. The Baby Boomers are retiring and lamenting that things aren’t better than they want them to be while their bloated numbers vote to fuck over anything that threatens to take an ounce off their plate. The awkward generation thats too old to be Gen X but too young to be Boomers keeps it’s head down, they’ve got it too good to get involved and have too much to lose to really risk anything. Our politicians are worthless, our regulations are garbage, and both sides of the political spectrum offer us solutions which serve special interests instead of the people.

    Nothing is changing. The new boss is the same as the old boss. There is nothing to be done until it gets worse. Hope is an illusion.

  14. amblingalong
    amblingalong July 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

    I have a couple problems with this article, mostly technical stuff (double-dip recession actually means something, and privitization isn’t really a major factor in the current recession/economy- privitization != deregulation) but basically, right on.

  15. With Love
    With Love July 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

    These are hard times economically for vast swathes of society, across all ages, regions, occupations.

    Yes, I think that Anna covers that point here:

    Still, I have a difficult time saying that it is “hard” to be a recent grad—there are so many who are in the same, or worse economic predicaments from all ages, that these conditions are too universally normal to call “hard” for one group more than others.

    Unless (not to be an ass, just to clarify) that point was edited in after the fact?

  16. Jose
    Jose July 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm |

    Sucks to be a mellenial and have a crap job at starbucks and 80K in loans for a lib arts degress.
    Sucks to be 30 and know that after boomers suck the social safety net dry Gen Y and the mellenials will have the voting block to turn off the spigot and leave you high and dry.
    Sucks to be 40 and have to worry about how to pay for you kids college when you haven’t had a raise in 8 years, owe 150K more than your house is worth.
    Sucks to be 50 when no one will hire you because you’re too experienced and your pension was eliminated in your companies last BK.

    Times just suck now.

  17. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm |

    @WIth Love:

    Your quote and the sentence below it aren’t ringing any bells with me and I don’t remember reading them. I do remember reading that she knew others had it hard, specifically referring to recent graduates who didn’t have jobs at all, but I don’t remember the “other ages” or the “divisive” sentence that follows and addresses my comment about generational warfare. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. It could be I didn’t read carefully enough, but I suspect macavity would have called me out on it if it had been there, so it may indicate an edit.

  18. Jadey
    Jadey July 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm |

    “You’ve got good grades – go to university and get a degree! If you get a college diploma [in Canada, "college" = "technical school" and is considered low class to university], you’ll never get a decent job.”

    This is what I heard all the way through high school. At that time, recent university graduates could already have told me what a (classist) crock that was, and it’s only gotten worse. A good technical diploma, especially if it came with co-op experience or field placements, has huge advantages over the average BA or BSc.

    “You should have done your homework before picking a degree! You’ve only yourself to blame for thinking you could get a real job with a BA in English.”

    I’m not kidding when I say that we were told that *any* university degree was better than a college diploma. And no one was handing us a magic 8-ball to explain exactly which degree was going to be lucrative. Did all those architectural majors expect the housing and construction market to collapse from underneath them? Did students majoring in hospitality services know that tourism would be taking a dive in the near future?

    Not to mention, we’re human beings – not robots. Post-secondary school is a frustrating and sometimes mentally-dangerous experience (see: rates of mental health disorders among students, rising; access to appropriate support and intervention, not rising) and nothing makes the experience worse than applying yourself to something you have no interest in, especially when you’re paying to do it. So yeah, students fresh out of high school with no real resources for figuring out what the existing job market was (seriously, I remember a time before “just Google it” meant anything – I’m only in my mid-twenties) and certainly no way to see into the future picked majors in areas they had an interest in, like film studies, political science, biology (yes, biology – it’s not just the arts and social sciences that are having a hard time), and so forth with no way of knowing that the four years they worked their asses off to get those degrees would be seen as a waste of time by their future (un)employers.

    “Just take any job and keep at it – if you work hard, you’ll get promoted!”

    Cue my friends who’ve been working the same retail jobs for years, are very good at it, and, after so long working for the same company, are painfully aware of how little upwards mobility there is and what a dead-end they’re stuck in.

    I’m actually in a very good position with my job skills regarding contract jobs, but this is temporary and unstable – permanent, reasonably stable positions which allow for more confident long-term planning and just a general better sense of psychological security for many people are much harder to come by.

    Similar to that one: “If you can’t get a decent job, volunteer/take a unsustainable position and someone will notice how hard you work and hire you for something better.”

    Exploitation of volunteer labour (which, incidentally, can be a pretty bad way to run a non-profit, despite assumptions – volunteers tend to be less skilled, require more training, take off sooner, and in the long haul cost more than a few skilled and invested employees) or otherwise cheap labour is one of the mainstays of our current economic hell. In some fields, unpaid internships and years of un- or under-paid work is the rule rather than the exception. And ask adjunct professors how useful taking part-time, temporary teaching positions is as an entry point to a permanent faculty position. The truth is, the jobs aren’t there. There is no “something better”. And it’s partly because the market has figured out that it can string people along on this kind of bullshit line and squeeze more profits out the other side.

    “Kids today are just lazy and entitled. They’re only complaining because no one will pay them do to nothing. If they weren’t so attached to their iPhones, then they’d have plenty of money to pay for school.”

    I have heard that kind of iPhone (or other expensive luxury) comment more times than I care to remember. I can count on *one hand* the number of people my age I know who have an iPhone and at least half of them use that as their lifeline for work. This apparently widespread perception that every millenial is the spoiled, middle-class child of a spoiled, middle-class boomer with more money than sense actually defies my attempts at vitriol when it comes up – I am made speechless with rage and incredulity.

    Mind, I expect no magic solutions. It’s not like people are keeping the jobs from my generation on purpose. There aren’t enough jobs. There isn’t economic security. No one can magic it up.

    But we can start making policy changes to both help the current generations cope with a dim economic future, as we will surely be in the same bad retirement boat as many of our parents are now, come the time. (Or worse – my government is eroding our retirement protections as we speak.) And changes that will be more responsible for future generations.

    There’s a really good chart included in this article which compares the “traditional” career path (long, slow, ever-increasing incremental path with clear benchmarks) and the new dominant career path (wave-y line up and down with breaks and uncertainties and no clear end or direction). It’s not a new path (and economically vulnerable groups have been dealing with unstable employment… forever, basically), but it’s becoming increasingly common even among people from middle-class backgrounds, with even more shit being shovelled down onto the people who had fewer resources to begin with. (Consider: the students from working class and working poor backgrounds who took on enormous debt because they were promised, promised by parents, guidance counsellors, and society at large that a university degree, any university degree, was “the way out”. I know many people in this situation. It’s sickening.)

    That’s the reality right now. That’s what we’re dealing with.

    Addendum: My anger right now is general, and not directed at any particular commenter here (so far). I am just incapable of talking on this topic without anger right now. It’s my friends’ lives, my own generation, and the one’s to come that are being cut up by this, and every day I see someone, usually older, blaming it all on us for having the stupidity to have been born in the last few decades.

  19. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm |

    Rereading, I see the part about the other graduates juggling minimum wage jobs is in another paragraph. From my memory of my first reading, this entire paragraph is new since the commentariat (mostly me!) weighed in:

    Still, I have a difficult time saying that it is “hard” to be a recent grad—there are so many who are in the same, or worse economic predicaments from all ages, that these conditions are too universally normal to call “hard” for one group more than others. What I personally would call it is divisive—whereas many others have been affected by the recession, we were somewhat born into it, and are constantly coming up with a whole new set of rules to navigate what makes up the new “normal.”

    I wouldn’t swear to it as I am checking in on this with half an eye (admittedly frequently) while writing a grant application, but I don’t think this was in the original submission.

  20. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    It could be I didn’t read carefully enough, but I suspect macavity would have called me out on it if it had been there, so it may indicate an edit.

    *dies* I’m not that much of a predictable asshole, am I?

    Actually, I did point out that she made that concession…the comment’s in mod, lol.

  21. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    And now my comment about a comment that went into mod went into mod.

    How very meta.

  22. Miss S
    Miss S July 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    So let’s add ageism to your list of blind spots? These old people just don’t understand our plight! They’ve never had it as bad as we have it now!

    Give me a fucking break. A lot of the opportunities that previous generations had is gone or damn near impossible for this one, like home ownership. Previous generations also didn’t have nearly the amount of student loan debt this one has, and the cost of living has greatly outpaced wages. The author of this post is certainly not the first person to point this out. It’s not fucking ageism. It’s a fact.

    TW for self harm:
    Anna, thank you for this post. What you’ve described- the depression, the drugs, the fucked up reality- is exactly what I’m seeing around me. My family reminds me on a regular basis that it’s just a hard time right now; it’s not a personal failing. Still, I feel depressed. I was diagnosed with anxiety years ago, and it’s only gotten worse. My parents didn’t go to college, and I was the smart daughter who graduated in the top of her high school class, and went to college. I came from very little money, and I haven’t gotten very far from it. I spend days wishing I were somewhere else, doing something else, something more.
    After contemplating OD’ing in my car last week, I realized just how bad things have gotten for me and I made an appointment to go see someone.

    To top off the fact that people are really struggling, our safety net in the U.S is a joke. No guaranteed health care, disability is damn near impossible for people to get on, not every unemployed person can actually access unemployment, social services make you jump through hoops… it’s a mess.

  23. Jadey
    Jadey July 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm |

    @ BBBShrewHarpy

    I have a long response to your previous request in mod @ 16, if you were wondering.

  24. Matt
    Matt July 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm |

    I can’t be sure either, but I do feel like the post is different than it was at first.

  25. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 14, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

    I wouldn’t swear to it as I am checking in on this with half an eye (admittedly frequently) while writing a grant application, but I don’t think this was in the original submission.

    Um….you’re right, actually, I think. I know she made a first-sentence concession to that point in the version I saw, which I said when I responded to your comment, but it looks like there’s…more of it, now. I’m very confused….

  26. Mike Ballard
    Mike Ballard July 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    I think one of the problems we face as the class which is actually employed to produce all the wealth found in society (outside of natural resources) is that we’ve been made fairly unconscious of the fact that we are all in that very same class and that we have class interests in common with each other which are opposed to the class interests of employers and landlords as classes. The ways this is accomplished are many and varied; but the result is the same: more wealth and political power for them and less for us, the producers. For example, we are told over and over again that we are this or that identity and we scurry off to cultivate out particular ideological subset of humanity with, of course, our own particular histories contributing to our individual differences. As long as our eyes are off the prize which the employing and landlord classes appropriate from our time and energy, we remain wage-slaves, crying in our beer, ever waiting for Godot to come along.

  27. M_turnstyles
    M_turnstyles July 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

    I feel like Anna can’t say anything on here without getting jumped on. Would any of you be this mean in real life or are you using the Internet’s anonmyity to be jerks? I can’t wait to read all your perfect social justice blogs on shameless self promotion Sunday.

  28. With Love
    With Love July 15, 2012 at 12:20 am |

    What the does underemployed even mean? I’m sure there is an official economic definition, but it still sounds like a phony excuse to me.

    I’m sorry, I’m tripping over this point. I’m not sure what you mean here. The economic definition seems like a phony excuse for what?

  29. miga
    miga July 15, 2012 at 12:20 am |

    It is also difficult to know what standards we should hold for ourselves—how can you demand more when you are told that you should be grateful for anything and know that you are the last ones hired and the first ones fired?

    This. So hard.

  30. Djuna Tree
    Djuna Tree July 15, 2012 at 1:37 am |

    @M_turnstyles: since when is having a better alternative blog of one’s own a prerequisite for calling out bad writing on the Internet? I hate cyberbullying, and there was an instance of that on her last thread about “women and emotional vulnerability,” which sickened me. However, the bulk of the rest of the criticism as far as I can see has been about how poor her pieces have been (not to mention her behavior in the comment threads and on Twitter).

  31. librarygoose
    librarygoose July 15, 2012 at 2:50 am |

    I’ve taken to answering the question, “So, what are you doing with your life,” with, “Wavering between depression and suicidal depression. Ya know, depending on whether or not someone asks me that fucking question.”

    I’m aware people aren’t trying to rub salt in the wounds, but fuck, if I treat everything with giddy denial you should too. It’s only polite.

  32. Tony
    Tony July 15, 2012 at 3:02 am |

    Seeing as the ‘millenial’ generation began with the cohort born in 1982, I don’t think we’re all the same boat. Thus of us that finished our education prior to September 2008 graduated into a decent economy, even one at the height of a crazy bubble. I was born in 1983 and most of my friends who graduated college with me in 2005, even those that went on for Master’s or Law degrees (I can’t speak to Ph.D’s- I understand the job market for Ph.D’s in humanities or social sciences is always terrible) had a pretty good shot of starting out with a recent job and they’re all stable and working in their careers now. I feel it’s different for those who graduated after Lehman Brothers. I talked to somebody in a high paying, stable finance job in NYC literally walked into the first day of her job at Lehman Brothers on the morning of September 15, 2008, to find out that the company had declared bankruptcy. She kept her job, along with all the other new employees that day (apparently they were paid so low, it was cheaper to lay off the MBA’s instead), and worked for three years at the same place (it was spun off from Lehman Bros. as a subsidiary and acquired by another company, but it was essentially still the same unit) until moving on to a better job.

    But for those who graduated in 2009, those positions weren’t there.

    There’s a reason they call it the ‘Lost Generation.’

    This is the most important time in their life, for many of them, because if you get a late start to your career, that is permanent damage. Most careers aren’t Random Walks, they’re very path-dependent.

    I will say this. Gen X got screwed because a lot of them were buying, buying, buying, at the top of the bubble, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Since the house is the biggest investment you can have, you take a 50% equity hit on that, it’s a big deal. The stock market and 401k’s have recovered nicely (especially in the United States). Housing prices haven’t. Gen Y for the most part, dodged that bubble. However, there are still some markets where prices never really came down (NYC, Wash DC). And they’re going back up again.

    It’s sick that housing prices aren’t included in inflation, because for most people it’s your biggest expense, and a living expense.

  33. Shoshie
    Shoshie July 15, 2012 at 4:10 am |

    As someone who graduated in 2008, I’ve seen some really intelligent and hardworking friends struggle with finding paying work above minimum wage. It sucks. Mr. Shoshie and I have been very lucky, as he’s working and I’m getting a stipend through school, but it often really feels like “there but for the grace of God.”

    And, while there haven’t been too many articles talking about the lazy boomers who are retiring early (out of necessity) or those unemployed lazy Gen X-ers, it seems like I keep reading and hearing people talk about the infantile and lazy recent grads who should just get a job already. And clearly just don’t want to enter adulthood, what with living with parents and not marrying and having kids at young ages. Because it’s totally immature to put off having children until you’re financially stable.

    And the truth is that things ARE different now than they were for people my parents’ age. Rent and groceries are more expensive. Good jobs are more scarce. People are expected to pick up and move for work, relocating frequently and giving up their safety net. Times suck for workers right now, and they suck most for people lowest on the ladder. Which is often people with the least amount of work experience.

  34. konkonsn
    konkonsn July 15, 2012 at 6:00 am |

    @librarygoose

    I’ve taken to answering the question, “So, what are you doing with your life,” with, “Wavering between depression and suicidal depression. Ya know, depending on whether or not someone asks me that fucking question.”

    I’m aware people aren’t trying to rub salt in the wounds, but fuck, if I treat everything with giddy denial you should too. It’s only polite.

    Oh yeah. I mean, my sister just had her wedding in April, and I’m graduating this summer (in two weeks…eeeeeee!), so I think I was asked, “So what are you going to do now?” about thirty times between my parents’ extend families. It got to the point that I was starting to have little panic attacks because I can’t get a job and will you please stop reminding me of that fact while my only sister is getting married to her high school sweetheart and I’m her maid of honor trying to help out thank you (add to that the stress of, ‘Oh, so how’s your romance life going?’ when you’re not out to one side of the family because they’re Catholic and you don’t want to cause a rift between your dad and his siblings…I love my sister, but her wedding was just a heck of a balancing act).

    @M_turnstyles

    I feel like Anna can’t say anything on here without getting jumped on. Would any of you be this mean in real life or are you using the Internet’s anonmyity to be jerks? I can’t wait to read all your perfect social justice blogs on shameless self promotion Sunday.

    I’m too lazy to go back and check if it’s you every time or different people, but this is the argument brought up in defense of Anna’s posts in just about everything she’s written on here (I’m assuming by friends of hers because I remember not really recognizing the names), and I’m getting really tired of seeing it.

    There are trolls and asshats who go online just to be mean to other people. They purposely stir up controversy and usually use ad hominems. People on this blog have generally given good reasons and explained their points of view (numerous times in a single thread, often past the point of what I’d have the energy for). If you and the others who are making these posts cannot tell the difference between honest criticism that might help and trolling, you’re going to have a really hard time improving yourself.

  35. Natalia
    Natalia July 15, 2012 at 6:50 am |

    There is a *profound* lack of understanding between the generations right now. There are people who keep messaging me – they went to school decades ago, “worked hard and paid those loans off” and now have no idea what “lazy people” like me are complaining about when they say that student debt has become a disaster, jobs are scarce, and young people today are kinda fucked right now lest they have a nice trust fund. And not even steady employment will save some of us from falling down a financial black hole. I’ve been very lucky to have been employed these last few years – my credit rating is still fucked.

    Just last month, someone I used to know from my hometown wrote to tell me that she’s pretty sure that her ex killed himself. It was an overdose of some kind, it was ruled accidental, or so his parents said, but she’s pretty sure it was no accident. He had huge student loans he was unable to pay back and had been underemployed and depressed for a while.

  36. Codi Johnson
    Codi Johnson July 15, 2012 at 8:24 am |

    Here’s something that older people should do when younger people are writing/talking about how it is for them: shut the hell up.

    We don’t really care if you think all your criticism is ‘constructive’ or not. Fact is, when you were our age, you didn’t like that older generation patronizing tone either. You’d think you would have remembered that, but apparently, memory is the first loss when you age.

    But way to take something about someone else and make it all about you.

  37. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date July 15, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    And, while there haven’t been too many articles talking about the lazy boomers who are retiring early (out of necessity) or those unemployed lazy Gen X-ers,

    There aren’t now, but there sure were when the Gen X-ers (whom I am one of) were infantile and lazy recent grads who should just get a job already. And I’m pretty sure that the general cultural characterization of Boomers of Vietnam War draft age did not include hard work and assumption of adult responsibilities. I suspect that the idea of the younger generation going to the dogs is inherent in any culture with a concept of generations.

    Which is not to say that the Millennials have it easy.

  38. Kathy
    Kathy July 15, 2012 at 9:58 am |

    If you look at unemployment rates by generational cohort, the recession is hitting Yers harder than other generational groups and it’s hitting them harder than any group was in recent times. I’m an early Xer and it was pretty terrible graduating into the Bush (Bush, not Shrub) recession so I understand both Yers situation and the notion that they aren’t the first generation to have issues, but we Xers didn’t have unemployment rates anything like today’s 25% youth unemployment and while our debt load was substantial, it was significantly more manageable than today’s.

  39. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 15, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    @Shoshie:

    And, while there haven’t been too many articles talking about the lazy boomers who are retiring early (out of necessity) or those unemployed lazy Gen X-ers, it seems like I keep reading and hearing people talk about the infantile and lazy recent grads who should just get a job already.

    We are the original slacker-generation. Graduating into post-Thatcherite Britain was no picnic, with interest rates at 16% after the greatest housing bubble ever. Things did get better for the Gen-Xers but it felt pretty apocalyptic, with at least one “For Sale” sign outside nearly every house. Being berated by “The Greatest Generation” felt pretty unfair, and we should keep that in mind when lecturing the Millennials.

    @macavity and @jadey: still looking for your comments, but no modly reprieve it seems.

  40. bleh
    bleh July 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    When I graduated from college there was -13% growth rate. Underemployment was expected. I never made a middle class wage until after I earned a PhD. This is not the first downturn.

  41. Shoshie
    Shoshie July 15, 2012 at 11:11 am |

    There aren’t now, but there sure were when the Gen X-ers (whom I am one of) were infantile and lazy recent grads who should just get a job already.

    …so you can understand why Gen Yers don’t particularly appreciate being told to just get a goddamn job when unemployment for our cohort is through the roof? It’s not really social justice to perpetuate some inane hazing ritual.

    Being berated by “The Greatest Generation” felt pretty unfair, and we should keep that in mind when lecturing the Millennials.

    I think that would be particularly helpful in these conversations. :)

    I should also mention, for the sake of clarity, that I’ve been safely cocooned in academia since I graduated in 2004, but I am terrified of entering the job market in a dying field (in the US). “The US needs more chemists!” being the lie that I was fed.

  42. ofneverwherelse
    ofneverwherelse July 15, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    This is the first of Anna’s posts I have read, so I don’t really know what is going on with the back and forth. This post could definitely do a better job talking about the shared circumstances that all people are facing in this economic situation. I think that commonality really is what people need to realize more than anything before change can be realized.

    I don’t see pointing out the specific problems one segment of people experiencing hardship as problematic though. Pieces explaining the specific challenges of many different segments of the population would be something I would like to read. First-hand experiences are important.

    I think big-picture-wise the problems faced by other segments of society are taken more seriously than those of the millennials and this piece may have been attempting to get at that trivialization as divisive.

    Economic exploitation is not new, now is not the worst it has ever been, but it is bad now. And importantly, it is different than it was before. One of those differences is student loans, which do disproportionately hurt the youngest segment of the adult population. There is enough mess for everyone to share, and all of those stories are valid. I don’t think competition over who has the most right to complain is the way to go on this.

  43. Partial Human
    Partial Human July 15, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    @BBB – you read my mind. Whole towns laid off, power cuts to save money, empty bellies, the Cold War looming black and certain, one flick of the switch between us and Threads.

    School playgrounds lined with daddies at hometime, birthdays and Christmas with presents you knew had belonged to the girl down the street, they still had her name scrawled in them.

    Proudly wearing new clothes to school, then having the shit kicked out of you because Jennifer’s mother had dropped them off at the Barnardo’s shop only last week. Look, there’s the stain on the hem from where she dropped her Ribena. Sideways glances from kids who were just glad it was you and not them.

    Even the FM radio stations had songs that either begged “Don’t Give Up” or warning us that we’d all be vapourised at any minute, “It’s over, it’s over…”

    Dragged ourselves out of the dirt and then it happened again, and now again. This region never recovered from the 80s. The author’s claims of being born into recession are scream-inducing. I’m not going to bloody cry over America, when this shit has been going on worldwide since Reagan, but their backs were turned.

    When we’ve had towns full of broken men and worn-out women since the 70s. Towns full of children who’ve never had working parents or grandparents, and now that the throat-cutting bastards are back in power they’re blaming the broken people for their cracks. Introducing a new generation of kids to crying daddies, to mummies who get thinner as they ration their own food, to ignored, unopened letters piling up. Being hushed and hidden when there’s a knock at the door.

    But no, we’ve never known hardship. We have no advice about recession.

  44. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl July 15, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    There aren’t now, but there sure were when the Gen X-ers (whom I am one of) were infantile and lazy recent grads who should just get a job already. And I’m pretty sure that the general cultural characterization of Boomers of Vietnam War draft age did not include hard work and assumption of adult responsibilities. I suspect that the idea of the younger generation going to the dogs is inherent in any culture with a concept of generations.

    Which is not to say that the Millennials have it easy.

    QFT

    Look, I’m not going to argue with the premise that Millenials have it rough these days because it’s true that they do. But having also been one of those Xers who had to read and listen to Greatest Generationers and Boomers carry on about how we were such overentitled slackers who had no idea about hard work and the value of a dollar I chafe at Anna’s apparent myopia in this latest blog of hers.

    Generational warfare is old hat here in the U.S. Every older generation seems to get a kick out of complaining about how the younger ones are whippersnappers who have no respect and need to get off of their lawn as they move into middle age and beyond. Much of this also ties directly into class warfare whereby the wealthier and older become more out of touch with and thus unable to identify with those who are younger and struggling.

  45. Beatrice
    Beatrice July 15, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    But having also been one of those Xers who had to read and listen to Greatest Generationers and Boomers carry on about how we were such overentitled slackers who had no idea about hard work and the value of a dollar I chafe at Anna’s apparent myopia in this latest blog of hers.

    Xers were treated unfairly by the Boomers so they are going to do the same to the Millenials now? If you all remember so well how much shit you got about being slackers and how unfair it was, maybe you should take it as a lesson and not repeat the same mistake with the younger generation.

  46. Partial Human
    Partial Human July 15, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Oh, and when I say we haven’t recovered from thirty-odd years ago, the reason is because we’re still affected by the fucking war.

    There’s still a bombed out house around the corner. My dad is very obviously the product of rationing, mentally and physically. His entire home town is ugly 60s concrete, having been bombed to dust.

    We’ll carry on here as we always have, alone as a region, relying on each other.

  47. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf July 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |

    This is meant to be helpful, not judgmental.

    Living at home and being a home health aide seems a viable alternative to drug abuse and suicide, doesn’t it?Here is where the jobs are:

    How to Become a Home Health or Personal Care Aide

    There are no formal education requirements for home health and personal care aides. Home health aides working in certified home health or hospice agencies must get formal training and pass a standardized test.

    The median annual wage of home health aides was $20,560 in May 2010. The median annual wage of personal care aides was $19,640 in May 2010.

    Employment of home health aides is expected to grow by 69 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of personal care aides is expected to grow by 70 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

  48. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf July 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    Spend six months to a year as a home health aide and then become a union organizer advocating for some of the most exploited, yet most essential. people in the US. Changing adult diapers is good for the soul as well as the political consciousness.

  49. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus July 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    One thing that seems pretty clear to me from this thread is that although different generations are experiencing difficult economic times in different ways – and I think the resulting complaints are all legitimate – these different experiences are the result of the same longer-term trends.

  50. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl July 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    Xers were treated unfairly by the Boomers so they are going to do the same to the Millenials now? If you all remember so well how much shit you got about being slackers and how unfair it was, maybe you should take it as a lesson and not repeat the same mistake with the younger generation.

    That’s not at all what I said in my comment.

    Those in political power and in punditry land who are complaining about and dumping on the Millenials are Boomers and Greatest Generationers, still. Ross Douthat notwithstanding, mostly because he wishes he was a Greatest Generationer and is very indignant about it. I haven’t seen any Xers jumping on the Millenials are the cause of all bad and lazy things bandwagon, and I’m of the impression that all of the complaining about Millenials is just the latest version of the can you believe kids these days canard that gets trotted out by those oldest two generations.

    New target, same perpetrators. Second verse, same as the first.

  51. karak
    karak July 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    I *am* ageist. I see my Boomer aunts and uncles telling me to settle down and take a job, when they did the same with zero debt and high school degree or a community college associates.

    I see my generation being blamed for being “spoiled” and “selfish” because we’re angry that we did exactly as we were told and got nothing. College has zero value, entry-level jobs demand college but don’t pay enough to cover an apartment, a car, and my loans. No-one offers insurance anymore and there is no way out for us.

    We’re told that demanding full-time work with benefits and livable wages is ridiculous, then smugly mocked for living with our parents and being unemployed. We’re sneered at for thinking our college education makes us “better” but also the ones who didn’t go to college are cheerfully pointed out as losers. We’re told we should get a job whatever the cost, and when we trudge off to McDonalds it’s almost gleeful sense of point-and-look. If someone has roadmap for what I’m supposed to be doing, here, I’d like it.

    The last generation that had it a quarter as hard would be the “Great Generation”, the parents of the Boomers who matured either in wartime or in the eerie social silence of the 50s.

    @Cassandra: can’t tell if you’re a spammer, but I did do that job, and it was painful work, uninsured, not enough to pay my bills, and ultimately the cutbacks in my program eliminated my position.

  52. Nobody
    Nobody July 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    GenX-er here. I have no problem admitting that the Millennials are being screwed harder than we were.

    Sure, we graduated into the Bush I recession, but we weren’t buried under massive amounts of non-dischargeable debt that would haunt us for basically our entire working lives. The student loan industry hadn’t yet become the massive scam that it is today.

    Also, many routs into a stable middle class-ish existence that were still around when we graduated have since been closed off. Law school, anyone?

    Also, I agree with Lolagirl @ 50. Those trolling articles in the NYT – “These kids today are so irresponsible. Why aren’t they settled down in stable white collar jobs and owning homes like we did at their age?” – are all written by boomers.

  53. librarygoose
    librarygoose July 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

    I was bothered by the whole “lazy, entitled, participation-medal” thing…then I read a comment that made it all better. Some random person on the internet called Millennials, “…a bunch of hippocrates.” BOOM. Done caring what this douche or anyone else had to complain about.

  54. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus July 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |

    GenX-er here. I have no problem admitting that the Millennials are being screwed harder than we were.

    Sure, we graduated into the Bush I recession, but we weren’t buried under massive amounts of non-dischargeable debt that would haunt us for basically our entire working lives. The student loan industry hadn’t yet become the massive scam that it is today.

    I don’t know if it’s so much a question of who’s getting screwed harder, but rather the form in which that screwing takes place. Obviously, different people are going to experience hard economic times in different ways when they’re in different stages of their lives. So someone who just graduated is facing a more difficult entry into the job market than I did at the same age – and it was pretty shitty then, too.

    But what’s happening to a lot of my fellow Gen-Xers is stark – a massive loss of whatever wealth they managed to gain over the past couple of decades, at a time in their lives when they are expected to be at their most “productive”. Point being, the future right now doesn’t bode well for most folks who are outside the wealthiest classes in our society and there’s potential for a productive conversation about that to reach across generations. I also think that requires an acknowledgement of the legitimacy of someone’s lived experience and that the “lazy kids” trope has to go. It was baloney when I heard it years ago and it’s baloney now.

  55. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

    @ BBBShrewHarpy

    My comment has been released – it’s at 18 now.

  56. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

    The secret of the millennial generation is that we’re living through a depression after growing up in a boom. Suddenly it all seems so much worse because we don’t remember anything other than the Clinton years. We’ve known nothing but plenty, and now that we have to work we’re indignant and appalled. Thats why Occupy fails, because its all the entitlement, lack of focus, myopia, me-first bullshit, and ultimate spinelessness that are the hallmarks of our generation. We suck and we aren’t yet willing to do better.

    FULL. OF. SHIT.

    If there’s anything worse than older generations laying this shit on us, it’s goddamned people in this same generation without an ounce of class consciousness. FUCK YOU. You are both factually incorrect and a raging asshole.

  57. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |

    @BBShrewHarpy,

    My comments are out of mod too.

    Shoshie,

    …so you can understand why Gen Yers don’t particularly appreciate being told to just get a goddamn job when unemployment for our cohort is through the roof? It’s not really social justice to perpetuate some inane hazing ritual.

    I love you. And THIS.

  58. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    @ Miss S at comment 22

    I’m so glad that you are still with us and that you’ve reached out for help.

    This is the thing that so many of the haters don’t seem to understand – this crisis isn’t just about financial stability, there’s an enormous impact on psychological well-being, which, as the OP rightly pointed out, is getting expressed in suicide and addictions and other mental health concerns, all of which are ultimately *more* expensive for our countries.

  59. librarygoose
    librarygoose July 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    Proudly wearing new clothes to school, then having the shit kicked out of you because Jennifer’s mother had dropped them off at the Barnardo’s shop only last week.

    This sucks, I can relate. (not wholly and absolutely, obviously) I was lucky that no one ever recognized their clothes as my resale clothes, although I got beat up for the homemade shoelaces and the coat they saw the crossing guard give me. I loved the laces, my mom worked hard on them and they were pretty, but for some reason handmade laces in my shitty shoes put a huge ass target on my back.

  60. bumblebee fooschnikens
    bumblebee fooschnikens July 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    As a Gen-Xer who got her first real, proper job at 39, let me call the whaaambulance for you.

    I’m pretty sure the myth that a university education was a good investment was debunked when I was your age, about nearly 20 years ago.

    What’s that definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    At least when I got my multiple degrees, they were reasonably cheap and I didn’t have to go into much (if any) debt for them. The idea now that borrowing $100k for what everybody knows is a worthless piece of paper is somehow a good idea is beyond baffling to me.

  61. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf July 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    @karak Why the hell would you assume I was a spammer.? I posted a link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    You write:
    I did do that job, and it was painful work, uninsured, not enough to pay my bills, and ultimately the cutbacks in my program eliminated my position.

    You accurately describe how home health aides are exploited.. But it is dignified work. I spent most of the fall at OWS and made that suggestion to people at OWS, and they did get a stopgap job.

    The horrifying reality is that the only fast growing job sectors is in the badly paid service sector.

    I took care of my mom 24/7 and was a nanny to my grandson for 2 years. Most of the people I associated with were nannies and home health aides. Almost all were women of color from around the world. Most were horribly exploited.

    If the milennials could identify with and work with the truly oppressed members of US society, things could change.

  62. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf July 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    My daughters graduated from college in 1995, 1997, 2000, and 2004. My 2004 graduate and almost all her friends all returned home for at least a year or two and are far more burdened with college loans than their older siblings. Since then I agree that things have steadily been getting worse, to the point where paying for college and incurring dreadful loans seems a dubious investment.

    Living at home does not seem like a tragedy to me. My parents, aunts, and uncles lived at home until they were married and sometimes after that if there was room in the parental home. I live on Long Island, and it insane has many big houses with empty rooms there are. Generations sharing a home has advantages as well as disadvantages.

    Please don’t vent on me justifiable anger at boomers. I do not identify with boomers. I have struggle with manic depression for the last 30 years and have always found the job market extremely hostile to anyone with mental illness.

  63. Tony
    Tony July 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    As a follow up to Cassandra’s comment #47, I’m just going to throw this out there. I work in software development & engineering. My degree is in economics and political science, some of the people I work with don’t even have a college degree. Another one is a former musician, another one is a former law school dropout, another one is a former art major. The point being, it’s a self-taught field with few real barriers to entry, plenty of decent paying jobs.

    The median annual wage of applications software developers was $87,790 in May 2010. The median annual wage of systems software developers was $94,180 in May 2010.

    Employment of software developers is projected to grow 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The main reason for the rapid growth is a large increase in the demand for computer software.

    The thing is, on my floor of some 20 to 30 engineers all but two or three of them are women. The few women who are around tend to do documentation, asset management, and other stuff that not really core engineering. (The exception is the head of our department. ) From position to position, company to company in this industry, I’ve seen the same pattern. It’s not just male-dominated. It’s almost exclusively male. Women are really missing out on a high paying field since not enough girls seem interested in software development / engineering.

  64. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    I’m 27 years old and USian. I’ve never worked at one job for more than a year, never made more than $10.50 an hour. I have a Bachelor’s degree. There are many reasons for my economic marginalization, but ageism and discrimination against young adults are among them.

    Unemployment is currently much higher for young adults than it is for the general population. And as far as I know, it’s been the case for a long time that unemployment has been higher for young adults, who also suffer from less income and less overall wealth. Young adults tend to be an economically marginalized group under the dynamics of modern capitalism–like women, like people of color, like people with disabilities, like people with “lower” educational credentials, like transgender people, and like many other oppressed groups.

    Yes, it’s unfair what’s happening to recent college graduate Millennials in the United States (and in other “developed” countries where the situation is similar). We were sold a bill of goods. Many of us were told growing up that we could be whatever we wanted to be in life. If we worked hard, played nice, and believed in ourselves (and went to college) we’d be guaranteed a stable middle class life that was comfortable and fulfilling.

    But what I, at least, wasn’t told was that capitalism is in a constant state of crisis. I wasn’t told about how the wealth of the capitalist class and middle classes in “developed” countries had been propped up by centuries of colonialism and racism that had immiserated the rest of the world’s people. I wasn’t told about how the rich had fought back against the modest progressive gains of the 20th century, and now, in their quest for the next frontier of profits, had decided to crush organized labor, privatize the welfare state, and dismantle the Western middle class.

    What I wasn’t told was that like many people of my generation and class background, I would fall out of this middle class, and that this would be unfair, and that for 99% of the Earth’s inhabitants capitalism had always been unfair.

    Millennials are “lazy” in much the same way that the unemployed are “lazy,” poor people are “lazy,” people of color are “lazy,” and people with disabilities are “lazy.” Those with privilege will always create contorted, half-baked cover stories to justify their own unfair advantages over others. FILL IN THE BLANK oppressed group is lazy, selfish, whiny, greedy, spoiled, coddled, etc.

    I wonder what percent of the anti-Millenial editorialists themselves own iPhones.

  65. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    Women are really missing out on a high paying field since not enough girls seem interested in software development / engineering.

    More women are interested in software development and engineering than you suppose, but these fields are made hostile and unwelcoming to a great number of them. So thanks for the “insight”.

    Here’s the problem with the job advice on this thread, which I think your particular comment encapsulates very well: It’s re-framing the problem from a systemic one into an individual one. It’s ignoring the reasons *why* the current economic situation is so bad and getting worse for some people rather than others, just like it’s ignoring *why* women aren’t as prevalent in currently male-dominated fields.

    I have job advice. I stumbled into a field where there’s more demand for work than there are qualified practitioners and the positions are well-paid. And I could share that advice.* But it wouldn’t change any of the underlying problems. It wouldn’t work toward implementing better, more far-sighted policies.

    Too many people who succeed in an unjust system are content to assume that because they made it, that must mean the system isn’t so bad. I can attribute my personal successes to three things: hard work, luck, and privilege. The hard work I’ll own – I did that, but so have a lot of people. The luck I can’t complain about but can’t take credit for either – I wish luck didn’t play such a large role, but there it is – I got seriously lucky. But privilege? The racial and economic-based advantages that made it easier for me to get through school and hold on while waiting for the luck and hard work to come through? That shit must change. And that doesn’t come a job at a time – that comes with structural change.

    I am relieved that I can get decently paid for my skills and experiences, but I resent that other people in my cohort can’t and that we as a generation will be struggling for decades to come because of it. And while I think one of the things we can change is more honestly communicating to job-seekers and people starting out in education realistic expectations rather than fanciful, classist clap-trap, honestly even that doesn’t help much when the field that five years ago was being projected to take off and provide masses of high-paying jobs evaporates due to unforeseen circumstances just as you finally do graduate with your hard-earned skills.

    The problem with how we’ve handled capitalism is that we have this fairy-tale of sustainable boundless growth with the idea that hard work and gumption will carry us through any rough patches, so when times are good we, collectively, bet on them getting better and when times are bad, there is nothing reasonable in place to help people out except platitudes and short-term thinking. The truth is, lots of people are making do, finding short-term work, being creative with their resources, and figuring out where the jobs are. But it’s not a way to live. It’s not a way to make a decent society.

    It’s cliched, but I love it: Keep your coins – we want change.

    *If anyone is wondering, if you are doing a social science program of any kind and are disheartened by the academic job prospects, then right now there’s a big call for applied field research in both the public and private sectors of most developed countries, stuff like policy and program development and evaluation. Look for programs and courses with “applied” in them and get field experience and it can give you more options than the increasingly elusive tenure-track options.

  66. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

    Tony and Cassandra. . .our economic problem is not an individual problem. . .it’s a collective problem. Regardless of how many individual posters read your comments and run out and become home health aides or software engineers. . .it’s not going to reduce the overall unemployment rate by one point. It’s not going to reduce income inequality in the slightest. It’s not going to reduce the rates of malnutrition or discrimination or psychological stress or substandard health care. I have been underemployed most of my life, and I have a plan to try to better my individual situation based off an assessment of my own skills, interests, and resources (not based off of the unsolicited advice of random strangers on blog threads, believe it or not). But that’s not what I really care about.

    What I really care about is an end to poverty. What I really care about is an end to people having unfair advantages based off their skin color, sex, and other flukes of their circumstances. What I really care about is an end to capitalism. I’m not going to be satisfied if I get mine and millions of others are still miserable.

  67. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |

    In mod again, but what Becca said.

  68. EG
    EG July 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    And as for the pliiiiiiight of the middle-aged people, I have five words: chickens coming home to roost.

    I guess it’s a good thing that all the middle-aged people who’ve lost hope for retirement are rich and white with great access to the levers of power, rather than being people with about as much input into economic policy as you’ll have in thirty years. Because depressions never hit the already-disempowered.

  69. DonnaL
    DonnaL July 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

    Macavity, it isn’t like you to be such an asshole.

  70. sizzle
    sizzle July 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    I just feel bad for all my fellow Millennials who know such asshole Boomers. My parents have been beyond understanding about how bad it is out there. They tell me it is so much worse than it was when they were my age. Again, mostly because of the crushing student loan debt and because they assumed a college degree meant something. It does. Its what a high school diploma was 40 years ago.

  71. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

    I guess it’s a good thing that all the middle-aged people who’ve lost hope for retirement are rich and white with great access to the levers of power, rather than being people with about as much input into economic policy as you’ll have in thirty years. Because depressions never hit the already-disempowered.

    EG, don’t put words in my mouth. I was speaking specifically to BBB’s post, which I found incredibly condescending for implying exactly those things that Anna’s post tried to push back against: that millennials are lazy little brats who don’t give a shit about anything but their own problems. From a millennial’s perspective, though, a large chunk of those problems are, in fact, caused by economic decisions made by the currently middle-aged and retirement-aged. I mean…from an outsider’s perspective, the US entered into war after cripplingly expensive war in the last decade (at the loud cheering of a significant section of the population, who were statistically likely to be older). It instituted ever more batshit cutbacks to its safety nets (courtesy a party that is statistically far better supported by older people). It recently passed a whole whack of anti-woman, anti-uterus-bearer, anti-victim laws at the urging of a party that, again, is overwhelmingly occupied by the old and the religious. On the other hand, the recent tiny economic upswing, and the amendments to your healthcare system that are in fact aimed at (however halfassedly) helping those same older, disempowered people seems to have been championed essentially by a president who was brought to power by the group that’s currently late-20s to early-40s. *shrugs* Maybe I’m not seeing many subtleties that a domestic USian would, and I’d appreciate correction if anyone has the time/inclination, but from this perspective it seems fairly clear who’s been fucking up and who’s trying, if ham-handedly, to fix it.

    That said, you have a valid point that not everyone – in fact, most people – don’t have nearly enough say. The people responsible for the fuckery above are a small minority, and I should have acknowledged that.

  72. Mxe354
    Mxe354 July 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    The secret of the millennial generation is that we’re living through a depression after growing up in a boom. Suddenly it all seems so much worse because we don’t remember anything other than the Clinton years. We’ve known nothing but plenty, and now that we have to work we’re indignant and appalled. Thats why Occupy fails, because its all the entitlement, lack of focus, myopia, me-first bullshit, and ultimate spinelessness that are the hallmarks of our generation. We suck and we aren’t yet willing to do better.

    Wow, I can’t believe you’re assuming that it’s just a matter of will, hard work, perspective, etc. If their problems were due to just those things they probably wouldn’t be pissed off. But guess what? There are numerous things out of control that are screwing over everyone. Casting aside the plight of the millennial generation does nothing more than make you sound like an insensitive asshole.

  73. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date July 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    I’m not going to be satisfied if I get mine and millions of others are still miserable.

    This is true for me as well, but it is also true that I will be happier (or less unhappy) if I get mine and millions of others are still miserable than if I don’t get mine and millions of others are still miserable. So I think that it’s an individual problem AND a collective problem.

    (Speaking of which — Tony, I wonder if you have ever asked your colleagues who are women for their explanations of why, given the high pay of software engineers, so few software engineers are women.)

  74. EG
    EG July 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    how can you demand more when you are told that you should be grateful for anything and know that you are the last ones hired and the first ones fired?

    This is what workers have been told over and over again since industrialization. And as for last ones hired and first ones fired…that’s what women workers and non-white workers have had to cope with. The plight is awful–I have friends and family coping with it right now–but there’s nothing new about it.

  75. DonnaL
    DonnaL July 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    Sorry, Macavity, you didn’t really deserve that. I’m just getting tired of all the Baby Boomer bashing going on here. It’s about as ridiculous as it was back when some people of my generation were blaming everyone over 30 for the Vietnam War.

  76. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

    Macavity, it isn’t like you to be such an asshole.

    I’m sorry. I posted a comment above where I tried to explain my perspective (I’m talking about a country in which I don’t live, after all, and I realise I probably don’t know as much as USians with lived experience). That said, I came up in a society where the abuse of children isn’t just condoned, it’s encouraged, where everyone knows someone who committed suicide before 13 expressly because of poor grades, where sexual abuse is a “thing that didn’t happen until Hollywood movies” despite the fact that I don’t know a single middle-aged man or woman (who’s close enough to confide in me) who isn’t a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, where children study 12 hours a day at the age of eight and fuck you if you don’t do well enough at the end of it. And, at the end of those fucking awful childhoods, people my age stepped out into the job market, with the degrees they’d told us we HAD to have (which is probably why I put off getting mine for about six years, I’m perverse like that), only to be told that science-and-technology jobs didn’t exist anymore, would you like to work minimum wage, that liberal-arts jobs were tanking because of the “ease” of a degree, would you like to work minimum wage, that teaching is a shame and a waste of a career, would you like to work minimum wage. And then laughed at and shamed by our parents’ generation, because THEY got jobs with their degrees (in a time when only 20% of the population had one), and told that we must be lazy little shits, and that the new generation is made of entitled brats. Even though we statistically volunteer more, give more to charity, are more involved in human rights causes and are more likely to be politically active.

    So yeah, I read BBB’s comment, and it was the sixty-seven-thousandth verse, same as the first. “Why won’t you listen to meeeeeeee? I have nothing positive to say to you, of course, except to tut about your entitled selfish silly attitudes, but my advice is clearly rainbows and unicorn farts and even such a mild statement as that you don’t feel like my advice is from a different time is incredibly offensive and ageist.” Yeah, we heard our parents’ advice, believe me. We heard everyone’s advice. If we had a little less advice and a little more goddamn support, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  77. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    D: Donna, I tried to apologise and explain where my own hot-button ragefroth trigger is in this thread, but it went into mod. tl;dr sorry, just venting my rage-at-all-the-world in this thread and feeling like the ageism really does run both ways here.

  78. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

    If the milennials could identify with and work with the truly oppressed members of US society, things could change.

    Excuse the fuck out of me, but I guess I was misinformed about how every goddamned person born from the mid-eighties through the nineties is a middle-class, white, heterosexual, fully-abled cis man.

    OH WAIT.

    Intersectionality, please, remember it. None of these generational groups is homogeneous. Not all boomers are privileged assholes, not all millennials are wealthy and spoiled. This is not the first generation that has had it hard (although, yes, we have had it hard) and it probably won’t be last, which is the damn problem.

    We need to get past mass blaming, but we need to do it without sweeping aside either A) that truth that things right now genuinely *are* fucked up, but it isn’t because this generation is just too lazy, or B) the truth that our existing economic systems *are* designed to create these problems, not fix them, but it isn’t because previous generations were just too selfish.

    And it’s not going to be fixed by the further exploitation of labour.

  79. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    @macavity:

    So yeah, I read BBB’s comment, and it was the sixty-seven-thousandth verse, same as the first. “Why won’t you listen to meeeeeeee? I have nothing positive to say to you, of course, except to tut about your entitled selfish silly attitudes, but my advice is clearly rainbows and unicorn farts and even such a mild statement as that you don’t feel like my advice is from a different time is incredibly offensive and ageist.”

    I don’t believe I “tutted about your entitled, selfish, silly attitudes” in my initial or subsequent posts, nor do I feel that way. I was very irritated by Ms. Miller’s original post (which since appears to have changed), but I think I agree with your assessment that I was being condescending to her in asking her to look outside herself and learn. I apologize for that. I do feel she was being myopic (which is a much better word than the ageism of which I accused her) in assuming we (older people) couldn’t understand because we haven’t been there. Much of this is not new, as others have also pointed out.

    I wasn’t planning on offering tropes such as those listed by @jadey (I’m glad to say I have never uttered any of those things). In fact it is my ignorance of the fact that blame is being attributed to millennials for their inability to rise above the stagnant economic horror that caused me to be careless with words. I did feel hurt by Ms. Miller’s post. Despite being at least temporarily on our feet economically, some of us care deeply about social justice and the plight of others, whether they are of our generation or not. I think “advice” is probably the wrong word for what we have to offer, solidarity is much better and might actually be useful.

    I have a tonne more to say in response to Jadey’s post, but it will have to wait.

  80. Shoshie
    Shoshie July 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    Jadey, can I just say that you are awesome and I agree with everything that you’re saying?

  81. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    We need to get past mass blaming, but we need to do it without sweeping aside either A) that truth that things right now genuinely *are* fucked up, but it isn’t because this generation is just too lazy, or B) the truth that our existing economic systems *are* designed to create these problems, not fix them, but it isn’t because previous generations were just too selfish.

    Jadey, thank you. I’ve been reacting out of a deep well of anger and bitterness in this thread (mostly in reaction to the “not taking advice=ageism” bullshit that I’ve had chucked at me all my life), and this statement really got through to me and made me think.

  82. bleh
    bleh July 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    Boomers had the economic advantages of rising home prices, guaranteed social security, and a growing economy. Many of them, including my own parents, believe that their success is based solely on hard work rather than this economic luck. Blind, yes. However, I have never heard a boomer (or an X-er) complain about the millennials in the ways that those young people complain about the older generations (like this post). Of course, I have heard youngsters themselves describe the meme about their generation’s narcissism, but have not heard it from older people.

    To suggest that older generations do not know economic insecurity is to forget that most of them have lived long enough to see many upturns and downturns, even those lucky boomers. I mentioned the Bush I negative growth rate earlier. Today’s economy is different, to be sure, and possibly worse in the student debt category (I have no real data on that), but posts like this one seem to reinforce, rather than undercut, the meme of the millennials as super special snowflakes.

    Finally, many posters have pointed out that this is more a class problem rather than a generational one. Quite a few boomers scratched their way into the middle class, but the superrich have made that less and less possible for the working class, and now middle class people are being pushed back into the working class or into abject poverty. Blaming the lucky ones, rather than the people who create the structures which prevent your luck seems fruitless.

  83. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    Macavity. . .since you invited people to point out where they might differ from you, especially USians, I’ll say I have a couple problems with your analysis. First of all, things are fucked up now, but I don’t think they are necessarily more fucked up than at many other times in history. Capitalism requires continually recurring economic crises. So I think it misses the point to blame older people in a general sense for the current economic crisis. If anyone bears responsibility, it’s the ruling class in big business and government, which has consistently favored policies that have led to these hardships. Not just, say, Baby Boomer capitalists and politicians today, but capitalists and politicians of all generations going back 250 years. And to say that currently middle age or retirement age people are somehow collectively responsible is to erase how most of them have very little political power and are marginalized due to their class, race, gender, sexuality or any combination of these and other factors. Just because people have been voting or putting bumper stickers on their cars for 30 years doesn’t mean they have any real political power.

  84. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus July 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

    Finally, many posters have pointed out that this is more a class problem rather than a generational one.

    I don’t think this can be emphasized enough. The same economic forces that are really pressuring people coming out of college now are the same ones that have been hammering people (especially those without college educations) in various communities in the United States and across the world for 30+ years. But I think it’s really coming to a head now, and that’s one reason why the poor job prospects for younger people have been in the spotlight lately.

  85. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    @Becca,

    That’s a more nuanced analysis, for sure, and thanks for takign the time to answer me. I forget, sometimes, how having a relatively longer self-determined history can affect national systems.

    @BBB,

    I certainly don’t have any disagreement with what you posted in that last comment to me. I was reacting out of anger, too, and I’m sorry I used strong language with you. And yeah, the division of generations is one of the easiest ways for the financial Powers That Be to fuck with that solidarity, so point taken!

    (FTR, I thought Anna’s post did in fact come off as myopic in that it didn’t take greater cross-generational patterns into account, but I read it more as a “this is what’s going on with my particular group, so lay off us” than the way you did, in which case her discussing other generations’ issues would be a bit…I dunno, off-topic at best.)

  86. Jadey
    Jadey July 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

    Jadey, thank you. I’ve been reacting out of a deep well of anger and bitterness in this thread (mostly in reaction to the “not taking advice=ageism” bullshit that I’ve had chucked at me all my life), and this statement really got through to me and made me think.

    I hear you – I have a lot of rage on this too, especially because every time I look at a major newspaper in my country, there’s some article clearly explaining how bad things are in the job market right now and 1000+ comments of victim-blaming, pull-up-your-bootstraps-privileged bullshit (always some from young people, but the majority from self-identified boomers). What really gets to me is the people who say that there is no problem. That it’s all in our heads because we’re just too lazy and entitled.

    And then there are the people who claim that there is no blaming and shaming, like so:

    However, I have never heard a boomer (or an X-er) complain about the millennials in the ways that those young people complain about the older generations (like this post). Of course, I have heard youngsters themselves describe the meme about their generation’s narcissism, but have not heard it from older people.

    Oh, you’ve never seen it happen? Well, I guess that trumps everything! I’ll just wipe the last few years’ worth of memories from my brain as they surely must be faulty.

    To suggest that older generations do not know economic insecurity is to forget that most of them have lived long enough to see many upturns and downturns, even those lucky boomers. I mentioned the Bush I negative growth rate earlier. Today’s economy is different, to be sure, and possibly worse in the student debt category (I have no real data on that)

    You are too woefully under-informed and myopic for words. There’s hard data all over the place about the economic situation today compared to recent generations. I’ve linked things on this very thread. You could google more in a minute. (And, by the way, no one said that people in other generations *haven’t* struggled, but, yeah, the overall market situation is worse now then when the boomers entered the workforce.) But go on with your happy ignorance – being part of the problem is always more fun, innit?

    , but posts like this one seem to reinforce, rather than undercut, the meme of the millennials as super special snowflakes.

    Oh wait, I think I just found someone complaining about millennials for causing our own problems by just being too damned entitled. Now who was just telling me they’ve never seen this happen and that it’s just us Gen-Y’s perpetuating this stereotype about ourselves? I sure have something to show them.

    Look, of course this is a class thing. Re-read my comments – I’ve been saying that from word one. Intersectionality, remember? Which is why it’s so incredibly frustrating for people to use the impossible idea of an entire generation of spoiled rich privileged babies to dismiss the legitimate structural problems that we are trying to point out, goddamnit!

  87. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

    No problem macavity! And yeah, I often also need to remind myself/be reminded how present events are connected to broader, longstanding patterns in history. It can be easy for me to get distracted by the seemingly senseless chaos of so many events going on in the world today. . .especially when major chunks of the past that might provide perspective on them regularly get ignored by the media.

    Oh, and to you and BBBShrewHarpy, not to be the PC police. . .but myopia is an disability. . .so using the word in a metaphorical, negative way seems dicey to me. Maybe good alternatives would be “insufficiently nuanced”? Or maybe “narrow minded”?

  88. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

    Oh, and to you and BBBShrewHarpy, not to be the PC police. . .but myopia is an disability. . .so using the word in a metaphorical, negative way seems dicey to me.

    Sure, point taken! Lol…I forget sometimes that myopia’s a disability, honestly, even though I’ve had it for ages.

  89. Mike Ballard
    Mike Ballard July 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    Your generational squabbles will leave you powerless in the face of your ruling capitalist class. And that’s the way they want it.

    Productivity is measured by output per worker. Output per worker has increased an average 1.5% a year since the 8 hour day was codified in the early 1940s. Real wages (i.e. adjusted for inflation) are and have been kept below what they were in 1964 in the USA.

    Logically, one might think that rising productivity lifts all boats in a capitalist economy. But the logic of Capital is to drive wages down and increase the rate of profit. Driving wages and working conditions down is much, much easier when the working class is divided. The wage system itself should be your focus, especially as it results in 88% of the wealth 90% of the people produce ending up in the hands of 10% of the people. With wealth goes political power. All ruling classes in history have also been the people who controlled the wealth created by the producing classes.

    The major concern here seems to be with one’s generational identity. The working class divided will always be defeated. Your problems are with the wage system itself and yet you are channeling yourselves into discussions of generational identities. I’d say those identities are self-defeating. Spending time on them is like spinning your wheels when your car is stuck in mud, snow or sand.

  90. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    The major concern here seems to be with one’s generational identity. The working class divided will always be defeated. Your problems are with the wage system itself and yet you are channeling yourselves into discussions of generational identities. I’d say those identities are self-defeating. Spending time on them is like spinning your wheels when your car is stuck in mud, snow or sand.

    Yes, I think that’s what many of us agreed on in the end, though it would have been nice to have some participation from the author of the post, too.

    @Becca: I totally overlooked the use of the word myopia being problematic. Sorry. Urgh.

  91. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

    Sure, point taken! Lol…I forget sometimes that myopia’s a disability, honestly, even though I’ve had it for ages.

    ZOMG internalized ableism! I can relate. Even though I have serious social anxiety, depression, and. . .er. . .Gender Identity Disorder (surely enough combined to count me as “crazy” by most people’s standards), I still regularly, casually use the word “crazy.” Not in Ms. Miller’s shaming, Twitterian, “CRAY” sense, but in the more ostensibly positive manner of “dude, that party was sooo crazy!” I still think that usage is problematic and ableist, however, and I’m trying to unlearn it. Takes time I guess.

    Oh and BBBShrewHarpy, thanks for responding to me also. I appreciate it.

  92. Esti
    Esti July 16, 2012 at 8:39 am |

    FWIW, I read this post shortly after it went up and I don’t see anything different now from what it looked like when it first went up. And in particular, I remember the line BBB suggested was later inserted (“Still, I have a difficult time saying that it is “hard” to be a recent grad—there are so many who are in the same, or worse economic predicaments from all ages, that these conditions are too universally normal to call “hard” for one group more than others.”) was there the first time I read it.

    I know that some people are upset about other things Anna posted, but the criticisms and generational argument on this piece really seem unreasonable to me. This is an article about Anna’s experience as a millenial, in which she specifically says that she knows other generations have had it hard too but that she is talking about her own generation. Jumping on her for not talking more about how Gen X or Gen Y or the Boomers had it hard sounds a lot to me like the dudes who come into a discussion about women being raped to complain that no one is talking about men who are raped.

  93. swagmonkey
    swagmonkey July 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    @BBBShrewHarpy — Forgive me if this point has already been addressed. I read through the first 20 or so comments before posting, and made sure the discussion was still going on towards the end, but 90 was a bit much to wade through all at once.

    In any case, I think there’s a BIG difference between graduating into a huge recession and having it hit later in your career. Yes, people of any age can be affected by a recession, can lose their jobs. However, when you first graduate, your main credential is your degree. You don’t have job experience in your field (yet), and every single job posted requires “at least” 1, 2, 5, (pick a number) years of related job experience. Because older folk (who are, by nature of having been in the workforce longer, better qualified) are now forced to apply for lower, entry-level jobs, the less-qualified folk who are just getting out of college at this time get pushed out and end up unemployed, or working completely out of their field (both of which will be looked at as problematic a few years later when the recession is ending, jobs are available, but we’re now several years out of college without work experience in our fields.) And how do you get that experience, if it’s your FIRST job out of college when you’re starting to see this problem?

    Mid-career folks get bumped from mid-career jobs to entry-level jobs, but they have the experience to find SOMETHING in their field, and that’s an important distinction. Now, clearly we are not the only generation to experience this — folks in the great depression clearly had it worse than we do. Middle aged folks are too young for this, though, and are mostly in between those two crises. This recession is definitely affecting people on the fringes the most, and that’s not an ageist comment.

    Studies have shown that people who graduate during a recession, compared with those who graduate into good economic times, often NEVER fully recover. We’re likely to land substantially behind peers who graduated 5 years before or after us for 10, 15, even 20 years of being in the workforce.

    Now, as a musician, I’m in a field that’s more difficult to survive in than most even in the best of times. I hold 5 very part-time jobs, and am struggling now as 4 of them take a break during the summer. But I can get through it because I know most of my work will return in a few months. Many others are not so lucky.

    I guess the major point is that recessions do not affect all age groups equally — while, yes, everyone will see some effects, being hit with a recession after you’re already established is very different from having one when you’re still trying to find that first foothold at the bottom of your career ladder.

  94. bleh
    bleh July 16, 2012 at 10:59 am |

    I’m myopic for mentioning actual economic realities that made boomers lucky and mentioning that they often don’t see it? Also for shifting focus to class rather than generation? :) Oh, you missed those parts.

    Still no links from anyone to blog posts or articles written by older people making complaints about millennials. I believe you must have heard it somewhere, but…

    Here are the other posts to which I referred, where milliennials perpetuate these stereotypes themselves. http://tmiesen.com/tag/millennials/
    http://spinsucks.com/social-media/use-gen-y-stereotypes-to-your-advantage/

    Maybe older generations just don’t blog their complaints?

    Again, the real problem is class warfare and the middle class losing ground.

  95. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 16, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    ZOMG internalized ableism! I can relate. Even though I have serious social anxiety, depression, and. . .er. . .Gender Identity Disorder (surely enough combined to count me as “crazy” by most people’s standards), I still regularly, casually use the word “crazy.”

    Lol…yeah, I know, right? I’m just so used to accommodating my myopia it never really registered as a disability – even though I had to fight for years to get glasses and broke teeth and bones and bruised myself a lot, because of compulsory sports while being half-blinded by sunlight (which gives me intense headaches) and unable to judge distances. But still, it’s not a disability, because disabilities are serious things that happen to actual people and a lazy shit like me is not supposed to appropriate that! Or something. (Of course, that reasoning is also why it took me ten years of being routinely molested to identify as a survivor, so I really should know better at this point.)

    Although I still use “crazy” in that sense to refer to myself, because…well, tbh, when I’m having an intense spike of anxiety, there’s a little part of my brain that’s just standing back and watching the rest of my thinking process take the failtrain down the failroad and going “…whoa, you are some kind of fucking OFF here”. And it feels like I’m going, well, crazy.

  96. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 16, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    Still no links from anyone to blog posts or articles written by older people making complaints about millennials. I believe you must have heard it somewhere, but…

    Jesus, seriously? If you haven’t read an article or blog post shaming millennials in the last month, you probably haven’t been on the internet.

  97. Rae
    Rae July 16, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    It’s certainly true that many others besides young people are struggling right now, and it’s also true that there have been recessions previously. However, I think there are a number reasons that millennials are stuck on the bottom rung compared to both the current situation of other generations and the historical economic climate since WWII. Recall from the post: recent college grads have a greater than 50% unemployment and underemployment rate! That’s ridiculously high, and the numbers look even worse when you compare them to different age demographics. The unemployment rate for young people ages 20-24 is 13%, compared to 8.2% overall, 6.8% for ages 35-44, and 6.5% for people 55 and over (via Google Public Data).

    We’re reaching adulthood in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. On top of unemployment and underemployment, young people are saddled with college debt, lack of savings due to having had zero opportunity to make money to save, and no assets. At least if you have mortgage debt, that corresponds to an actual asset, and you always have the option of foreclosure and bankruptcy to discharge that debt; student loan debt does not give you anything you can sell and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Many of us are uninsured, and if we do have health insurance it’s often only because we’re lucky enough to have parents that are insured. The rich/poor gap is widening, resulting in downward mobility for those of us who are children of the middle class and even less hope for those of us who were born into poverty.

    To add to this injustice, many of us feel absolutely crushed because no one ever told us it would be this hard. Our parents, teachers, and mentors told us we could be anything we wanted to be. They promised lives that will never materialize for us. They told us be smart, work hard, and it will all work out. We believed it because they believed it, and many of them still act like nothing has changed. My parents paid for their college educations by working. That possibility is so ludicrous to me after the skyrocketing of tuition prices in the last several decades that it half makes me want to laugh and half makes me want to puke. My parents owned a home when they were my age, something that is as hilariously unrealistic to me as owning a space shuttle. Because the reality is that you can claw your way up by having a perfect 4.0 in undergrad, a near-perfect LSAT score, get into and graduate from Harvard Law…and still be unemployed with massive debt. I’ve watched it happen to my friends. (I’m the lucky one because I only have 15K of debt and make 10K a year.)

    I’ll agree that there are some older people who get it – the ones who have lived their lives below the poverty level, and the ones who lived through the Great Depression. But don’t kid us about the Bush I recession or the woes of homeownership. Because so far we haven’t even gotten the scraps that were thrown to you by the parasitic 1%. You may have lost more than us, but that’s because we’ve never had anything to lose (and frankly we’ve still lost what we didn’t have, which is why we’re all in the hole).

  98. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 16, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    I still regularly, casually use the word “crazy.” Not in Ms. Miller’s shaming, Twitterian, “CRAY” sense, but in the more ostensibly positive manner of “dude, that party was sooo crazy!” I still think that usage is problematic and ableist, however, and I’m trying to unlearn it. Takes time I guess.

    I use “crazy” all the time, too, only I consider it reclaiming a bit (or at least taking the sting out of it by using it for anything, truly “crazy” or not.)

    On topic: I thought the OP wasn’t bad (amazingly!) and it’s completely legit talking about one’s own perspective from one’s own perspective. I’ve gotten tons of useless advice from older generations (start a 401k? Sure, once I have an income I’ll totally do that!) and then said older generations whinge that Millennials never listen. Oh, but we did, and now look at us! No wonder we’re not interested in hearing it anymore!

  99. EG
    EG July 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    Mac, I don’t think I did put words in your mouth. What I did was articulate what would have to be true for the idea that middle-aged people losing their retirement funds was merely a case of chickens coming home to roost to work.

    But I fundamentally disagree with you about the amount of power US people have when it comes to determining the country’s policies, particularly when it comes to wars. From what I’ve read, party ideology seems to have almost no effect on national foreign policy decisions at all; US foreign policy is uniformly dreadful regardless of who’s in power. Gore might not have invaded Iraq…or he might have. I highly doubt he wouldn’t have gone to war at all after 9/11, particularly because his move to out and out liberalism only took place after he lost.

    More to the point, though, only 50% of the adult population participates in any given election. A lot of that has to do with access. Our election days are during the working week and almost nobody is given the day off. It’s only one day. A significant number of people, a significant percentage of black men in particular, are deprived of the right to vote because of having been convicted of a crime (to say nothing of the people who are actually incarcerated). And of course, lots and lots of people don’t vote because they fundamentally don’t see how it matters, and I have a lot of sympathy for that point of view, particularly when it comes to national elections. We have a two-party system where not only do you have to be unbelievably wealthy even to think about running, but even then you have to kowtow to corporate interests for funding. Our system is set up so that it is impossible to vote for, let alone elect, officials who will be in any position to make significant changes to the economic system that has destroyed so many people’s lives, millennials and boomers alike.

  100. EG
    EG July 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

    They told us be smart, work hard, and it will all work out. We believed it because they believed it, and many of them still act like nothing has changed. My parents paid for their college educations by working. That possibility is so ludicrous to me after the skyrocketing of tuition prices in the last several decades that it half makes me want to laugh and half makes me want to puke. My parents owned a home when they were my age, something that is as hilariously unrealistic to me as owning a space shuttle.

    I don’t know what to tell you, because my boomer parents and their friends never told me that life was fair or that “it would all work out.” They never owned a home (my aunt and uncle do, but her family had money). And they didn’t live through the depression or in poverty. There seems to be a real conflation here of “upper-middle class” and “boomer.”

  101. Rae
    Rae July 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    @EG

    My point was that there was far more opportunity for upward mobility or at least maintaining the same standard of living as the previous generation for those of my parents’ age, whereas my generation is experiencing much more downward mobility. It’s true that this directly affects the middle class more than it does those at either economic extreme, but it closes off options for poor and working class kids as well.The fact that both of my parents were able to pay their tuition in full exclusively from their part time jobs enabled them to buy a house within a year of graduating because both of them had jobs and zero debt. I realize that not all boomers are homeowners, but my mom (a first generation college graduate) and her brother (an electrician) were both able to buy houses. My maternal grandparents, who only had high school diplomas, were able to buy a house. Yet with all of my advantages and middle-class privilege, I’m not sure I will be able to do what previous generations of my family were able to do, or at least not on anywhere near the same timeline. I think this illustrates one of the ways our generation is not “better off than our parents” like the American dream I was taught. I realize not everyone was taught this dream, but it was literally taught in my public school. You’re right that it’s an element of economic privilege that I was encouraged to succeed, but it’s hollow at this point anyway, because so many young people who grew up with my class background are finding out that these encouragements were based on falsehoods to begin with.

  102. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus July 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

    To add to this injustice, many of us feel absolutely crushed because no one ever told us it would be this hard. Our parents, teachers, and mentors told us we could be anything we wanted to be. They promised lives that will never materialize for us. They told us be smart, work hard, and it will all work out.

    I do get this. The notion that anyone can make it with brains and hard work has, for a long time, been a very powerful cultural message in US society. The reality, as far too many people have found out in the past and are finding out now, has never matched the narrative.

  103. EG
    EG July 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    I hear that, Rae, but I’m also hearing an immense amount of impatience and eye-rolling from friends who grew up working-class without these advantages, who understood from the very beginning that the system was stacked, who never had the luxury of thinking that if they just worked hard, things would work out, because it was all too clear that they wouldn’t. What they see is a lot of middle-class people shocked at how the world looks without class privilege. And they don’t trust that when things turn around enough for middle-class college-educated people to be relatively OK, those people won’t just turn around and again be content with that economic system that routinely crushes them.

  104. mary
    mary July 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    I see my generation being blamed for being “spoiled” and “selfish” because we’re angry that we did exactly as we were told and got nothing. College has zero value, entry-level jobs demand college but don’t pay enough to cover an apartment, a car, and my loans. No-one offers insurance anymore and there is no way out for us.

    We’re told that demanding full-time work with benefits and livable wages is ridiculous, then smugly mocked for living with our parents and being unemployed. We’re sneered at for thinking our college education makes us “better” but also the ones who didn’t go to college are cheerfully pointed out as losers. We’re told we should get a job whatever the cost, and when we trudge off to McDonalds it’s almost gleeful sense of point-and-look. If someone has roadmap for what I’m supposed to be doing, here, I’d like it.

    Quoted. For. Fucking. Truth.

  105. Jadey
    Jadey July 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    but I’m also hearing an immense amount of impatience and eye-rolling from friends who grew up working-class without these advantages, who understood from the very beginning that the system was stacked, who never had the luxury of thinking that if they just worked hard, things would work out, because it was all too clear that they wouldn’t.

    Without suggesting that this discounts your friends’ experiences, because it definitely doesn’t, I just want to repeat that one of the things which has been enraging me the most about all of this is that I have seen all this go down for my friends from working class families as well. They were promised that university was their “way out” and they and their parents believed it. They are now in the worst positions of all, with 40K+ in debt, no reasonable jobs, and families who love them but just can’t afford to financially support them.

    Now, these were kids from pro-university families and the fact that we were in uni together is partly why we’re friends – obviously there are lots of working-class families who didn’t give two hoots about university and never expected anything to come of it. I have a number of cousins in that position (both sides of my extended family run the gamut of SES, which can make for some awkward but interesting family gatherings), and a lot of them went into trades instead and are doing pretty well for themselves right now, although still not well enough for upward social mobility. It was the working-class and working-poor students with exceptional grades and high school engagement who were channeled by our classist, elitist system into their current predicaments.

  106. EG
    EG July 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

    Hmm. That’s not the kind of rhetoric I’m hearing from my students, who are often the first in their families to go to college (it’s a public university, and the students are usually working-class and/or immigrants); that is, yes, they are absolutely screwed. But the sense that “we were told it would all be all right” is not what I’m getting from them at all. The sense I’m getting is “well, we’re fucked.” And that’s absolutely true; it’s not that the circumstances aren’t dire. They are. I do object, however, to the rhetoric that seems to imply that hey, this isn’t faaaair, or nobody could understand what the millennials are going through.

    What I find interesting is that enrollment at my college has gone down, last I checked. Usually, enrollment goes up during bad times, as students who would otherwise go to private colleges instead go to us. I can only imagine that’s being more than off-set by the number of students who can’t even go to us any longer.

  107. milquetoast
    milquetoast July 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    I imagine the reaction of students varies widely from institution to institution, which goes to show that these generational tags have a hard time synthesizing all the elements of the generation they´re supposed to represent. For many of my students, the ¨we´re screwed” rhetoric only kicked in during their last semesters. Students beginning their career did have some recognition of the current economic reality, but it was still couched in terms of hard work + smarts + degree = successful job. The majority still believed that their grit and determination would win out in the end, they just needed a double-dose of hard work. For instance, I´ve had freshmen or sophomores tell me that a good internship (or co-op) is a golden ticket to permanent employment and they just needed to work hard enough to get one.

    When I´d encounter these students later in their schooling, their narrative about the job market was more in line with the feelings your post (105) expresses. It was also coupled with quite a bit of (unwarranted) embarrassment and self-loathing, since many students felt they disappointed their families because they were struggling to find employment.

  108. Jadey
    Jadey July 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    @ milquetoast

    That’s more consistent with my experience. My friends are certainly bitter and disillusioned *now*, but they didn’t start out that way. Honestly, they never ever would have taken on the student loans, otherwise. The only reason they went to university in the first place was because they genuinely thought it was the soundest move for the future.

  109. Miss S
    Miss S July 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    I’m one of those students who came from a very low income family, and I did think that college would change my circumstances. I knew how fucked up poverty was, since I was living it. I didn’t think that I would still be here.

    Also, yes to the person who commented that the workplace is hostile to people with disabilities. It is. Having a mental illness and trying to move forward into a career is starting to seem impossible because employers don’t care. It’s capitalism, which means the only things that matters is profit. The deck is completely stacked against alot of people, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

  110. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca July 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

    But still, it’s not a disability, because disabilities are serious things that happen to actual people and a lazy shit like me is not supposed to appropriate that!

    This will be a derail, but this reminds me of why I have issues with many narratives around “appropriation” more generally. I suppose as a white USian with a middle class background, it’s no surprise that I’d have fewer problems with appropriation than other people. I certainly think appropriation is a real, serious problem in lots of instances. But I’ve also felt the sting of these narratives as someone who has struggled, like you, to recognize herself as disabled in some ways, not to mention to recognize herself as a woman (thanks Mary Daly and Germaine Greer!) And I often see narratives around appropriation used to police the boundaries of identity groups ways that unfairly excludes people: “he’s not disabled enough. She’s not queer enough. They aren’t working class enough.” I think these more restrictive definitions not only harm the people they exclude but also harm the people they include by cutting down on the number of their potential political comrades. Why can’t cissexual drag queens or cissexual butch women be “transgender” or “trans?” Why can’t middle income salaried workers be “working class?” Why can’t someone with myopia or depression be “disabled?” In my opinion, the more inclusive definitions don’t necessarily require appropriating anyone else’s experience. . .but they can shed light on related types of oppression and increase social movements’ reach and strength. Just my two cents.

  111. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    But I’ve also felt the sting of these narratives as someone who has struggled, like you, to recognize herself as disabled in some ways, not to mention to recognize herself as a woman (thanks Mary Daly and Germaine Greer!) And I often see narratives around appropriation used to police the boundaries of identity groups ways that unfairly excludes people

    No shit, right? That always bothers me, too. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll get as frothy over “lesbian-identified bisexuals” as anyone, but… wurgh. I’ve heard people argue that women who date cis women and trans women aren’t “really” lesbians, etc, etc.

    Lol, and seriously…it took being diagnosed with four separate health issues in three years for me to even consider that I might be disabled…and this is given that I’ve had the effects of those conditions nearly all my life! Talk about policing myself out of identities.

  112. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus July 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm |

    But I’ve also felt the sting of these narratives as someone who has struggled, like you, to recognize herself as disabled in some ways, not to mention to recognize herself as a woman (thanks Mary Daly and Germaine Greer!) And I often see narratives around appropriation used to police the boundaries of identity groups ways that unfairly excludes people:

    Maybe there’s always going to be some kind of tension surrounding group identity because their boundaries are always undergoing a process of cultural & social negotiation. We can find ways to deal with that tension by acknowledging it and having some dialogue across it; this may mean that the boundaries of a group expand in some cases or it may mean that someone doesn’t “get in” but becomes an ally instead.

    It’s funny, because (to come back to this post a little bit) generations are also cultural and social artifacts and their boundaries reflect that. A good friend of mine, who is several years younger than I am, very strongly identifies as a Millenial and has very strong ideas about who is and isn’t one – although, oddly enough, my friend’s birth year is in a gray area because the beginning and end years of any generation shift depend on who is doing the defining. By some accounts my friend would be an early-wave Millenial and by others a late-wave Xer. So this measure of self-definition is interesting to observe.

  113. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy July 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    @esti:

    FWIW, I read this post shortly after it went up and I don’t see anything different now from what it looked like when it first went up. And in particular, I remember the line BBB suggested was later inserted (“Still, I have a difficult time saying that it is “hard” to be a recent grad—there are so many who are in the same, or worse economic predicaments from all ages, that these conditions are too universally normal to call “hard” for one group more than others.”) was there the first time I read it.

    I really did miss it then. I was already pretty irritated by the post, so that is possible, what with the bulging eyes and throbbing veins. This illustrates the danger of amending your blog posts. If any other blogger had a paragraph pointed out to me that I hadn’t noticed, I would have assumed I missed it and apologized. In Ms. Miller’s case, given the history, the possibility that the post had been edited was entertained. Boys and wolves etc.

    I know that some people are upset about other things Anna posted, but the criticisms and generational argument on this piece really seem unreasonable to me. This is an article about Anna’s experience as a millenial, in which she specifically says that she knows other generations have had it hard too but that she is talking about her own generation. Jumping on her for not talking more about how Gen X or Gen Y or the Boomers had it hard sounds a lot to me like the dudes who come into a discussion about women being raped to complain that no one is talking about men who are raped.

    I didn’t expect Ms. Miller to address the woes of anyone else, simply to acknowledge the greater issue that existed in today’s economy, which she did, as per the paragraph I missed. What initially irritated me, and still does, is her throwing us off like we have nothing to offer: understanding, empathy, advice, solidarity. It was never my intent to play a generational game of “who has it worse?”, and I don’t think that is very helpful. However, a lot of the problems faced by the millennials are really not new. The consequences may have come to a head with the current recession, but the conditions have existed for a long time. And much of the cycle has been repeated several times within our lifetimes.

    I have learned a lot from this thread, and my experience growing up was certainly different from the millennials. Nobody ever told me things would be fine if I went to college and worked hard, nor did I expect them to be. I was pretty shocked when I got a “proper job” actually, and expected to be waiting tables for a lot longer than I did, given that I graduated into a recession. As I said somewhere above, post-Thatcherite Britain was apocalyptic.

    I’m not a USian as Mac calls them, but I have lived in the US for 20 years. The following may seem really 101 to those who are USian, but it was a revelation to me, so may be instructive to those outside the US:

    One of the three most shocking things about moving to the US, for me, was the number of people who had University degrees. It was completely baffling. People in office jobs, retail jobs, service jobs, many with college degrees. Not that they used them, or appeared particularly interested in academia, or even particularly well-educated to be honest, but so many had gone through the ritual of college. And paid for it! The difference between then and now was they mostly all got jobs (even if they weren’t high-powered jobs) so the debt was covered, and the cost of tuition was certainly nothing like today, and, most crucially, they started out more privileged than the average college-goer today. But it did strike me as very odd. Not that all my Uni friends in Britain went to high-powered jobs, but all of them had either (i) a desire to go into academia or research of some kind (ii) a need for a technical qualification (iii) a professional path requiring further education, or (iv) a love of learning that was uncoupled to any job ambitions. I don’t remember any of us going to university because it was some kind of guarantee of higher pay in itself. Some of the people in (iv) went on to the types of jobs held by people I encountered with unused degrees in the US (office, retail, service positions), pursuing their real loves (music, art, changing the world) in their spare time, or followed nomadic or unconventional lives of some kind. But the average office, retail, service worker in the UK did not go to Uni. Uni was free, but admission standards were really high, because the State was paying for it. Not that this isn’t classist, because of the higher positive outcomes in high school for children of privilege, but that’s another story.

    This is important because it may form the basis for what millennials were taught. At that time, 20 years ago in the US, it had become common, if not the norm, for people in upper-working-middle-class but not professional jobs to have degrees, because universities had became more numerous, and therefore less selective academically (not everyone can be above average). They needed to recruit the bodies, and the more bodies they recruited, the more fees were collected. Chances are these people with degrees were more privileged than those in the same jobs without degrees, so their outcomes were better professionally. If you look at that statistically, it artificially enhances the value of a degree, and makes it seem to employers that the degree is actually useful to job performance, whereas actually it is the privilege that is important. So higher salaries, or greater job opportunities are offered to college graduates, regardless of the need for a degree in the job duties, eventually locking people without a degree out of jobs for which they are perfectly qualified, and forcing people to pay for degrees, who can’t afford it without hefty loans. I don’t think this was ok even 20 years ago, but it’s catastrophic now.

    The disconnect for me is the period during which the millennials were children, because I guess they grew up hearing nothing but the bit about the positive outcome for college graduates and negative outcomes for everyone else, and a degree became something to strive for in itself, regardless of cost, interest, or alternative paths. Jadey, I’ve been having this argument with my peers for 20 years, but I do feel I’ve failed my younger friends, because I never had the courage to advise them not to go to college. Your list of “advice from my elders” screamed at me with all I felt inside but was too scared to say. It was just too big a statement, and the message everywhere else was too contradictory. And if everyone else goes to college, regardless of inclination or aptitude, and you don’t, what does that do to your job prospects, even for these jobs not actually requiring further education? So you’re forced to take out $80k in loans just to get in at entry level to a job which may not lead anywhere. Of course if you’d learned a trade, you would have a great income and plenty of work, but I can see that was not the narrative the millennials were fed. I’m glad at least individually that many of you are finding niches and paths to the first rung and beyond, but as you all point out, the individual solution is nice, but the systemic problem remains. So what is the solution?

    I think the Occupiers who proposed to fight for student debt forgiveness as their platform probably had it right. The cry became very divisive and classist, and the “leaders” preferred to keep a non-specific agenda to fight for equality in order to keep the base broad, but student debt forgiveness is probably one of those things that would have a huge effect. The amount of money is large, but taken as a whole compared to the cost of the debts of war, it is tiny. The relief for individuals would be immense. The effect on the lenders would be large: lenders being less likely to recover debt means lenders being less likely to loan large sums of money to prospective students, which means either a reduction in the number of students or a decrease in fees, perhaps both. I do see danger here, but I also think this option should be seriously considered by our politicians, not just used to stoke class warfare.

  114. Teacher Forever
    Teacher Forever July 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    I am really getting tired of the constant whining from the millennials.

    Times are tough.

    They are tough for everyone.

    You are NOT special.

    Toughen up and get a job…….try moving out of your mom and dad’s home too!

  115. Mike
    Mike July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Because America is the only place to go look for work. If everybody comes to the US, maybe its time to look elsewhere, at least untill you are established. Too bad its so hard to emigrate to Canada.

  116. Mike
    Mike July 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm |

    Toughen up and get a job…….try moving out of your mom and dad’s home too!

    At least they are not on the dole, or would you prefer that? I guess that wouldnt sit well with you either. Maybe they can go die?

  117. Jadey
    Jadey July 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    I am really getting tired of the constant whining from the millennials.

    Times are tough.

    They are tough for everyone.

    You are NOT special.

    Toughen up and get a job…….try moving out of your mom and dad’s home too!

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Because America is the only place to go look for work. If everybody comes to the US, maybe its time to look elsewhere, at least untill you are established. Too bad its so hard to emigrate to Canada.

    … you realize that employment is down all over, right? And that I’ve linked to figures and articles in this very thread about the poor employment prospects in my home country, Canada? (Which, as it happens, isn’t *that* hard to emigrate to, relatively speaking. But there aren’t jobs here either.)

    @ BBBShrewHarpy

    Sorry, I lost track of this thread and missed this reply. I’m glad that you took in this new information and thank you for getting it. I wish I had a better answer for how we can change all this. What I fear (and what is most likely) is that in twenty or forty years time ‘my’ generation will be the one furiously blaming younger people for a system that’s been broken as long as anyone can remember. Ultimately, the generational identity isn’t one I choose – it’s forced on me by all the people who insist on making brash and ignorant statements about a group I’m by default included in. What I would love to see (and what I occasionally do see) is Millennials making the best of this unwelcome identity as a way of coming together across class barriers to protest the real problem of economic injustice. My various and continuing problems with Anna aside (and there have been many), I do agree with her on that score.

  118. Mike
    Mike July 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    In a system that keeps concentrating more and more money into less and less hands, isnt a stagnation and collapse unavoidable, unless large quantities of cash are infused into the system regularly?

  119. Tuesday Teasers: Stuff I’ve Been Reading #13 - The Pursuit of Harpyness

    [...] Lekas Miller @ Feministe | Millennials and Economic Justice:  I’m a recent college graduate—no matter how much more established colleagues in their late [...]

  120. JiminyCricket
    JiminyCricket July 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm |

    So happy to come across this website as a millenial in a similar situation to most of you. I have 2 degrees and not much to show for them besides 40k worth of student loan debt.

    I graduated with a 4 year degree in history in May 2007 and immediately found a job as a customer service agent, in a call center, working for $12/hr. The call center functioned for a large gym chain based in and around several large cities in the United States. With the Great Recession hitting during 2008, the company scaled back and began to lay off workers. The customer service end, including my job, was entirely wiped out by February 2009.

    I had just been accepted to graduate School as the axe swung down. I was forced to take on more student loans to help keep afloat while I worked part time and seasonal jobs that offered little by the way of stability or pay. I’ve technically been laid off twice since ’09.

    I should graduate from my program this December, but the possibilities for employment look bleak for me – my field is education. Couple this with the fact that I’m barely squeaking out a living while paying for just the first loan that I owe. I don’t know what I’m going to do when the second one kicks in.

    Coming from a working class background, I was spoonfed the bullshit lies about college being the key to success. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t take back my time at college… But now I understand its true value. It is NOT he key to success in this capitalist market. It IS, however, one of the keys to understanding a shit ton of things that make this market tick.

    If more people could sit and have orderly and thoughtful discussion about our economic situation, maybe things might change. As it stands, we have many who are blind even to their own economic bondage. Food for thought.

  121. Link Love (28/07/2012) « Becky's Kaleidoscope

    [...] “It is also difficult to know what standards we should hold for ourselves—how can you demand more when you are told that you should be grateful for anything and know that you are the last ones hired and the first ones fired? How do we know how long to put up with certain conditions—sexual harassment, late pay, expectations to be on call and responding to e-mails around the clock—before our need for sanity outweighs our need for economic livelihood? How do we convey that we are trying our hardest?” Millennials and Economic Justice - Feministe [...]

  122. longunderemployed
    longunderemployed August 2, 2012 at 2:43 am |

    I stumbled across this blog while searching for more people complaining about generational issues. I see a heavy resistance to blaming boomers here, but they are to blame.

    In every case that I have witnessed, I can directly find fault with them and attribute the faults of youth to them. I graduated college back in 2001. I had good job offers, but I made the mistake of aiming higher and getting graduate school done. Suddenly, all the jobs were gone and I was in the same boat as the next generation.

    I notice first, the boomer teachers. They don’t care about your bills or the fact that their subjects are like cults preaching to suckers who bought into the idea of college. Years ago they knew this clearly. I only had one professor warn us. Most of them just keep on living it up.

    You see them adjusting cost of living to help anyone else out? That is the whole generation at varying points in the spectrum. I say this as a late x because 3 times I took a cut or freeze to help out y and millenials while boomers were too greedy.

    I ask them about cost of living, but they have no clue. That is because they have enough to survive. They don’t understanding working 90 hour weeks or aying out 200% of your income for basic expenses. I would love to see ohat does. What they will tell you is what they made in the 70s and 80s, which is complete rubbish.

    I hear things like, “I started out on 6k a year.” Unlike us x and ys, they didn’t go a decade without actual growth. They also don’t grasp inflation. I like to ask them what was rent, bread, gas, milk, etc. I have watched those triple since I started working. You think the boomers lost pace with those items? No, they just pass that down to us. I know because I am the one always taking the hit, yet watching them barely change their standard of living.

    We are working long hard hours and living like lazy hippies three or four to a house, even after marriage. Food stamps with stable jobs or worse yet just over the income. I went two years on a $20 a week food budget. Show me a boomer living that way. My wife had to quit working just so we had food and healthcare.

    It isn’t going to get better until younger people say enough. Stop working those jobs. Start making your own money. That is the only way I got ahead. You have to take risks. I started putting all my money into stocks. I turned 5k into 70k the last five years. Start up your own business or start withholding skills or effort without more pay.

    I don’t believe the youth are lazy or entitled, I think they get the jist
    of that point. Why bother caring when there is no job security and pay isn’t fair. If you work hard, boomers will ride your work as they glide by. I hate to say it, but let them fail. Pull the rug out and you will see chang I promise that.

    I have always carried the less intelligent, less skilled, less fit boomers as they refused to later compensate me. You will hear them preach all day long to earn your promotion. You will hear them say to show them the work first, but that is a lie. In the end, they will pocket your rewards.

    This isn’t just me as one disillusioned person, but every friend I have working hard and being continually used and abused at work. I finally changed my attitude. I started realizing they need me way more than I need them. You all should see that too. We work harder with more flexible hours. I have a huge wide ranging list of skills. I don’t know the meaning of sick days. I flat out make things work and hold businesses together.

    Suddenly, I push a little at a time and they are forced to give. I start saying no when they need extra help. Next thing you know they start breaking under the pressure that was yours. I watch my boss having nervous breakdowns, crying over aches and pains of longer hours, worried other people can’t fill in adequately. I know it is hard to watch, but you have to let them realize they aren’t doing it. They need knocked down a few pegs.

    After that you will get what you want. You might even end up in charge, but none of that will happen if you keep playing in and doing their share of the work.

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