"You can't reach for the stars at this point."
August 14, 2011 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Generation Vexed: Young Americans rein in their dreams. 'Amid so much economic uncertainty, many are rethinking career plans, putting off marriage and avoiding the stock market like the plague.' 'Fewer than half of Americans believe that the current generation will have a better life than the last, according to a Gallup poll this spring. It was the most pessimistic showing for that barometer in nearly three decades. Another poll, of Americans ages 18 to 29, found that three-quarters of them expect to delay a major life change or purchase because of economic factors.'

'Since mid-2008, unemployment in the 16-to-24 age group has been 13% and higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, it stood at 17.4%.

Dim job prospects have taken some of the sheen off advanced degrees.

Anthony Wong, a business major at Palm Beach State College in Florida, said his peers are debating whether to finish school. They complain that an expensive degree saddled with loans no longer guarantees a good salary or even employment.

"I think it'll be harder for us to buy homes or apartments or cars — those big life purchases — down the line," said Wong, 26.'
posted by VikingSword (219 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've always said my grandparents' generation was born on third base and thought they'd hit a triple.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:00 AM on August 14, 2011 [47 favorites]


I feel like there's going to be a big backlash against college in the coming generation after my generation's (I'm 30) parents told us all to "just get a degree" and it turns out that a lot of degrees cost a lot more money than they're worth.

Will my kids go to college if they're not going to major in something lucrative, like engineering or medicine? It looks increasingly like they'll be more pragmatic about it than many in my generation were.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:06 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is something both disturbing and annoying with that passive mindset -- you can't wait for a convenient moment to make life good because there is no such thing as a convenient moment, and innovation doesn't happen without risk of failure and looking like a fool.

If any time in recent history young people need to take that leap -- it's now. Things never get better unless you decide you are stronger than the circumstances around you. Fear and anger never helped anyone to a better life -- making a new path doesn't mean using prefabricated blocks and contract out the work to someone else. Sometimes you just gotta jump in and make things happen despite the odds...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:08 AM on August 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Related rant from the inestimable Gin and Tacos:


"I hear things aren't going so well for you these days. The last time we talked – remember, when you asked if you could borrow $250 to get the alternator on your 1996 Nissan Pulsar fixed? – it was already clear that you are going through a rough patch. It looks like that "patch" might last for a long time, something like ten years. Five if we're lucky. Look, I know that some of this is our fault. Maybe a lot of it. That's why I gave you the $250 for your car, and why I keep offering to take you on vacation with me and Dad, and paid for you to get those two teeth fixed by Dr. Morimoto when you were in town over Christmas. I know it embarrasses you when I do things like that. Maybe "humiliates" is a better word. But here's the thing: we love you, and we know that you'd be financially independent now if the opportunities were available. They aren't, and it's sad to see. OK, maybe we have a little case of the guilts too."

The Boomers decided to pull up the ladder behind them. Fuck 'em.
posted by bardic at 11:09 AM on August 14, 2011 [34 favorites]


HATE SOME GENERATION OTHER THAN YOUR OWN. IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT. Except mine. My generation never had a name. Hint: we were in our 20s when 30-Something was all the rage, we were in our 30s when 20-Something was all the rage. And oh yeah, when we were graduating university/college (in the early 80s), there were all kinds of newspaper articles that basically said ...

Amid so much economic uncertainty, many are rethinking career plans, putting off marriage and avoiding the stock market like the plague.
posted by philip-random at 11:11 AM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Guess what, kiddos? The Greatest Generation lived high on the hog indeed, and you get to pay for it. Hoo-rah for deficit spending.
posted by Malor at 11:11 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sweet. Maybe Young Americans will get just the barest scintilla of a hint of what it was like to be born in fifties Britain, like I was. No wait, that's silly. It'll take at least another generation before Young Americans - at least of the sort this article is talking about - get a sense of anything close to that. Oooh dear! Are Young Americans "avoiding the stock market like the plague?" The poor things! Such deprivation! Such a bleak vista of broken dreams and raw human suffering!
posted by Decani at 11:13 AM on August 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


It is going to get worse so get your ducks in a row. This has been predicted for a long time, due to demographics, it's really not complicated. We're repeating the 1930s, which was also demographic driven. When the population contracts, do does GDP and the stock market and jobs and standard of living.
posted by stbalbach at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, guys, it's obvious that us Millenials are just not cut out for this job market, economy be damned, it's just our fault.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I never understand it when people scream that our generation is to self-entitled or the "everyone gets a trophy" generation. We're struggling to find jobs and sustainable lives, all while hearing these people telling us that we're so selfish and lazy. As Aristotle proved, every generation will think worse of the next generation. However, people from almost every generation I've talked to (Generation Y, X, the Silent Generation, and even the "Greatest Generation") all hate Baby Boomers. It's something about bringing the environment and the economy down to it's knees all the name of greed, a stark contrast from their original "free love" way of thinking, that generates enormous contempt.

Of course not all Baby Boomers are like this, but the general fiscal irresponsibility of this generation has had an echo effect. Their inability to control their spending led them to hold on to their jobs longer than any other generation, leaving the younger folks out of jobs. Their general unhealthy habits are going to wreak havoc on health care in the future and the sheer number of them are going to deplete Social Security funds. I've never seen my grandparents from both sides of my family get along, except when they talk about how the Baby Boomers screwed everything up and that they actually feel great sorrow for every generation after (X,Y, Millennials) as we're going to have to work twice as hard to get half of what they got; all the while picking up after them.
posted by CreativeUsername at 11:15 AM on August 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


Guess what, kiddos? The Greatest Generation lived high on the hog indeed, and you get to pay for it. Hoo-rah for deficit spending.

A government is just like a family see, because families never borrow more than they earn to make investments.

Granted few families borrow to kill brown people in the desert, but the analogy still works right?
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:15 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's easy to say now, now that we're a couple years into this downturn, to say that the boomers pulled up the ladder. It's easy to say "of course, doubling housing prices every 10 years is unsustainable." And although we knew all along that Social Security was pretty much going to be fucked by 2020, anyone who predicted the severity of the downturn a couple of years ago was considered a loony and a crank. We were all riding a wave, and we didn't really realize how close we were to the shore.

Look at the bright side. If the housing bubble hadn't burst, you would have had zero chance to buy a house. Now, there are affordable houses for even the moderately affluent.
posted by crunchland at 11:16 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


So the economic debacle of our times is simulanteously the fault of greedy plutocratic bankers and the like and older generations? I never knew they were exactly the same.

Isn't somewhat counterproductive to blame an entire generation, not all of whom benefitted equally, than the look at who now is coming out on top? Because I don't think anyone planning on retiring in a few years with a devastated 401k is automatically the person to blame for 20 year olds having no decent future.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:16 AM on August 14, 2011 [24 favorites]


at least we still have the ancient consolations. In Vino Veritas!
posted by the mad poster! at 11:17 AM on August 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sometimes you just gotta jump in and make things happen despite the odds...

That's some very good rah-rah, but it doesn't change the fact that a fairly calm, rational appreciation of one's circumstances and future is, and should, lead twentysomethings to make very different choices than they're being told to.

My wife is a teacher, and is endlessly frustrated by the fact that there's still tremendous pressure on her by parents and the administration to tell kids that a college degree is a necessity at whatever cost. She can't tell kids to become plumbers or electricians; she can't tell them that they might be better off working for a few years; she can't tell them to seriously evaluate the cost of a degree against the employment prospects in that field. It's still "college or you're a failure", even when she's staring at a kid who'll never do well academically but could have a lucrative career at the port as a tugboat operator.
posted by fatbird at 11:17 AM on August 14, 2011 [32 favorites]


Everybody knows that the Greatest Generation isn't the boomers, right? That the Greatest Generation is the generation before the Boomers, right?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:18 AM on August 14, 2011 [18 favorites]


People voted for voodoo economics, lesbiassparrow, and this is the first payment on the bill. There are many, many more to come.
posted by Malor at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


> The Greatest Generation lived high on the hog indeed

Well, it was probably worth it for all the wars the Big One avoided, amirite?
posted by scruss at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2011


(Yes, I may have gotten my generations confused. Sorry. OLD PEOPLE. They ran up the bills, whatever name their generation had.)
posted by Malor at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2011


I blame:

Everyone who voted those dickhead Republicans and Democrats into office. Seriously.
posted by buggzzee23 at 11:21 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


That the Greatest Generation is the generation before the Boomers, right?

No, the generation before the Boomers was the Silent Generation. The Boomers are the children of the Greatest Generation, and there's always a generation which comes between a cohort group and their children.

Lost parented the Silent, Greatest parented the Boomers, Silent parented Gen X, Boomers parented the Millennials, etc.
posted by hippybear at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


Well the point being that the Greatest Generation lived through much worse than the people today.

Welcome to the real world, where actual real shit sandwiches exist. And what about 1980-82? A whole way of life was extinguished.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Get off my landlord's lawn!
posted by hal9k at 11:25 AM on August 14, 2011 [43 favorites]


Hell yes I'm avoiding the stock market. If I had my way, it'd be banned outright. Fuck it fuck to fuck with a fucking fuck fuck.

(Not having any money to invest makes this an easy position to hold, of course.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:27 AM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


She can't tell kids to become plumbers or electricians; she can't tell them that they might be better off working for a few years; she can't tell them to seriously evaluate the cost of a degree against the employment prospects in that field.

Here's the thing, though. To become a licensed plumber or electrician requires training. Said training is now, largely, the purview of for-profit technical schools. Going through these programs will result in easily as much debt as a state university education and degree.

As for evaluating the cost of a degree against future employment prospects...How, exactly, is a kid of 16, 17, or 18 supposed to accurately determine prospects in a field four or more years out? Simple...They can't. Not with any actual accuracy. There is no actual guidance or counseling available to kids these days that might help them chart a more stable course into their futures. A 17-year-old left to their own research abilities and an internet connection is more likely to torpedo his future than to luck-out and fix on something with a bright tomorrow.

For a lot of kids...Like, the millions that live in flyover land...A college degree is something akin to a possible ticket away from the dead and dying town and cities they're living in now.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:29 AM on August 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Hello young americans, welcome to how it is in most of the world. By the way, be very happy you don't have hyperinflation on top of everything else.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." ~Martha Washington


Yup, this is what keeps me from climbing a bell tower.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


lesbiassparrow: "Because I don't think anyone planning on retiring in a few years with a devastated 401k is automatically the person to blame for 20 year olds having no decent future."

That wasn't exactly my point.

My "Greatest Generation" grandfather thought he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, and thought that our not being affluent like him was due to our own personal failures. He passed away with a multimillion dollar estate while I grew up without running water, and left us nothing.

This is the same kind of thinking I get from my other grandparents, and I also hear the same sort of talk coming from other people's grandparents- "Why do young people these days need money from us? When I was young you would go work for free as an apprentice and learn a trade", for example. The lady who said this has over ten million dollars to her name.

The Greatest Generation was born into a period of incredible economic prosperity. Those who are now incredibly affluent think it's due to their hard work ethic, and don't think they owe their children or grandchildren anything.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Lost parented the Silent, Greatest parented the Boomers, Silent parented Gen X, Boomers parented the Millennials, etc.

The ??? between Boomers and Gen X parented the Millennials. Boomers mostly parented my ??? generation (b. late '70s-early '80s).
posted by Sys Rq at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


And this is one of those times I'm really glad I majored in Accounting. Sure, I have to worry about things like forced rankings, start date delays, and possible offer rescindments, but at least I have a job offer...
posted by subversiveasset at 11:34 AM on August 14, 2011


The Greatest Generation was born into a period of incredible economic prosperity...

Um...The "Greatest Generation" usually refers to the generation that fought WWII. Most of those were born just prior to the Great Depression...hardly a period of incredible prosperity.

I think you're ranting against the Boomers.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:35 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


It would be GREAT to see a backlash against "college for all" so long as that meant a renaissance of other opportunities -- work other than fast-food or similar minimum wagery available to people straight out of high school; vocational, technical, trade schools programs that weren't bullshit DeVry/ITT cash-sucking diploma mills; employer-run training programs.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Isn't somewhat counterproductive to blame an entire generation, not all of whom benefitted equally, than the look at who now is coming out on top? Because I don't think anyone planning on retiring in a few years with a devastated 401k is automatically the person to blame for 20 year olds having no decent future.

Or as I said just the other day in this thread

To me, it's only generational on the level that more 50-somethings are in the filthy rich upper bracket than 20 and 30 somethings. But age really has nothing to do with it. It's the filthy rich (who seem to live by only one credo: "Anything goes as long as we keep getting richer") versus EVERYBODY ELSE. Again, this gets back to my notion of the PROGRAM. This is how it's scripted. And part of the script is the tragic and absurdist comedy inherent in the various losers in the scenario (ie: the multitudes of poor and just-struggling-get-by) turning on each other via divisive and scripted inventions of racial, generational and/or cultural difference.
posted by philip-random at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Thorzdad: "I think you're ranting against the Boomers."

No, they got out of World War 2, used the GI Bill to go to college (no loans) and entered the job market where the rest of the world was pretty much destroyed and the US was booming.

And don't trivialize me with that "ranting" bit.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Boomers mostly parented my ??? generation (b. late '70s-early '80s).

That's the Millennial generation, so named because they came of age around the year 2000.
posted by hippybear at 11:39 AM on August 14, 2011


Old people are also why black people and women can vote, why you can fly from one end of America to the other before half a day has elapsed, why you have all manner of iJunk (you think Steve Jobs is one of your generation, or mine? is he hell), why you won't be reduced to a gibbering, pants-pissing wreck should you come down with the syph and why we're able to use this medium to communicate at all right now. Old people did a lot. If we're comfortable somehow apportioning blame to entire generations -- made up of people who, like most of us, were largely passive observers of life's rich pageant, however much they might have liked to change the course of human events in one way or another -- then we should be comfortable apportioning credit, too. The fuck have you given the world?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:39 AM on August 14, 2011 [45 favorites]


The Greatest Generation was born into a period of incredible economic prosperity.

Um, no. From the wiki:

"The Greatest Generation" is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation[1] who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II,

They were born in a deep f***ing hole. What worked out for them (after a brutal war) was that the economy only grew pretty much their entire wage earning lives.
posted by philip-random at 11:40 AM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sorry, that should be, the leading edge of them came of age around the year 2000.

Also, generations are kind of fluid, and often your birth year has less to do with what generation you're part of than does the people around your age who influenced you during your formative years. If you're a young person with a lot of older siblings, it could be that you're more in the cohort of the generation older than your age.
posted by hippybear at 11:41 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pax Americana
posted by the mad poster! at 11:44 AM on August 14, 2011


Yay, generation theory/sniping.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:45 AM on August 14, 2011


That's the Millennial generation, so named because they came of age around the year 2000.

Huh. Right you are. (Did the terms change? I seem to recall 'Millennials' used to refer to those who came of age after 2000.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on August 14, 2011


My wife is a teacher, and is endlessly frustrated...

Probably also by the "my taxes are too high, why should *I* pay for the kid down the street to go to school" schtick as well.

I'm pretty seriously against redundant growth in government (I'm really at odds with the vast expansion in military and security) but any time the libraries or the schools ask for more money, I dig into my pocket. Because without it, there's no future. I'm not going to be 68 years old worrying that the pool of doctors is so small and medicine is so expensive because the kids down the street didn't get a decent education.

Sacrifice is good. It teaches you to work hard. Value skills that produce genuine value.
This? This isn't sacrifice or hardship. This is actively screwing the future over for a buck.
Pure exploitation. Like the assholes who push credit cards on freshman college students. Ho ho ho, suckers! - (ten years later)- say, why is debt soaring and all our business in the toilet?

That's the deal, the older generation makes money, invests time/money/education in the younger generation - even in the dark ages you had guilds passing on skills - and then they take over the reigns and nobody starves.
Now? Fuck 'em over for a buck if you can. Oh, wait, why can't anyone cure my disease? Why is all our infrastructure breaking down? Why aren't there more civil engineers or people willing to pay them? Why do the the collections agency guy and customer service people speak with foreign accents? Why is there no culture? What happened to people who value principles? Why is everyone not working productively but just trying to put their hands in the next persons wallet?

Oh, right, we flushed all that down the toilet to boost our earnings portfolio to buy that f'ing boat we never use other than to make the neighbors jealous.

The U.S. really just beached itself on this. People forgot the "American Dream" was an ideal, a dynamic discussion of how to best live ones life to have freedom, justice and equal standards for all, not an actual dream type dream where you go to sleep and pretend you're rich and let reality go to hell.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:46 AM on August 14, 2011 [59 favorites]


That's the Millennial generation

There's no single definition since the entire generational concept is made up out of whole cloth, but in general I think the original comment was correct; people born in the late 70s are the end of Gen X. Millenials were born starting with the early to mid 80s, although some people put them even later.
posted by Justinian at 11:46 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


philip-random: "They were born in a deep f***ing hole. What worked out for them (after a brutal war) was that the economy only grew pretty much their entire wage earning lives."

Yeah, I misspoke, see my clarification above. They weren't born into an economic boom, they came of age in an economic boom.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:48 AM on August 14, 2011


I wonder how cultural expectations will change in response to diminished opportunities for educated young Americans. We see a lot of backwards-looking tut-tutting about "these kids these days," but that's not very informative - that's just the old older looking at the new generation. As these bitter 25-year-olds become bitter, but more stable 35-year-olds, how will they raise their own children and affect their own institutions?
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:48 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The start / end points for the various generational names are more like 3-5 year windows than actual hard dates. There is no reason why being born on 12/31/1981 makes you Gen X, but being born on 1/1/1982 makes you a Millennial. That's just silly. As mentioned above, for those born in those windows, it's probably going to be more cultural, based on what influenced you growing up.
posted by COD at 11:50 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I misspoke, see my clarification above. They weren't born into an economic boom, they came of age in an economic boom.

It's also worth noting that generations react and learn differently to historical events or eras. For example, contrast the behavior of the 'Greatest' generation with the Baby Boomers - the latter was born into an economic boom, the former came of age during the same one.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:52 AM on August 14, 2011


They weren't born into an economic boom, they came of age in an economic boom.

No. They were born, in general, with little, lost that in the Great Depression, and then lived at a time when there was massive government stimulus for nearly a decade.

Furthermore, they often lived in a situation where there were two wage earners -- GI Joe at the front, Rosie in the factory -- but between being at the front, rationing and social factors, they simply could not spend the money they were making. Indeed, the social factors pretty much demand they invest that money into war bonds.

Of course the economy skyrocketed after the war and kept going -- there was literally years of consumer demand pent up.

You want the economy to hum? Do that. Shove consumer spending to almost nothing, replace it with massive government spending, put everybody to work, and make sure there is a safe investment path to protect against inflation, and the same thing will happen again.

This, of course, will never happen.
posted by eriko at 11:54 AM on August 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


The biggest difference between Millennials and Generation X is that the Millennials came of age with the internet as a normal fixture in middle-class American life.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:54 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


//I wonder how cultural expectations will change in response to diminished opportunities for educated young Americans//

One thing I'm seeing in my kids (both high school age), although I certainly can't definitively pin it on economic worries, is that they are both going forward doing stuff they love, without worrying a lot about how much it'll pay later on. They both seem perfectly willing to accept they won't be rich, but they will be happy pursuing things they love.

When I was in high school I was totally picking college majors based on perceived earnings potential later. I'm just not seeing that attitude in either of my kids.
posted by COD at 11:55 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


They weren't born into an economic boom, they came of age in an economic boom.

No. They were born, in general, with little, lost that in the Great Depression, and then lived at a time when there was massive government stimulus for nearly a decade.


And you think that government stimulus doesn't produce economic boom?
posted by hippybear at 11:56 AM on August 14, 2011


Sticherbeast: I wonder how cultural expectations will change in response to diminished opportunities for educated young Americans. We see a lot of backwards-looking tut-tutting about "these kids these days," but that's not very informative - that's just the old older looking at the new generation. As these bitter 25-year-olds become bitter, but more stable 35-year-olds, how will they raise their own children and affect their own institutions?

From what I've seen, an increasingly common answer is that they don't have children at all. Children are increasingly something that the average person will never be able to afford.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:57 AM on August 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


Blaming generational cohorts seems about as useful as astrology. The results produced during a given time period aren't those that everyone of that generation wanted; they're more like the terms of surrender, dictated by the victors.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let's talk about bootstraps. My grandfather's college education was paid for by the military. He 'took care of' his own education, ended debt free, and would not help my mother pay for hers. So she paid for her education by getting a part-time job. She 'took care of' her own education, ended debt free, and would not help me pay for mine. I worked constantly through college, sometimes holding two jobs in addition to my schoolwork, and I'm still swimming in thousands of dollars in debt. What's the difference? A tuition inflation rate that bears no relation to reality. Neither of them had to take out loans to afford their education. And neither of them had to fight for a job in an workforce where the retirement age keeps climbing.

Someone upthread suggested that we should be grateful for this, that now even the "moderately affluent" can buy a house. Yeah, it's my "passive mindset" that's stopping me. That's it.
posted by troika at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2011 [41 favorites]


Yeah, I misspoke, see my clarification above.

Point taken dunkadunc. This thread is moving fast. But to further clarify, the total American body count in World War 2 was 418,500, which includes 1700 civilians (mainly at Pearl Harbor). That's an insane statistic, and one which I feel must be considered when statements are made about the nature of the generation who had to endure that meat grinder as young boys/adults.

My dad served in the Canadian forces in Europe and, as a 19-20 year old saw all manner of intense frontline action in the last year of the war, to the extent that he never really shook it off, was never really able to fully enjoy the rest of his life, was still wrestling with its demons as he sunk into dementia in his early 80s. Yeah, he did well in business and drove okay cars and ended up in a nice home the likes of which I'll never be able to afford -- but would I trade NOT having had to endure a war in my youth for any of that? It's absurd to even think about it.
posted by philip-random at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I mentioned it before, but if you are looking for a nuanced and in-depth view of the effect of baby boomers on the wealth [potential] of today's twentysomethings, you absolutely have to read "The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Stole Their Children's Future" by David Willetts, a UK Conservative MP known as "Two Brains". It's strictly UK oriented, but it is a very good read even for Americans to get a sense of the underlying reasons for the economic pressure on Gen X and Y.

It's got the readability of a Malcolm Gladwell book but is basically a think tank paper.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


The word "Millennials" always reminds me of this article by Marilee Jones, dean of admissions at MIT, in September 2001 (this was fall of my freshman year, and the article ended up circulating fairly widely among students), from which I quote:
Consider the tension created when MIT Mature, Boomer and Gen X faculty, who are living their passion, teach Millennials, who want to learn the material just well enough to get a good grade so they can move on to the other 17 activities they have to master that day.
That's bullshit. At least, it didn't describe me or, as far as I could tell, most of my friends. (However, now I teach college and I feel it describes my students, so maybe Jones was just a few years too early?)
They do not need 30+ choices of living groups – they are busy…they just want a room
Having a choice of where I was going to live -- and therefore being able to live around people that I was actually comfortable with -- really helped me feel like I had some sort of home in the first year of college. As a result I adjusted to college a lot more easily than I did the two times since then that I've moved long distances.

So I have trouble taking anything about "Millennials" seriously because for most of the time I was in college it was a punchline to a bad joke. Although maybe it describes Kids These Days.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2011


I look forward to the reckless spending of Baby Boomers. They are all great customers for me and their market share is expanding. Of course, considering my field of work...
posted by ColdChef at 11:59 AM on August 14, 2011 [48 favorites]


Thorzdad: To become a licensed plumber or electrician requires training. Said training is now, largely, the purview of for-profit technical schools. Going through these programs will result in easily as much debt as a state university education and degree.

Not even close. Actually, I can't speak for the details of plumbing classroom training, but for electrician training, unless things have changed *radically* when I wasn't looking, you end up taking three years of night school, and each of those courses is about equivalent to a single college course. So you're looking at barely a quarter of the education as needed for a college degree. Even if the classes were prices equivalently per credit-hour, you're still looking at a bare fraction of the cost.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:01 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have to ask Coldchef - it it true that your business is recession proof?
posted by COD at 12:02 PM on August 14, 2011


COD: you'd think so, but eventually people will just start burying their loved ones in the backyard again.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:04 PM on August 14, 2011


The biggest difference between Millennials and Generation X is that the Millennials came of age with the internet as a normal fixture in middle-class American life.

Well, without getting into a full-on treatise about generational theory, the biggest difference between Gen X and Millennials is that Gen X are of a "Nomadic" generational style, meaning they were children during some form of Awakening (in this case, the Boomer "flower child counterculture"), and as such grew up feeling like the world around them was in flux while the generation which birthed them (the Silents) struggled to maintain the status quo against the influx of new ideas. Millennials, on the other hand, grew up in the period after all this upheaval passed, and as such were more protected by their parents, who caused the chaos against which they now wanted to defend their offspring, and generally have a sense of individualism and sense of confidence about their abilities to face the future as a result of the style of how they were parented.

Generational theory has a lot to do with how one's parents grew up and how they, in turn, parented their children, instilling a set of values and approaches to life which runs in broad strokes across the cohort group. It's a definite pendulum, with the children of one generation often embodying the shadow of their parents' generation as they come of age, and becoming more mellow and pragmatic and moving toward the middle as they age. This leads to them teaching their own children lessons, conscious and unconscious, about how the world works which become embodied and shadowed for the next part of the cycle.
posted by hippybear at 12:05 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, guys, it's obvious that us Millenials are just not cut out for this job market, economy be damned, it's just our fault.

I read that article when it initially came out. It was pathetic CNN dribble at best. Most notable was the "expert on Millenials" who claimed to be a Millenial herself, born in 1971 (squarely in Gen X). The whole thing was "get off my lawn" grar, and a poor attempt.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:06 PM on August 14, 2011


I have to ask Coldchef - it it true that your business is recession proof?

No, not at all. I sell consumables just like most industries. So when people are unable to buy my offerings, my profit takes a dip. Plus: no repeat business. (ba-dump-bump)

My job won't be affected too much. I live in and serve one of the most economically depressed areas in one of the poorest states. As more people die, it's more work for me, but as I've been saying a lot more lately, my job is becoming more and more about body disposal than life celebration. And that's pretty sad to see.
posted by ColdChef at 12:10 PM on August 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


COD: you'd think so, but eventually people will just start burying their loved ones in the backyard again.

Dude, I live in Louisiana! That's the land of the backyard burial. I've put caskets in the back of pickup trucks to drive across cow pastures to bury folks.
posted by ColdChef at 12:12 PM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think I'm actually a bit disturbed to learn that ColdChef is an undertaker and doesn't actually cook food for a living.

Unless he's married to Mrs. Lovett. That's possible, I suppose.
posted by hippybear at 12:15 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think that gin and tacos piece means what you think it means. It is ostensibly about how our parents, and grandparents, generation worked at a jobs we would find unfufilling and quit.

Speaking of which, my grandfather was a punch press operator his entire life. So I'm doing ok.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:15 PM on August 14, 2011


This kind of generational one-minute hate is completely counterproductive, but it serves the purposes of the uber-rich. There are plenty of boomers eating cat food thanks to the Great Slight Economic Turndown, and they are getting screwed by the lack of social services just like the young poor.
posted by benzenedream at 12:18 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


From Wikipedia's [List of Generations](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation#List_of_generations):
Generation Y, also known as iGen
Please tell me this is not true.
posted by Flunkie at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


We don't make things here any more. Used to be that if a person finished high school or dropped out, and no desire or interest or money for college, he or she could get work in a factory making stuff. Now we don't make stuff. So there are few jobs for those people. For those who go to college, there are few jobs because of automation and outsourcing, and "contract" workers.
So we now have lots of young people with dim prospect. The economy will improve in 2 or 2 years but the job market will not be what it once was.
posted by Postroad at 12:21 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


people born in the late 70s are the end of Gen X.

I recently discovered this, too. I went out and bought some plaid flanel shirts and grew a goatee and then found out we weren't doing that anymore. Anyone know what Gen X is up to these days? I want to make sure I don't look out of place.
posted by Hoopo at 12:21 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, they got out of World War 2, used the GI Bill to go to college (no loans) and entered the job market where the rest of the world was pretty much destroyed and the US was booming.
That doesn't describe any of my grandparents, fwiw. (And while two of then weren't typical Greatest Generation types, two of them were born in the US in 1921.) They didn't go to college. They had shitty, low-paying, non-union jobs that I wouldn't want to do. My grandfather had war-related PTSD, for which he never received any treatment or support. He died too young to ever collect social security.

I'm as bitter as the next X-er, but it's really easy to overstate this case.
posted by craichead at 12:22 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The World War Two generation endured severe recessions in 1946-1947 and the late 1950s, and an absolutley devastating period of savings-destroying inflation and slow growth alternating with severe recession starting in the early 1970s and going for ten years. However bad you feel about the future now has nothing on how a 60 year old World War Two vet would have felt in 1981.
posted by MattD at 12:24 PM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Greatest Generation didn't need to go to college to have a comfortable middle class life. My grandfather was injured in a kamikaze attack. After the war, he got a job with the USPS, put in 30 years, retired with a completely paid mortgage and a comfortable pension, and they spent winters in FL and summers at home in Boston until he died from cancer at about age 70 in the mid 80s.
posted by COD at 12:27 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Generation Y, also known as iGen

Please tell me this is not true.


I don't think anyone in the real world actually uses Generational Names, especially not their own. At least, most Gen Y-ers regard the name with the same wearied contempt we reserve for older generations telling us how we're just going to have to settle for a lower standard of living than theirs, something most of us figured out before we were sixteen because it's all anyone ever says to us.
posted by byanyothername at 12:30 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't heard iGen, but good lord do people in education like to talk about the Millennial Generation and How They Are. It gets a little tedious, especially since such discussions don't usually take into account how diverse the millennial generation (and any generation, really) is.
posted by craichead at 12:32 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't put money anywhere near the stock market if i can avoid it. I wish there was a way to avoid the stock market's effect on my life.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:34 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Generation Y is also a particularly bad name because it screams "we couldn't even think of anything that distinguishes you, so... um... Y is the letter after X?"
posted by madcaptenor at 12:35 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


It gets a little tedious, especially since such discussions don't usually take into account how diverse the millennial generation (and any generation, really) is.

Well, see.. it's when you try to apply a broad sweep theory to the granular of the individual that it always breaks down, isn't it?
posted by hippybear at 12:39 PM on August 14, 2011


There's nothing like listening to people from the wealthiest country in the world whining about how tough they have it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:40 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Generation Y is also a particularly bad name because it screams "we couldn't even think of anything that distinguishes you, so... um... Y is the letter after X?"
It gets worse than that. According to that same Wikipedia page, those born after Generation Y are Generation Z.

We're about due for a new one, as the earliest people claim Generation Z to be are those born starting in the early 1990s. So what's after Generation Z?

Generation A Prime, as in a cheesy sci fi story?

Generation AA, as in an Excel database?

Generation Open Square Bracket, as in the ASCII table?
posted by Flunkie at 12:41 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's nothing like listening to people from the wealthiest country in the world whining about how tough they have it.

Well, it's all relative, especially when you're talking about comparing a current generation's prospects to previous ones.

Still, our youth didn't just spend a major portion of last week rioting, looking, and burning their neighborhoods to the ground, so at least all they're doing is whining a bit.
posted by hippybear at 12:43 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why did we have to go and let Germany get reconstructed???
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2011


There's nothing like listening to people from the wealthiest country in the world whining about how tough they have it.

Wouldn't that be wingeing?
posted by telstar at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2011


So what's after Generation Z?

Generation A Plus, as in if colleges still exist by the time these kids go to college, A Plus will be the only grade given.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


It gets worse than that. According to that same Wikipedia page, those born after Generation Y are Generation Z.

We're about due for a new one, as the earliest people claim Generation Z to be are those born starting in the early 1990s. So what's after Generation Z?


Well, y'all need to get off that page and look at the Strauss & Howe summary page, which lays all this theory out much more concisely.

They list Gen X and the Millennials, the leading edge of which comes of age around 2000, and then a "New Silent Generation", which is largely a projective name based on the previous cycle, because these names are generally descriptive and best discovered after the fact. The New Silent started being born about a decade ago, and are largely the children of Gen Xers. They will see the country through the next Fourth Turning, and will help usher the US through its current time of crisis into a newly defined age for the nation, like all other generations which they echo going back through the years.
posted by hippybear at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


The Millennial generation tag also nicely captures some of the mood of religious fundamentalism that this generation ended up fighting on behalf of the boomers.
posted by HLD at 12:49 PM on August 14, 2011


From Wikipedia's [List of Generations](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation#List_of_generations):

So according to that I'm Baby Boom, born in 1959 ...

The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, about 1946 up to approximately 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.

But just to a throw a little wrench into the generational generalizing that seems to be the favorite sport of many these days, a few thoughts about being born comparatively late in a generation that was "marked by an increase in birth rates":

- class sizes were always BIG, my whole way through school
- I had to share a locker in high school until Grade 10
- many of my high school classes took place in portable classrooms erected around the main school building
- I graduated high school into a big recession and high unemployment because the older boomers had all the jobs
- I graduated university into another big recession and high unemployment because the older boomers had all the jobs
- I was into my 30s before anyone I knew could afford their home (except the rich kids whose parents covered them)

And so on. There's also the fact that when we were young, there was no "new information economy" to get all excited about. I doubt I even heard the word internet until I was in my 30s. We were stuck at the dog end of an old economy and world. Our older brothers and sisters may have been flourishing but the best we ever got from the demographics was their crumbs. Not that I'm complaining, just bearing witness. And anyway, my demographic got to invent punk rock. That was fun. Pissing off all those smug ex-hippies turning quickly into yuppies.

And finally, Doug Coupland, who wrote Generation X, was born in 1961.
posted by philip-random at 12:51 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


We're about due for a new one, as the earliest people claim Generation Z to be are those born starting in the early 1990s. So what's after Generation Z?

My understanding is that it's going to work like the "bajillion free lives" thing in Super Mario and start using random symbols instead of letters and numbers.
posted by Hoopo at 12:51 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Generation Scapegoat.
Generation Sin-Eater.
Generation Holy Shit.
Generation Bound Isaac.
Generation Screwed Pooch.
Generation Icarus.
Generation Saturn's Children.
Generation Ivan Strikes Out With His Scepter Just A Little Harder Than He Intended.
Generation Whoops.
Generation Cherry Orchard.
Generation It Was Coming Sooner Or Later.
Generation Weary Sigh.
Generation You Can Get Used To Anything.
Generation Interesting Times.
posted by Your Disapproving Father at 12:52 PM on August 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Well, see.. it's when you try to apply a broad sweep theory to the granular of the individual that it always breaks down, isn't it?
Yeah, but it's not even that. It's that the discussions tend to universalize social factors that aren't universal. I've found that the How Millennials Are discussions are most likely to be true of middle to upper-middle-class kids from the suburbs and significantly less likely to be true of working-class kids from small towns or cities, for instance.
posted by craichead at 12:54 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


People using generational names are not typically following Strauss and Howe's own generational theory.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2011


most likely to be true of middle to upper-middle-class kids from the suburbs

In other words, the children of journalists.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm special, I'm an Indigo child.
posted by Omon Ra at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't somewhat counterproductive to blame an entire generation, not all of whom benefitted equally, than the look at who now is coming out on top?

Only in the same way it's counter-productive to talk about white privelege, or patriarchy.

I don't think that gin and tacos piece means what you think it means. It is ostensibly about how our parents, and grandparents, generation worked at a jobs we would find unfufilling and quit.

That's certainly a stereotype people who have voted to slash sending on education in favour of tax cuts and protecting a comfortable returement like to impose on their kids and grand-kids.
posted by rodgerd at 12:59 PM on August 14, 2011


I'm special, I'm a snowflake.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:59 PM on August 14, 2011


most likely to be true of middle to upper-middle-class kids from the suburbs

In other words, the children of journalists.


Journalists are upper-middle-class now? When did that happen?

I'm special, I'm an Indigo child.

Fuck that shit. I'm a Chrysalid.
posted by philip-random at 1:00 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Journalists are upper-middle-class now? When did that happen?

I meant the kind of journalists that write the stupid trend pieces in the New York Times that make massive generalizations about How Things Are. I did not mean all journalists.

Yes I am aware that I was generalizing in order to mock the generalizers.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:03 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe they should join up with the military and go pacify Afghanistan instead of moping around playing xbox all day or rioting like their peers in the UK. They could at least have the sense to go camp out in a local public square and demand some of that change they said they wanted. Maybe if they showed some goddamned initiative they'd be worth hiring.
posted by humanfont at 1:03 PM on August 14, 2011


Ok , I'm on board with this. Fuck boomers, they got the sexual revolution and all that good coke in the 70s and 80s. Now they are chilling playing nickel slots and eating prime rib at the buffet. All they had to put up with is Vietnam, which they jut won't shut the fuck up about, and that malaise malarky we went through for a while there. I wouldn't want to be one of The Greatest Generation though, they had dustbowls and the depression and WW II, those fuckers had it rough.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worth hiring? Worth hiring for what? Where are these positions that young folks are not showing initiative for?

Enjoy your tax breaks.
posted by troika at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I, for one, am applying to grad school.
posted by silby at 1:18 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look, look people; Just read the fourth turning and it will all be apparent what is happening.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 1:21 PM on August 14, 2011


I don't think that gin and tacos piece means what you think it means. It is ostensibly about how our parents, and grandparents, generation worked at a jobs we would find unfufilling and quit.


Honey, if you had that job your head would explode from boredom and lack of stimulation in about a week. We'd never hear the end of how you feel unfulfilled and you'd probably quit to go "find yourself" or something before the pension vested.

What a wheelbarrow full of bullshit. You know what I would find fulfilling? Economic security so I can go do real fulfilling things at home.

Needing a fulfilling career is a personality trait, not a generational trait.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:25 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone know what Gen X is up to these days?

Speaking just for myself, still sort of surly and my hair's still a mess and my attitude still needs improvement.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


The problem, IMO, apart from the cultural failures that led us to this point, is the actual, underlying instability of the current US labor market--the status quo makes it nearly impossible for the labor force to anticipate market demands, and creates economic uncertainty on the labor side. And one of the major contributors to this problem is the weakness of organized labor in the US, because good, strong unions promote labor market stability.

All that "economic certainty" that's always touted as so crucial to success on the supply-side, isn't balanced by economic certainty on the labor side. Capital's more recent attitudes toward economic order and stability have destabilized and disordered the US labor markets, so that most people are never allowed to develop actual careers with any permanence, but are instead forced to take whatever jobs are available on a contingency basis to get by--and there's been a deliberate, concerted push to make the US workforce more mobile (meaning, willing to break up their families and communities in order to pursue job opportunities wherever they may arise) for years now on the capital side. Humans are not and never will be the interchangeable widgets of supply-side economic theorists' fantasies, and workers are not "resources" like lumber but investments for the public good.

The fact is, no one can responsibly plan for their future career when the market for labor is in such an unstable and chimera-like state. Strong and powerful unions very likely might have averted the destabilization of the US labor markets, if they'd made further inroads here early on and had achieved sustained popular and political support, but that ship's sailed now, so where we go from here looks pretty murky to me.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:35 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm as into the boomer hate as the next person, but in all seriousness I think this is much more a class thing than a generational thing. I know too many boomers who are facing the very real possibility of "retirement" of years more working rather than, you know, actually being able to retire, to be comfortable with easy generational stereotypes.
posted by Forktine at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Another poll, of Americans ages 18 to 29, found that three-quarters of them expect to delay a major life change or purchase because of economic factors. The survey — released last week, just before the Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt — was by the nonprofit Generation Opportunity, headed by Paul Conway.

"There's a generation here being formed under the crucible of unemployment, debt and lack of economic chances," said Conway, who was chief of staff at the Labor Department during the George W. Bush administration.
Ha ha, jokes on all of you, this is part of drowning the government in the bathtub the phoney debt crisis.
During the fight in Congress this summer over the debt ceiling, frustrated college students some young Republicans banded together to form a coalition called Do We Have a Deal Yet? John Glass, 21, was one of more than 100 student body presidents who signed a public letter produced by the group.

"Our generation is going to take the brunt of the force of the debt crisis," said Glass, a government major at St. Lawrence University in New York. "It's going to mean fewer jobs, higher interest rates, more debt.
There is no debt crisis, US Bonds are fucking cheap. There is a job crisis, an economic crisis, and a political crisis. Right-wing political agitprop... sacrifice, let Hank Paulson make some sacrifices first:
"Maybe I'm being naive, but I would like to see the fiscal deficit be the centerpiece of the campaign. Then whoever wins feels motivated to come in and solve these problems. But the electorate's gotta be educated. Because right now, you know what voters are telling Washington? "We want benefits that we don't want to pay for." And how selfish is that? Because all of you who are students here, your parents want what I want for my kids. I want them to have the same opportunity I had. And I've made great sacrifices for them to have that opportunity. But in our country, we have my generation being incredibly selfish, not willing to make a sacrifice -- and the people will pay for it is the next generation. But anyway, I think we need a mandate."
posted by ennui.bz at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe if they showed some goddamned initiative they'd be worth hiring.

That's a pretty big maybe, isn't it? Like the size of the solar system, maybe?

Or what troika said.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 1:59 PM on August 14, 2011


Another poll, of Americans ages 18 to 29, found that three-quarters of them expect to delay a major life change or purchase because of economic factors.

Just like three-quarters of Americans ages 30 to 65?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:00 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm as into the boomer hate as the next person, but in all seriousness I think this is much more a class thing than a generational thing. I know too many boomers who are facing the very real possibility of "retirement" of years more working rather than, you know, actually being able to retire, to be comfortable with easy generational stereotypes.

I dunno, I feel pretty okay with blaming the people for letting the union power wane.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2011


So are the young'uns going to vote republican or democrat or neither?
posted by IndigoJones at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2011


yeah, ok, fine

just wait til YOU have kids
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on August 14, 2011


Maybe if they showed some goddamned initiative they'd be worth hiring.

It's pretty damned hard to show any initiative when you've been watching your parents, and your friends' parents lose jobs for no damned good reason other than to prop-up corporate bottom lines. If there's anything the last 20 or so years have shown workers, it's that initiative doesn't mean dick. It doesn't earn you anything other than, maybe, an extra-special "good luck" when you're right-sized.

If corporate America is unhappy with the quality of the workforce, they have only themselves to blame.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


Worth hiring? Worth hiring for what? Where are these positions that young folks are not showing initiative for?

I'm not a monster, and I'm not monster.com. Perhaps you should try medical school or nursing.
posted by humanfont at 2:06 PM on August 14, 2011


Thorzdad To become a licensed plumber or electrician requires training. Said training is now, largely, the purview of for-profit technical schools. Going through these programs will result in easily as much debt as a state university education and degree.

rmd1023 Not even close. Actually, I can't speak for the details of plumbing classroom training, but for electrician training, unless things have changed *radically* when I wasn't looking, you end up taking three years of night school, and each of those courses is about equivalent to a single college course.

I think in parts of the US where there are not strong trade unions, the process is as Thorzdad describes it. In large Northeastern US cities the process remains as rmd1023 describes it.
posted by mlis at 2:13 PM on August 14, 2011


A quick spot-check of several different states shows that requirements are similar to what I listed. What states require anything approaching a bachelor-degree level of education for an electrician's license?
posted by rmd1023 at 2:17 PM on August 14, 2011


But even in the construction trades in NYC where apprentices pay almost nothing for their training, unemployment in some unions is ~ 40% per some of the guys I have talked to.
posted by mlis at 2:18 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What states require anything approaching a bachelor-degree level of education for an electrician's license?

I wasn't talking about the level of the education. I was merely talking about the cost of getting the required education. In many places in the country, there are no public-funded trade schools or night schools anymore. The for-profit school is the new trade-school for an increasing number of young people. And those things are not cheap.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:24 PM on August 14, 2011



Worth hiring? Worth hiring for what? Where are these positions that young folks are not showing initiative for?

I'm not a monster, and I'm not monster.com. Perhaps you should try medical school or nursing.


"Get a job you lazy bum!" may be okay advice for an individual (medical school used as the example for it though...okay) but it's not a solution to widespread unemployment. There aren't enough positions for everyone and those fields require a certain type of person.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think we'll get the last laugh when we dump their old asses in a substandard nursing home.
posted by Renoroc at 2:26 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course the economy skyrocketed after the war and kept going -- there was literally years of consumer demand pent up.

No of course about it. Economists at the time were terrified that the new massive debt and sudden shutting down of defense plants was going to unleash a whole new depression. One reason for the GI bill was to keep the servicemen from flooding the job market. And, incidentally, one reason why corporate America frowned on two income couples.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:27 PM on August 14, 2011


my best friend, in his early 50s, is a journeyman electrician

he is currently working part time at dollar general and does odd jobs on the side

times are pretty tough
posted by pyramid termite at 2:33 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked this article the first time I read it, right around the time I was graduating from college in 1991. I'm not sure that today's kids will be excited about being an echo of GenX, however.
posted by jscalzi at 2:40 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not a monster, and I'm not monster.com. Perhaps you should try medical school or nursing.

I guess if you really, really want to compete with 100 more qualified applicants for every opening, that'd be a good way to go. Hospitals are not hiring anywhere near as many doctors and nurses as schools are pumping out.

The thing about the boomer bubble that Job Prospects Forecasters don't seem to want to admit is that it's just not that big anymore. A lot of boomers -- a lot -- are already in the ground, and the bulk of the rest will be gone in the next fifteen to twenty years.

New high school grads choosing a medical career hoping to benefit from the aging population are basically begging to be laid off at age 35.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


In many places in the country, there are no public-funded trade schools or night schools anymore.

Are you completely ignoring community colleges? Because a lot of them seem to offer trade degrees and aren't THAT expensive to attend.

I guess if you really, really want to compete with 100 more qualified applicants for every opening, that'd be a good way to go. Hospitals are not hiring anywhere near as many doctors and nurses as schools are pumping out.

This depends largely on where you live. In this area, indeed.com is about 50% health care position ads, which is a bit overwhelming at times if you're not in that market.
posted by hippybear at 2:49 PM on August 14, 2011


It's called "tragedy of the commons".

All of the corporations took a shit in the labour markets by "right-sizing" and "off-shoring" assuming that there would always be the middle-class around to buy their product. All of the financiers took a shit in the capital markets by selling trash bonds assuming that there would always be suckers around to buy them. All of the politicians took a shit in government by pandering to their extremists assuming there would be a rational middle majority around to keep things mostly sane and on track. All of the rich people took a shit in the economy by soaking up vast quantities of money not spending it on much of anything except paper.

The point is: all of these big players did this stuff assuming the world was so big that their own bad behaviour wouldn't come back and bite them on the ass. And now they're discovering that the world isn't so big after all, and when everyone takes a shit in the garden it isn't a garden anymore, it's a midden.

And the only thing we can do with all this shit is suck it up.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:49 PM on August 14, 2011 [39 favorites]


That's right seanmpuckett, and the first inkling I had of that was when Reagan took office. That's when we started cannibalizing this country for mass profit. What we're reading about in this thread are the withered dried up remains we have to deal with and try to revitalize.
posted by snsranch at 2:58 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of the corporations took a shit in the labour markets by "right-sizing" and "off-shoring" assuming that there would always be the middle-class around to buy their product.

This; but you can't let consumers off the hook. Given the opportunity to pay a little less for products made more cheaply overseas, most were thrilled.
posted by Slothrup at 2:59 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm traveling through France at the moment. I wanted to buy an Alka-Seltzer and an apple, so I went to a supermarket. Turns out you can't buy an Alka-Seltzer at the supermarket. You can't buy even the most minor medicine at the supermarket. I bought my apple, walked down the street to a pharmacy and bought an Alka-Seltzer there. I know France has a lot of problems competition-wise, and going to two places instead of one is somewhat impractical, but that to me kind of made sense: Two people are employed, two distinct businesses have to exist, two entities are paying rent, two businesses are paying taxes. And I'm betting the reason you cant buy medicine in a supermarket is very simple: the pharmacist union. This model might have a lot of problems but there has to be a way between a mindless free market and complete government control.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:00 PM on August 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


" My wife is a teacher, and is endlessly frustrated by the fact that there's still tremendous pressure on her by parents and the administration to tell kids that a college degree is a necessity at whatever cost. She can't tell kids to become plumbers or electricians...."
Crazy thing is, electricians and plumbers are in such short commodity right now that they're apparently being paid a HUGE ton of money.
My dad's in construction, and he's told me it's difficult to not only find lay-people to do the work but to do the work -well-. I almost wish I'd chosen a job like that, rather than computers (even though that field is relatively strong too from where I'm sitting)
posted by DisreputableDog at 3:03 PM on August 14, 2011


AndrewKemendo: "Look, look people; Just read the fourth turning and it will all be apparent what is happening."

I read that book in 2000 (it was published in 1997), yet it's still an amazing guide to the current day. Very few futurology books can claim that.
posted by stbalbach at 3:50 PM on August 14, 2011


AndrewKemendo: "Look, look people; Just read the fourth turning and it will all be apparent what is happening."

I read that book in 2000 (it was published in 1997), yet it's still an amazing guide to the current day. Very few futurology books can claim that.


I've always wondered if it was possible to read that book, absorb the theory, and then force the cycles to speed up or slow down or just break down.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:56 PM on August 14, 2011


Another very good book along the lines of The Fourth Turning is The Age Curve .. it arrives at similar results but from a different angle, demographics. I found it more credible as it doesn't rely on mystical forces of generations, but simple math and economics. The two approaches are useful for predicting the future. One thing I learned was that a tiny slowdown or contraction in a market can result in huge effects. So even a 10% reduction in the size of a generational cohort can have major effects across markets, which of course effects everything. With Baby Boomers aging out, the smaller Gen X is unable to maintain GDP and tax revenue growth resulting in what appears to be rising public debt and waves of market crashes. The good news is the Millenials are a big cohort (bigger than the Boomers I think), but the leading edge is only about 29 or 30 years old (on average 19 or 20 yo) so it's too soon for them to have the impact needed. But maybe in 4 or 5 years..
posted by stbalbach at 4:01 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Old people are also why black people and women can vote, why you can fly from one end of America to the other before half a day has elapsed, why you have all manner of iJunk (you think Steve Jobs is one of your generation, or mine? is he hell), why you won't be reduced to a gibbering, pants-pissing wreck should you come down with the syph and why we're able to use this medium to communicate at all right now. Old people did a lot. If we're comfortable somehow apportioning blame to entire generations -- made up of people who, like most of us, were largely passive observers of life's rich pageant, however much they might have liked to change the course of human events in one way or another -- then we should be comfortable apportioning credit, too. The fuck have you given the world?"

Sure...but they have also had years to accomplish these things. Are you really trying to guilt myself and other 20-somethings about not having contributed meaningfully to the world? I'm 24! I'm just starting out. Or, I should say, trying to start out. I have a Master's degree in education because I would like to change the world through empowering young people. Do I get to do that? No. Why? Because there are no jobs for me. Want us to change the world? It be nice if we were given the opportunity to. Until that happens, I'll keep trying to live on minimum wage with $60K in loans looming over me.
posted by delicate_dahlias at 4:10 PM on August 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


The previous generation lived large on a national credit card and I'll... be skipping town for Canada. Or New Zealand. Or any country that isn't pulling the ladder up. I hear Benin is nice in the Winter.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:11 PM on August 14, 2011


The good news is the Millenials are a big cohort (bigger than the Boomers I think)
That might be true in terms of sheer numbers, but it's not true in terms of sheer numbers per sheer numbers of other people alive at the same time. Per capita birth rates of Gen Y are less than 2/3rds what they were of Boomers.
posted by Flunkie at 4:18 PM on August 14, 2011


"The fuck have you given the world?"

internet kitteh videos?
posted by Windopaene at 4:19 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The problem with working in the trades at the small scale is that your work load is very responsive to everyone else's economic conditions. When people aren't spending money building and fixing up their homes, there's a lot less work. Yes, there are emergency calls and the work that really can't wait, but as economic conditions get bad, people become more likely to do it themselves (often badly) or get some guy who knows some guy who'll do an unprofessional job of it for a fraction of the price.

Thorzdad: I wasn't talking about the level of the education. I was merely talking about the cost of getting the required education.
Yeah - I misspoke, there - I was thinking of the cost of education but failed to actually express that part. Stoopid fingers. But even if it's a for-profit school, are there schools charging 4x the cost per credit of a local college? The required trade education is about 1/4 (maybe less?) of the credit hours compared to a college bachelor's. Are there actually people regularly racking up college-level debt (which I think of as into the 10's of thousands of dollars) to become plumbers and electricians?
posted by rmd1023 at 4:45 PM on August 14, 2011


Some of us Boomers like Michael Moore, here, blame the Greatest Generation for getting us into this mess.

Just adding fuel to the blame-the-generation fire.
posted by kozad at 4:51 PM on August 14, 2011


duncadunc's grandmother: "Why do young people these days need money from us? When I was young you would go work for free as an apprentice and learn a trade", for example.

My grandmother couldn't tell the difference between economics and ideology either. She blamed the Irish. This is just to point out that a lot of great folks who have lived through all kinds of world events have zero understanding of either their own era or the current one.

postroad: "We don't make things here any more."

Is this really true?

"When total import content is considered, 13.9% of U.S. consumer spending can be traced to the cost of imported goods and services..."
posted by sneebler at 4:54 PM on August 14, 2011


postroad: "We don't make things here any more."

Well, I don't know about "make things"... but most of our spending goes toward services, groceries, and gasoline, all of which is produced in the USA.
posted by hippybear at 5:02 PM on August 14, 2011


We do make tons of things here (Yglesias posted some good graphs of this recently, I can't find them right now but seem to recall that immediately pre-recession we were doing more manufacturing, in adjusted dollar terms, than ever before); we just don't employ many people to make those things- automation has eaten that away. That's obviously a problem, but it's a very different problem, with different policy solutions, than "we don't make things anymore."
posted by louie at 5:18 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a Master's degree in education because I would like to change the world through empowering young people. Do I get to do that? No. Why? Because there are no jobs for me.

Keep searching. It takes more than a few months and faxing out resumes to change the world.
posted by humanfont at 5:41 PM on August 14, 2011


Humanfont, are you seriously just gonna continue to wave away the problems of 10% unemployment with LOOK HARDER and GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL!?

Cause it's kind of stupid.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sure...but they have also had years to accomplish these things. Are you really trying to guilt myself and other 20-somethings about not having contributed meaningfully to the world? I'm 24!

At what point do you become responsible for all the terrible things that have happened in the world? Is it 25? 35? 50? 60? Is it never? More to the point, at what point did the generations preceding yours become responsible for the predicament in which you currently find yourself? I guess they weren't culpable at 24; back then, they were just living life, you know. At 25, should they have known enough to not vote for the infamous Fuck the Future Kids Act of 19whatevs?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:55 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Humanfont, how old are you? How long did it take you to find your first professional job? The allusion to faxing leads me to believe that it's been a long time since you sent out a resume.

Yes, it takes more than a few months of sending resumes to "change the world." But you know what's probably more urgent to him/her? It's awfully difficult to do much of anything with $60k worth of loans. Yes, med school, that's the solution. Delicate_dahlias wants to empower young people through education, but who cares, give 'em a scalpel and another $100k in loan debt!

Delicate_dahlias is 24 and has a master's in education. She wants to empower young people, not loaf around the video game controller. Come on.
posted by troika at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Old people are also why black people and women can vote, why you can fly from one end of America to the other before half a day has elapsed, why you have all manner of iJunk (you think Steve Jobs is one of your generation, or mine? is he hell), why you won't be reduced to a gibbering, pants-pissing wreck should you come down with the syph and why we're able to use this medium to communicate at all right now. Old people did a lot. If we're comfortable somehow apportioning blame to entire generations -- made up of people who, like most of us, were largely passive observers of life's rich pageant, however much they might have liked to change the course of human events in one way or another -- then we should be comfortable apportioning credit, too. The fuck have you given the world?"

The money to pay for the bill racked up by all of that.

I kind of wanted to use that for my own accomplishments, but y'all did a runner, so....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The money to pay for the bill racked up by all of that.

I kind of wanted to use that for my own accomplishments, but y'all did a runner, so....


Uh-huh, but what I mean is, what exactly should everyday people have done differently to avoid this massive bill? Because when we blame "the boomers" or "the greatest generation" or -- somehow, in some way unfathomable to me, since as far as I can tell we're lucky if we're not living off of cat food and Jiffy-Pop -- "generation X," we're blaming people who I am just at a loss to think of how they could realistically have affected world events in such a way that these problems would never have occurred. If you want to take Wall Street to task, okay. A representative of a generation? Those people were just, have always been, simply trying to get along.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:11 PM on August 14, 2011


Humanfont, how old are you? How long did it take you to find your first professional job?

i'd like to give you a piece of unwanted advice - if you get paid for it, it's professional and you should treat it as such - don't do it for them, do it for yourself

trust me - you may not get paid worth shit for what you do, but the discipline you acquire in doing something you don't want to do well will help you when you finally find the job you want to do
posted by pyramid termite at 6:22 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uh-huh, but what I mean is, what exactly should everyday people have done differently to avoid this massive bill?

Nothing really differently then.

But what you could do NOW is, stop asking Congress to cut taxes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 PM on August 14, 2011


Humanfont, how old are you? How long did it take you to find your first professional job? The allusion to faxing leads me to believe that it's been a long time since you sent out a resume.

I guess the get off my lawn and go to med school bit was funnier in my head. You win. Good luck millennial job seekers.
posted by humanfont at 7:06 PM on August 14, 2011


The allusion to faxing leads me to believe that it's been a long time since you sent out a resume.

Actually, the latest thing on Craigslist that I've seen is that job posters are unwilling to open attachments due to fear of viruses and trojans, so they request either a physical copy of one's resume presented in person or delivered by mail...

...or faxed to them.

And those requests/options are in job postings that I've seen from the past month by relatively non-luddite companies.
posted by hippybear at 7:16 PM on August 14, 2011


Your joke is our future. What more needs to be said.
posted by troika at 7:16 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


we're blaming people who I am just at a loss to think of how they could realistically have affected world events in such a way that these problems would never have occurred

At the barest minimum, not 'electing' Bush in 2000 would have been a nice start. And while I'm making a list, not re-electing Bush in 2004. I would be happy with those things. Sure, it's not fixing social security or taking steps to protect the environment, but if the only nice thing the Boomers ever did for me in their entire lives was stay home in 2000 and 2004 and not vote for Bush, that would be enough. Yes, I know not every boomer voted for Bush. But in 2000 I didn't get to vote at all, and yet, now that the bill for that stupid war is coming due, here I am paying taxes, when I can make money at all, and in general being totally fucked. So I guess you're right, I'm really just blaming about half the people. The others couldn't have done anything.
posted by crackingdes at 7:23 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks like all that irritating history shit that ended in 1989 is about to reboot itself like a motherfucker.
posted by codacorolla at 7:23 PM on August 14, 2011


Every generation has a story told to it when it's a little thing still playing in the nursery. That story becomes the dream of the adolescents. It becomes the aspiration of the graduates, the goal of the mid-career worker, and but for a successful few, the regret of the elderly.

The story changes as times change because it isn't just told by one's parents. It's told by your childhood friends, by your teachers, by storybooks and comic books, by music and movies, by newspapers, magazines and websites, and by advertisements. It's what your parents told you was good + what they told you was bad, plus everything else happening all around you.

Each generation has a story, a dream, an aspiration.

And for five generations -- the Boomers through the Millenials, that story included at its core a whimsical fairytale: a land of limitless possibilities, a land of boundless energy, a land where everyone can have anything they want if they just work hard enough. A land, more specifically, where every family is landed gentry with their own private castle, chariot, resident entertainment troupe, and, of course, singing mice.

And for many, that fairy tale was possible. For five decades the American family could reasonably expect to wind up with a little house with a little fence and a little car and a COLOUR television and every modern labour-saving appliance the heart could desire.

And in the first decade, that was easy, almost a piece of cake. Papa back from the war and mama back from the factory, flush with money and eager to spend it, moved into tract homes springing up like mushrooms and raised their boomer kids, papa off in the office and mama at home with an apron, in a land of plenty where almost anything indeed was possible.

And it was possible: because of the utterly vast amount of money being spent on it. Austerity out of style and war bonds and army savings cashed in to make all these dreams possible. And making those dreams possible, a new workforce -- just back from the war! -- getting paid, flipping money, keeping everything humming.

But the money runs out. Ran out. After two decades, the story has to change to where mom can't really stay home all the time any longer, because dad's office income just isn't enough for the two cars plus the mortgage. She'll get a job -- but because it's the dream, right, it's not a bad thing, it's not a job, it's a career. It's personal fulfillment! Self actualization! And now mom + dad both working can power the machine of dreams for two more decades.

But the money runs out again. Now mom and dad working together can't really afford the houses which are suddenly so much more expensive. And the car payments. And energy is becoming so much more expensive. And so is food. And medical payments -- woah, while the standard of care is going up and up, the bills are skyrocketing!

So let's just put that new TV on credit. Let's do a 5 year loan for the minivan they need to haul the kids around, because you sure can't walk anywhere anymore. Let's just put 10% down on the house. No, 0%. We don't have $20K in the bank right now, but we can afford mortgage insurance! Oh, look, the neighbours got a boat/rv/addition/went to Greece -- we deserve that. Let's get a second mortgage. Put it on credit. You're getting a raise, right? And grandma's got some money and she's pretty sick so we know we'll get something there.

And the story that's been told for fifty years -- the one with the fairytale castle in it, you know? -- is now so far out of reach, but so ingrained into our spirits, that we're willing to do anything to get it. But since we've already mortgaged our own futures, and spent those of our parents, the only futures left... are those of the children.

And so the bullshit starts to fly. We start lying to each other about how awesome everything is. The markets? Going up, buy your swaps today! Real-estate bubble? Not hardly, just build some more houses! Oil shortage? Nonsense, we just need to secure the Middle East! Political shenanigans? Ridiculous, the voters are behind us 100%! Trade deficit? Impossible, just look at how much value we add! Environmental disaster? Horse-shit, those scientists are morons and aren't sure of anything & besides those scientists are bright enough to figure out how to fix anything!

And that's where we are today.

We've been stealing future from our children by lying to each other about how the fairytale is still possible if we only work hard enough for so long that we've spent every dime our great-grandparents invested, our grandparents saved, our parents worked for, and that we got on easy credit so now there's not a fucking dime left anywhere except in the pockets of the wealthy people who knew all along that it was just... a fairytale.

A silly story the little people told each other to keep ourselves happy and keep the economy humming along for a half-century or so. Running up more debt each generation.

But not just financial debt: Energy debt. Political debt. Ecological debt. We've spent everything there was on our own fairytale wish fulfillment and now the only thing left is two hundred million shabby little castles (double mortgaged), four hundred million chariots (that we can barely afford to fuel), and endless distractions on six hundred million video screens.

It's time to change the story we tell our children, because it's a lie. Stop telling them about castles and chariots and an infinite list of things they can own, because they can't fucking have them anymore, because those things have ruined the world.

Start telling them instead about peace, about co-existence, about mutual respect, about dense living, about revitalized urban cores, about multiple use zoning, about shared green spaces and environmental stewardship, about rational thought, about an economy based not on an invisible hand (which is jammed up your ass whether you can feel it or not) but on a visible one that gently guides the market away from short-term gains and towards long-term investment.

Tomorrow isn't going to look anything like the covers of Popular Mechanics and Better Homes and Gardens from fifty years ago, but the sun is going keep coming up day after day.

And babies are going to keep being born.

So let's tell them stories about the stuff that they can have, and do what we can -- despite all of our (and our parents, and their parents) fuck-ups -- to help them get there, to a real, practical world of tomorrow.

Hey, it's either that or wallow around burning the last few barrels of oil and slowly choking to death on our own fumes as the oceans rise and the barbarians destroy civilization to find that a last can of potted meat before we all fucking starve.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:37 PM on August 14, 2011 [41 favorites]


I'm sympathetic, crackingdes, but isn't that the plight of every generation? My grandparents were way too young to vote for Hoover, but they were still screwed by the Depression. (I think they could vote by the time the US entered World War II, but plenty of people who died in that war couldn't, since the voting age in the US was 21 and the draft age was 18.) The Boomers who went to Vietnam didn't get a say in the policies that led to that war. Every generation, for better or for worse, has to live with the decisions of the people who went before them.

Anyway, if you want to blame someone for Bush getting elected, blame the Xers, because a whole lot of us didn't vote.
posted by craichead at 7:38 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I mean to say, maybe, is this...

In a way, the generation warfare thing IS bullshit, because there were plenty of people my parents' age who fought for progress and built important things and struggled to give the next generation a better world than the one they were born into, and in some ways they succeeded, clearly. (My parents weren't among them, for what it's worth.) But while we're more free in many ways (my sister who can build a life with her female partner, for example), we're also inheriting a world that's been stressed to the breaking point in many others: economically, environmentally. Perhaps it's selfish of me to wish that an older generation had begun rebuilding America's infrastructure, and fighting a serious battle to reverse environmental and ecological damage, and not let labor rights slip away. Perhaps every generation has their own battle to fight.

But, generalizations being what they are... If, in 25 years, I can't hand off to my children a world that offers more economic opportunities, a stronger public infrastructure, and a recovering environment, then I am going to feel that my GENERATION has failed our kids. I hope I will have worked hard enough until then that I will not feel that I personally failed. But even if I do everything I can, and it doesn't happen, then I am going to feel that yes, as a generation we did not perform the task that was given to us.
posted by crackingdes at 7:40 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


(By which I mean a whole lot of people of my generation didn't vote. I did vote, fat lot of good it did me.)
posted by craichead at 7:40 PM on August 14, 2011


And for five generations -- the Boomers through the Millenials

Um... that's only 3 generations. Boomers -> 13th Gen (Gen X) -> Millennials.
posted by hippybear at 7:49 PM on August 14, 2011


I've struggled for many years to get my "baby boomer" friends and family to get their info and news from outlets other than TV. Unfortunately, they are all addicted to FOX and friends and buy into every thing that's broadcast almost religiously. Their naiveness about things that are simply common knowledge to the rest of us is mind boggling.

I know that they spent perhaps an entire lifetime with the likes of Walter Cronkite who was a trustworthy journalist and news guy, but times have changed. I don't know of any boomers who don't almost religiously follow FOX other than the few of you here on MeFi.

FWIW, I don't blame the boomers for anything other than being a huge uninformed voting block that isn't doing anyone any favors by continuously voting republican and crazy nutso.

Another FWIW; there are other HUGE voting blocks that aren't doing their job. So if you have a chance, spread the word to your Afro-American and Latino buddies. I know you guys already feel disenfranchised, but it's going to get worse unless you get out there and vote your asses off!

That's all I got. Cheers!
posted by snsranch at 8:05 PM on August 14, 2011


Your joke is our future. What more needs to be said.

You are not the first generation to graduate from college in the middle of a recession and have to go through a long period of job seeking before you find a job. You want a job, I've got w lawn that doesn't mow itself and you are just standing there. Of course you could go to med school. Try using one of the many financial aid programs that don't saddle you with so much debt though. The BLS currently shows a very low <4% unemployment rate for physicians and expects demand to grow 18-22%/year with a median income over $100K/year.
posted by humanfont at 8:08 PM on August 14, 2011


Are you trying to be funny again, humanfont? It's hard for me to tell, but if so, it's not working. And if not, you need to get a grip.
posted by craichead at 8:13 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you see some flaw with humanfont's plan to send every single unemployed person to medical school, well, sir, I'd like to hear it.
posted by gerryblog at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


do you want people to mow lawns or go to med school? keep sending resumes until they can change the world or accept that they can't and should take ? at least be consistent about your doddering hole-digging
posted by the mad poster! at 8:21 PM on August 14, 2011


i have a phd, how much will you pay me to mow your lawn? I could use the work.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:25 PM on August 14, 2011


Cmon you assholes get to mowin' lawns and doctor learnin'
posted by Avenger at 8:32 PM on August 14, 2011


Seanmpuckett, nice post. But what were the singing mice supposed to represent?
posted by meadowlark lime at 8:36 PM on August 14, 2011


I think there's already been a ton of mowing in this thread already, what with all the strawmen.
posted by crunchland at 8:47 PM on August 14, 2011


i have a phd, how much will you pay me to mow your lawn? I could use the work

Well what is your field of expertise?
posted by humanfont at 8:52 PM on August 14, 2011


As a thirty something guy that has had to re-invent myself more times than I care to admit to, I must admit that my outlook is pretty bleak.

Divorced and saddled with debt... a house I can't sell a thousand miles away.

My "American Dream" is pretty simple these days.

I hope to be able to remember those I love with the grace and dignity that defined their lives... as I lose them to time.

I hope to offer my nephew some guidance here in a world that is failing... letting us slip loose for the accumulation of our naivety, incompetence, and malice.

I hope to have the mental faculty, and wherewithal to choose when and how I leave this world.

There is someone here that I care very deeply for, and I hope to have her as part of my world for as long as I am here.

Her health is a matter of concern. Chance wasn't kind, and it has left her with her own battles to fight. She shouldn't be punished for her genetics.

In the end, I am prepared to go it alone... after all those I love are gone.

I hope that I do not have to.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 8:53 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


i have a phd, how much will you pay me to mow your lawn? I could use the work

Well what is your field of expertise?


With a high quality mower I don't think it really matters what kind of grass we are talking about.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know someone linked the wikipedia entry on the different generations early in the thread but I thought this was a better explanation and a nice easy to read format (age range as of 2011):

1900-1924 GI Generation >86

1925-1945 Silent Generation 66-85

1946-1964 Baby Boomers 47-65

1965-1979 Generation X 32-46

1980-2000 Millennials 11-31

2001-Present New Millennials 11 or younger
New Silent Generation
Generation Z

source: Searcher
posted by mlis at 9:33 PM on August 14, 2011


1946-1964 for boomers? 80-00 for the millennials? How can anyone born nearly 20 years after the people born in '46 or '80 have anything at all in common with the firstborns in those classifications? I was born the tail end of the boomer generation, but I have zero affinity with them. Complete crap. Might as well make generalizations based on the zodiac. It's be just as accurate.
posted by crunchland at 9:55 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm coming to the conclusion that everything in the universe exists on a spectrum more than in broad categories. Like this old evolution with color thing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:57 PM on August 14, 2011


1965-1979 Generation X 32-46

Which again runs contrary to the fact that the guy who coined the term Generation X was born in 1961, and yes, he was writing about himself and his contemporaries. I knew him, sort of.

The boomer 1946-64 designation seems to be driven by one thing only, which is that those were the years that the birth rates were up in North America. Culturally, there's all kinds of diversion. Just take the movie AMERICAN GRAFFITI which was made in 1973. It was about the baby boom teens who came of age on the brink of the Vietnam War (1962 or thereabouts). In 1973,it was marketed as a period piece to teens (also baby boomers) who were coming of age amid such cultural touchstones as Watergate, the collapse of the hippie of dream and the end of the Vietnam war.
posted by philip-random at 10:12 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


1946-1964 for boomers? 80-00 for the millennials? How can anyone born nearly 20 years after the people born in '46 or '80 have anything at all in common with the firstborns in those classifications?
Most of the time these classifications are arbitrary. They always seem to vary between theorists anyway. Most of the versions of generation theory I've come across seem to have only been developed to the point where they can be turned into viable products or services anyway.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 PM on August 14, 2011


I am from Generation X, and I am fortunate to be from the least fucked, most educated, most employable generation still in the workforce today, which isn't saying shit, because we GREW UP IN this bullshit, and saw, and see how really completely fucked up it all is. My kids...My dear kids. I am teaching them to build localized and sustainable economies based on individual input and output, because this globalized crap is not going to make it another 30 years. Now, if we embrace thorium reactors and chase fusion in a real way I'm willing to change, but at this point I think we are too languid, stupid and gun shy to really make a good go at it (myself included in that criticism!)

The only thing the Greatest Generation saw was the full benefit of cheap oil. They believed it was their divine right, based on the righteousness of their belief in christianity, manifest destiny and all that other arbitrary rightness crap we feed ourselves. In the end, they were the beneficiaries of all the stored energy of prehistoric earth, nothing more, nothing less. The end of cheap oil will destroy everything we know about the world we live in today. Anyone not paying attention to that will suffer.

We are fucked, completely fucked, not just America, but the whole world, and the only answer left that I can see is to get as much as you can before it all implodes. I wish I could believe in something else, but I don't, and I blame our problems today on the lack of foresight of our elders yesterday to create a global model based on reason and intelligence as opposed to greed and larceny.

Short Form: The invisible hand of the market is up your ass eating your lunch. And your grandparents are to blame.
posted by roboton666 at 11:30 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


wow, I just read seanmpuckett's link! You said it so much more eloquently than I did!!!!
posted by roboton666 at 11:40 PM on August 14, 2011


I'd personally recommend attending university abroad, kids, preferably a large Europen country, like Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc. It'll cost only a minuscule fraction of attending university in the U.S., the degree programs are more serious anyways, you'll have an invaluable experience, etc.

To do this, you should ideally learn the language in high school by taking your language classes seriously and doing an exchange program. You cannot escape learning a language because U.K. schools cost nearly as much as U.S. ones and offer equally shady degree programs. Canada isn't the adventure, but maybe it's cheaper.

Warning : Did I mention the programs are more serious? Fewer non-major classes. More advanced major classes earlier. Students aren't usually permitted to fail any class twice. Less grade inflation too. And that whole "not your mother tongue" thing.

posted by jeffburdges at 11:47 PM on August 14, 2011


And I'm betting the reason you cant buy medicine in a supermarket is very simple: the pharmacist union. This model might have a lot of problems but there has to be a way between a mindless free market and complete government control.

I agree, and this way is called syndicalism. Unfortunately it rests on a foundation of public support and enthusiasm for trade unions and collective action, both of which are dirty words in contemporary political discourse. Maybe we can come up with some new, web 2.0-sounding marketing speak like "labor exchange league." I think that expresses the concept, and involves both sports jargon and free trade buzzwords. Can anyone do better?
posted by LiteOpera at 1:50 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


To those in here who have spoken about not being able to find jobs in your chosen fields, how large is your search radius? Are you looking cross-country for jobs? I'm genuinely curious. Being from Canada, there is only a small number of cities with tech industries. I wonder what it would feel like to live in a country with dozens of vibrant, warm! cities to choose between.
posted by mantecol at 5:25 AM on August 15, 2011


meadowlark lime, the singing mice represent the labour saving appliances: the beeping microwave, the whistling kettle, the washing machine that plays a little tune when the clothes are clean. The house is so cheerfully full of all these warbling gizmos cheerfully dancing through the chores.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:54 AM on August 15, 2011


Just to add onto that, the odds of there being equal numbers of workers and jobs in a given field is extremely low, especially on a city-by-city basis. Maybe you'll get lucky and happen into a field that currently has a surplus of jobs, but more likely, you're going to have to compete with others to secure a job. This, too, is somewhat a matter of luck, so the more cities you're looking in, the better your odds of finding something. Or you could try your hand at freelancing, but this too requires competition -- for customers. I think this is where the necessity of the go-getter attitude mentioned upthread comes in.

I know there's another layer to this thread, which is discussing these issues from a broader, sociological perspective. There have been comments such as: if that strategy is not a viable one for every single unemployed person on the job market, then you shouldn't be suggesting it to this one individual. I think there are concerns about fairness in how the job market is constructed.

Where competition is concerned, it's not particularly nice to think that me getting a job means someone else not getting it. But economics is not a zero-sum game: If I was the best person' for the job, then it can be hoped that I in that position will best contribute to the overall health of the economy, creating new job opportunities for others. This is working towards a brighter future. I'm not sure what other hope there is.
posted by mantecol at 5:55 AM on August 15, 2011


Are you looking cross-country for jobs?
Most recent grads aren't really in a position to do a cross-country job search. Unless you have very in-demand skills, no firm will either fly you out for an interview or hire you with just a phone interview. The cost of getting to interviews is prohibitive for all but the wealthiest recent grads. Most people focus on one area and attempt to find a job there.
Where competition is concerned, it's not particularly nice to think that me getting a job means someone else not getting it. But economics is not a zero-sum game: If I was the best person' for the job, then it can be hoped that I in that position will best contribute to the overall health of the economy, creating new job opportunities for others.
That strikes me as ridiculous. There is a finite number of spots in medical schools. Every successful medical school applicant takes the spot of another qualified medical school applicant. The idea that a successful medical school applicant can create new spots in medical school by being a really good med student is silly.
posted by craichead at 6:37 AM on August 15, 2011


Granted, but that is a single example. I could toss out a dozen examples of professions where they'll happily take your money and educate you, even when there is a job shortage in the field. See the recent law school thread, for example. I'm not saying any of this is easy. And I'm certainly not discounting the role luck likely played for those who got ahead.
posted by mantecol at 6:47 AM on August 15, 2011


Said it before and I'll say it again. Lots of educated, in-debt, no-hope-for-a-future young people = nothing good. Unless you like riots. There are of course lots of things we could do to prevent that happening between now and when it gets that bad, but from the looks of things in Washington, no one seems interested.

I am not so much stunned by the stupidity which got us here as the apathy/denial by those at the top; either 2012 is real and they're just killing time before they hop on their space lifeboats, or money and power short-circuits the brain and they don't actually understand that in the long run, they are screwing their own descendants as well as the rest of us.
posted by emjaybee at 7:49 AM on August 15, 2011


Speaking just for myself, still sort of surly and my hair's still a mess and my attitude still needs improvement.

You still have hair? You son of a bitch!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


i have a phd, how much will you pay me to mow your lawn? I could use the work

Well what is your field of expertise?

With a high quality mower I don't think it really matters what kind of grass we are talking about.


My mower is an aurduino driven robot with multiple sensors and gps. It is connected to 4 quadricopter drones which construct a multidimensional map of contour, moisture and lawn health. I will need someone proficient in conducting statistical regression analysis of lawn sensor sweeps to optimize the mower code adjusting the mow pattern and height based on aesthetics, season, temperature and lawn conditions. I should also note that the lawn itself is combination of fescue, perennial blue grass and some experiemeral genetically modified carnivorous Zoysia. Mower operator will be required to do trimming analysis to study plant distribution ratios and weed content.
posted by humanfont at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why you'd call the latest generation of teenagers a New Silent Generation. They're a generation known for social networking, public communication, MySpace photos, Facebook addiction, blogs, Ritalin, the rise of Anonymous, as well as growing up in the shadow of 9/11, growing up in the pessimistic and divisive Bush era, growing up under continual recessions, and having their older brothers and sisters go to (and some times perish in) Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.

"Silent" seems like the single least fitting title for them. We'll have to wait until they're older to see what they'll actually be up to. My hunch is that the teenagers now are going to be extremely interesting when they grow up.

It's also downright bizarre to lump people born in 1980 with people born in 2000.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:58 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also downright bizarre to lump people born in 1980 with people born in 2000.

Indeed yes. I'll say the same thing about those born in 1945 and 1965.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2011


To those in here who have spoken about not being able to find jobs in your chosen fields, how large is your search radius? Are you looking cross-country for jobs?

Setting aside the hubris of someone from Canada commenting on US job markets, I'll simply point out that if you'd like an example, I spent 18 months on a global job search. I think a good chunk of the realities in my job search will resonate with other people my age. I was willing to move anywhere--Dubai, Egypt, even Iowa.

My field pays applicants' costs during the interview process so that meant I was free to look worldwide (not always the case, as noted above). During 18 months of looking, I sent out approximately 300 resumes (I didn't keep track because I really didn't want to know). Why not send out more? Not because I was lazy but simply because there no other openings that I was remotely qualified for ('entry-level' not being a term employers use much anymore).

During those 18 months, I was variously finishing up grad school, working part time, and unemployed. My entire paycheck and all the unemployment checks went to paying off my incredible student loan debt and saving up a small sum so that I could afford to move when I got that first job I knew I was qualified for.

It's a year tomorrow that I started working here, and it is entirely, purely luck that I got this job. I moved to northern North Dakota (almost Canada, especially on the weekends!) from California because that's where the jobs were. Lest you think I'm proving your point, let me remind you that it took me 18 months of active searching, generous parents supporting my sorry ass long past the point they ever expected, and a lot of luck to get to where I am today.

And I am angry. I am so angry that people with facile, simple explanations on 'how to get a job in this market' think they have any fucking clue what they're talking about. Especially in regard to people of my generation (Millennials, incidentally) because trying to get a first job in this market while competing with our elders who got downsized after years of experience is no walk in the park. I am angry because people who think their unemployment search is in any way comparable to ours are way too naive for the realities of this job market. I am angry because the Boomers haven't goddamn retired already because they spent all their money on stupid things and now they're grasshoppers who regret it all.

You had best hope that we really are spoiled brats who are whining about taking shit jobs and always had Mommy and Daddy coddling us--because if you're wrong, well, I'm the bleeding edge of my generation and my anger has been blunted. The rest are just starting their race and you are the folks who are in their sights.
posted by librarylis at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't understand why you'd call the latest generation of teenagers a New Silent Generation.
A couple things:

(1) The so-called "New Silent Generation" has not yet reached teenhood. The oldest members of this generation are currently 10 years old.

(2) The reason that they're called the "New Silent Generation" is this:

(2A) They haven't yet matured significantly to have been glommed with a "real" name;

(2B) Under Strauss-Howe generational theory, they are predicted to fill the role of the "Artist" generational archetype;

(2C) The most recent "Artist" generation, those born from 1925 to 1942, is known as the "Silent Generation".

So it's really just a temporary placeholder name for them.
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2011


I don't understand why you'd call the latest generation of teenagers a New Silent Generation.

They're called that because of the cyclical nature of the generations in the theory put forward by Strauss & Howe. There are four basic generational types, or so they believe they have discovered, and they cycle through in a predictable repeating pattern throughout American history. The latest generation of teenagers (who, again, according to Strauss & Howe actually are all not even teenagers yet, as the cohort began around 2000), correspond in this cycle with the generation known as the Silents in the previous cycle. Since this new group is too young to have many if any of its real determining characteristics determined (because they haven't lived through or created any history yet), they are called the "New Silents" to denote their place in the repetitive cycle as an echo of the previous cycle.

Just like with the people who are talking about how they are cusp children (born in the 5 years or so which surround the changing of generations), and are saying that they relate to an older or younger group, and how dare anyone say that they belong in Group A when they're obviously in Group B no matter what their birthdate. Generational cohorts have much more to do with the common influences which shape the general character of people who you knew growing up and the things which ended up being important culturally and politically to that group than they do your literal birthday. The chances of someone who was born toward the middle of a 20-year generation having the same kind of possibility of being either A or B are slim, because their experiences are largely in the middle of a cohort. But if you're near the cusp, your influences and such could come from either direction depending on who you knew and what was emphasized during your upbringing.

This stuff, like a lot of the large group social sciences, tends to work best when looking at groups of people and work least well when looking at individuals. At best, it's an interesting lens through which to view US history and may provide insights. But using it as some kind of strict measure of the character of specific people is silly and should be avoided.
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on August 15, 2011


Also... what Flunkie said.
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on August 15, 2011


18 months isn't really that unreasonable for a job search in a narrow field. Jobs don't magically created every time someone exits a masters program. That's just life. Getting that first professional/career track job is usually really hard, and for most of my generation it took years. During that time people had to go back and get more training, moonlight, intern, etc. That is just the way it is, even in good times. I don't understand why you are angry about it. It doesn't elicit sympathy for me beyond the fact that I'd rather people got to pursue their chosen vocation.
posted by humanfont at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2011


Lots of desperate, uneducated, disenfranchised people = riots.
Lots of desperate, educated, well-connected people = springtime.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2011


18 months isn't really that unreasonable for a job search in a narrow field.

for most of my generation it took years.

During that time people had to go back and get more training, moonlight, intern, etc.


Someone coming straight out of college with student loans and no savings isn't going to be able to survive 18 months before income unless they have a safety net that came from someone else. On the face of it, that seems like a pretty huge middle finger in the face of anyone coming out of poverty or a family that fell on hard times. Every internship I've been around recently has been unpaid, and even the moonlighting jobs have been the subject of real competition. It took me a year to land my first job in retail. (In fact it came down to waiting for the next holiday hiring season to even be considered.)

The job I'm at now came to me out of the blue from a friend. Which is to say, luck. Then it took having two jobs at 60-70 hours per week just to be able to finally move out. Marriage has made some things easier (we both dropped the second job to focus on our actual careers) but we're still both in debt with student loans for the foreseeable future. This is no sob story--my point is that we're the lucky ones today.

Lucky to be in debt, renting, and living almost entirely paycheck to paycheck even with two of us in one modest household and with only one of us medically insured. We're happy, but we know we wouldn't have to be very unlucky at all to lose every bit of stability we have. And we're a decade out, at least, from something better.
posted by Phyltre at 6:01 PM on August 15, 2011


Getting that first professional/career track job is usually really hard, and for most of my generation it took years.

What was the unemployment percentage at?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:05 PM on August 15, 2011


What was the unemployment percentage at?

Okay. So this actually prompted me to do a little research. From the US Dept of Labor Stats, we find that the last time the unemployment rate was worse than it has been for the past year was 1982-83 (over 10 percent for nine straight months):

1982-09-01 10.1
1982-10-01 10.4
1982-11-01 10.8
1982-12-01 10.8
1983-01-01 10.4
1983-02-01 10.4
1983-03-01 10.3
1983-04-01 10.2
1983-05-01 10.1
1983-06-01 10.1


So far this go round, it's only been over 10 percent for one month (January 2009). Worth pointing out, a typical university student getting their undergrad degree in 1982 would've been born in 1959 or 1960 (technically baby boomers).
posted by philip-random at 6:37 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


... that is, assuming they went straight to University after high school (maybe taking a year off somewhere along the line).
posted by philip-random at 6:46 PM on August 15, 2011


Interesting, Philip ... and which president presided over those 10 months? None other than the Republican deity, Ronald Reagan. Try telling that to the Tea Partiers.
posted by crunchland at 7:50 PM on August 15, 2011


And yet In 1984 it was Morning in America and Reagan carried everything but Minnesota and DC.
posted by humanfont at 7:56 PM on August 15, 2011


Let's aim for that 7.2 in November, if we get there he might deserve a second term. But don't forget the differences in debt the job seekers are looking at and how much more desperate that makes the search.

1984-01-01 8.0
1984-02-01 7.8
1984-03-01 7.8
1984-04-01 7.7
1984-05-01 7.4
1984-06-01 7.2
1984-07-01 7.5
1984-08-01 7.5
1984-09-01 7.3
1984-10-01 7.4
1984-11-01 7.2
1984-12-01 7.3
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:01 PM on August 15, 2011


Obama does have a plan to lower unemployment by 2-3% before the election, right?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:06 PM on August 15, 2011


I'm sure the BLS and the Fed will report booming economic numbers by July next year, just as we run up to the convention. Then after the election we will have a few slight revisions.
posted by humanfont at 8:17 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This American Life : Why politicians can't create jobs.
posted by crunchland at 8:51 PM on August 15, 2011


I graduated from high school twenty years ago, and I *still* haven't got my student loans paid off. Since we're telling sob stories.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:59 PM on August 15, 2011


Hasn't the government changed the way they calculate unemployment since the 1980's? I believe it was adjusted to skew lower some time back.

Which means that it's worse than it looks.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:14 AM on August 16, 2011


Strauss-Howe generational theory

Personally I prefer Chinese Astrology, as there's a greater number of archetypes, and you get to be an animal, which is cool. Hell, if you're me, you get to be a dragon, which is even cooler.
posted by Grangousier at 4:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generation Z is for "zombies." Not as in a zombie plague, or in the sense that TV/Internet will make them 'zombies.' Just as Gen Y never knew a world without the Internet, Gen Z never knew an Internet that wasn't basically all about zombies.
posted by Eideteker at 6:17 AM on August 16, 2011


I don't give a shit whose fault it is. It's up to us to start fixing it. Now.
posted by Eideteker at 6:36 AM on August 16, 2011


I love all the musing about generational stuff. The best I have read is an older book, 1997 Sex in the Snow by Michael Adams (easy to read table at the bottom of the review). He broke down the broader generational groupings into "tribes" based on their values and choices they made in their lives. (One bit I remember clearly was that there were a couple of outlier groupings of older males with very traditional values - although he didn't mention it in the book it was clear they were located almost exclusively within the geographic distribution range of a certain very conservative newspaper). There is comparison with the US and it is interesting to see exactly how similar and how different Canada and US are; he expands on this contrast in a later book Fire and Ice as well a later book exclusively on the US. His writing is a bit dry but his theories are quite fascinating.

I was a Gen-Xer and the recession was beginning to be talked about just as I was graduating high school, it began and deepened after I went to University and then became a "jobless recovery" as the Canadian government pursued the long term goal of reducing the deficit at the expense of social programmes and stimulus. When my co-hort hit the job market the unemployment rate in our age group (18-30) in the GTA was around 25% - and the other 75% were employed as part-time waiters with their BAs, BSs etc. I really felt hopeless. There simply were no living wage jobs.

At the time I felt that my life/career was going to be derailed by about ten years and I was right. I was lucky that I choose low-wage but secure jobs and buying a very small house as soon as I could afford it. I have seen many of my friends trapped in the high-paying/high-risk-of-unemployment contract-work loop and still unable to afford or feel secure enough to acquire houses/children. In my mid thirties I felt I was finally getting to have the life I expected as an eighteen year old to have in my mid-twenties.

I guess this rambling comment is to let those of you trapped in your personal economic crisis in the US that there IS hope, there will be a a positive change, maybe your life and career won't turn out exactly how you envisiioned it - but cliched as it is, having to struggle really does make you appreciate and value the truly good things in your life.
posted by saucysault at 7:22 AM on August 16, 2011


Chinese Astrology sucks, because it says I'm a pig. I prefer Western astrology, which says I'm some dude with arrows.

I can see how the preferences of, say, a Dragon Libra would go the other way.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:18 AM on August 16, 2011


Hasn't the government changed the way they calculate unemployment since the 1980's? I believe it was adjusted to skew lower some time back.

cite
posted by philip-random at 9:20 AM on August 16, 2011


I can see how the preferences of, say, a Dragon Libra would go the other way.

Dragon Scorpio!

If only I could be as cool as my astrological signs suggest I should be.
posted by Grangousier at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2011


Tiger Scorpio here... FTW
posted by desjardins at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2011


philip-random: "cite"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discouraged_worker#United_States
posted by dunkadunc at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older In July 1969, just two days prior to the launch of...  |  Chinese-English Ambigrams [Pre... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments