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Millennials Don't Stand A Chance (gasp!)
August 14, 2014 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Millennials Don't Stand A Chance. A terrific debate from Intelligence Squared: "...spotlight is shown on millennials and their use of revolutionary technology while growing up in a time of recession. Some think they are coddled, narcissistic and lazy. Have we let conventional wisdom blind us to the millennial's openness to change, innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired?" (running time ~50:00)

Fact checking some of the assertions of statistical trends, I've including top search results (economist.com, wired.com, wsj.com, theatlantic.com, washingtonpost.com, bls.gov, census.gov) and cited sources (pewresearch.org). Decide for yourself if the facts are well presented in this debate.

Education: "Borrowing Binge" (2010-2014) bar. "Diploma Debt" (2001-2010) plot (scroll half way down). [Change in student loan debt vs. mortgage debt] (2001-2011) plot (scroll, near top). "Tuition Costs at colleges and universities" (2011-2012 vs 1980-81, 1990-91, 2000-1) table. "Years of School Completed by People 25 Years and Over, by Age and Sex: Selected Years 1940 to 2013" plot. Rise in marriage age: "The Great Crossover" (1970-2011) plot. Living at home: Pew research: "Living Arrangements of Young Adults" 1968-2012 stacked bar (half way). "Moving Back" (2007-2009) bar. Business and employment trends: "The Young and the Jobless" (2007-2012) plot. "Long Term Unemployment and Depression" (June 2014) bar. Volunteering: "Volunteering in America 2011" various graphs. "Number of Volunteers and Volunteer Rates" (2011) plot stack bar. Diveristy in US: "Diversity Data: Here’s How U.S. Tech Giants Measure Up" (Aug, 2014) gratuitous interactive graph. "The Changing Face of America" (1960-2010) stacked bar (scroll down). Drug use among millennials: 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: "Past Month Use of Selected Illicit Drugs among Youths Aged 12 to 17: 2002-2010" plot. Future economic outlook: "Millennials upbeat about their financial future". (Feb 2014) bar (half way). Young & Rich: "Young Rich List – 30 Under 30 Internet Millionaires" (no date) list. "The World's Youngest Billionaires: 29 Under 40."(3/04/2013) list.
posted by xtian (51 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some think they are coddled, narcissistic and lazy.

Millenials have always seemed to me to be the same as previous demographic cohorts: they're young and inexperienced at times, and don't know what they don't know. Which kind of makes sense.

I've never bought into the "helicopter parented-coddled-narcissistic" meme at all. Ever.

The only thing that is noteworthy about Millenials is that it's their Boomer parents who essentially control the cultural narrative by working as columnists and so on in the media that generates these cliched memes.

It's as if the Boomers are rediscovering parenting for the first time. No one has ever done it before, and things will never be the same again!

I must say that when I graduated from university in 1994 there was 10+% unemployment in Victoria BC. If you wanted a dishwasher or line cook job, there would be people lining up on the street for those jobs. I was luckier than some of my peers in that I got out of Victoria and Canada. A lot of my peers ended up in Toronto.

Go back 35 years or so, and crippling interest rates caused a lot of pain for young homeowners in the early 80's.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about Millenials, other than that they are special like everybody else.
posted by Nevin at 2:16 PM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Uh. these are only US statistics. You have to use some other internet for Canada.
posted by xtian at 2:22 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I don't know if Millenials are uniquely narcissistic (seems unlikely). But boy do they have a bottomless appetite for journalism proving that they are both awesome and unfairly held down.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:35 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


The only thing that is noteworthy about Millenials is that it's their Boomer parents who essentially control the cultural narrative...

Not to mention the political process, the property market, the financial system.

In short, kill all Boomers.

I'm not a millennial, but I think this scheme will benefit all other generations.
posted by Jimbob at 2:36 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I find the whole American obsession with generational cohorts faintly ridiculous. It's up there with blood types and astrology defining your "people". Sure, you have a wave of people of the same age hitting the same economic challenges at the same time, but it was ever thus. Pre-WW2, was there such a crude grouping of people, with a herd behaviour expected by the press? Is it just lazy journalism to keep bringing this up to fill pages?
posted by scruss at 2:40 PM on August 14 [27 favorites]


This whole debate is basically about whether Millennials, or previous generations, are sufficiently obsequious to the CEO class. Millennials are entitled and spoiled because they expect perks that previous generations didn't get (some of which are not really perks at all, like BYOD and "unlimited" vacation time)! No, Millennials aren't entitled and spoiled because they're so good at "adapting to change"!
posted by Ralston McTodd at 2:43 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I don't know if Millenials are uniquely narcissistic (seems unlikely). But boy do they have a bottomless appetite for journalism proving that they are both awesome and unfairly held down.

well tbh it's either this or that we're the worst or that we're mystical digital natives, take what we can
posted by litleozy at 2:48 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"mystical digital natives" haha!
posted by xtian at 2:54 PM on August 14


I work with alot of recent graduates, and honestly it's all over the board. Some fit this stereotype to the tee. Live at home. Hyper connected to social media, etc. But I also see that basically it is the same shit I was doing in my 20's. Going to bars, social activities, laughing at Gen X'ers. The delivery method for hanging out is just different and more reliable.
posted by Benway at 3:07 PM on August 14


Well there's also the fact that they're growing up in a rapidly growing environmental catastrophe
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I don't subscribe to the "Millenials are just lazy" school of thought, and a lot of the articles I see now were also written about Generation X when we were the new hotness. Getting a job just out of university in the mid-90s was harsh, and there were a ton of stories about how my generation was living with our parents longer than ever before because of the economy. We're lazy! We don't respect authority! We understand computers!

No one ever writes stories about Gen X any more. It's all millennials vs. baby boomers.
posted by jess at 3:16 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


It's that eternal middle child syndrome naturally.
posted by The Whelk at 3:18 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Well there's also the fact that they're growing up in a rapidly growing environmental catastrophe
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 AM on August 15 [+] [!]

Don't forget the economic catastrophe!
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:30 PM on August 14






@the man of twists and turns. I thought the "Millennials upbeat about their financial future" graph was one of the statistics which seemed most interesting in the debate. As a, a-hem, GenX, whatever, I was really upbeat during college and afterwards, but my economic future--pre-Tech Bubble, was bright. So, why are Millennials still be upbeat given the economic numbers we're also seeing? It seems the wild west tech 'tech land rush' is tailing: Net-Neutrality, and "stabilized IT technologies".
posted by xtian at 4:10 PM on August 14


Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone.

Oh God that hit way too close to home
posted by Hoopo at 4:49 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Question: are Millenials the same as Generation Y or not? I hear differing views on this point.
posted by shivohum at 4:55 PM on August 14


The standard definition of a "generation" in the theory this is based on is approximately 20 years. Strauss & Howe decided on: Baby Boomers (1943-1960) (yes this is not exactly the same as "the baby boom"), Generation X (1961-1981), Millennials (1982-2004).

"Generation Y" is a name for Millennials in the same way "Baby Busters" was for Generation X, a thoughtless knock-off.

But a lot of people, especially marketers and op-ed writers, want to use generation theory in a way that lets them talk about specific sub-demographics relevant to the current moment. Lumping thirtysomethings with grade-schoolers doesn't make any sense if you want to opine about "kids these days!", so now they're trying to claim that new generations are coming along every half-decade. But Strauss & Howe's generations refer to very broad, slow shifts in political attitudes and roles in the national consciousness -- often visible only in historical retrospect -- not to specific experiences, immediate challenges, or pop-cultural trivia.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 5:16 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


If we are dumb, lazy narcissists, it's only because the previous generation was worse.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 5:30 PM on August 14


...although I think even the names "Millennial Generation" and, worse, the suggested name "Homeland Generation" for the current crop of babies are even more of a lame and dated buzzword bingo. If you look at older terms like "Lost Generation" (1883-1900) and "G. I. Generation" (1901-1924, a/k/a Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation"), those names make sense primarily in retrospect. Whatever turns out to be the right description for the younger cohorts, we won't know it until the mid-2000s.

Doug Coupland picked the term "Generation X" by riffing off Paul Fussell's "Class X," describing a group of educated, frugal nonconformists who had no place in the standard American class hierarchy circa 1980, and so simply existed, ignored, in its interstices. Coupland saw the cultural status of post-Baby-Boom young adults as similar to Class X, so he borrowed the X. This description seems to have been a good fit in the long run (Generation X is still plugging along, educated & underused & written out of the pop-culture story) although pretty much all the significant markers Fussell uses for "Class X" have nowadays been totally taken over by the upper middle class!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 5:34 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


"Millennials have been much maligned"

By who? By people who write shit-stirring lifestyle journalism, as far as I have seen. Which then generates another article, like this - maybe they aren't so bad! No one I know spends much energy hating on them. Maybe my friends aren't with it, though.
posted by thelonius at 5:34 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"Millennials have been much maligned"

That's totally normal, and nobody should take it personally. It's just that young people are incredibly annoying, and they're the ones who will eventually put us on the ice floe when it's our time, it's natural to fear them. But then again, old people suck too, because they- still- have All the Stuff. And people my age aren't that fucking great either, now that I think about it....

The Boomer hate is pretty funny too. When I was young, it was the Greatest Generation who wouldn't shut up about how fucking great they were - "we beat the Depression and Hitler, you ungrateful little shits, now put down the crack-pipes and go build Hoover Dam or something."

The Boomers were more annoying though, they were like "we invented the Beatles and sex, but now we're going to elect Reagan for some reason" and then they'd sort of forget you were there.

I can't wait until it's my generation's turn to be reviled, outnumbered as we are by both our elders and the youngsters. "But we gave you... um... Webvan and Pets.com! We're responsible for the golden age of hip-hop!" we'll cry but you won't notice because you're busy watching youtubes on your Google Neural Implants and you'll grind us up for dogfood, just like always.
posted by hap_hazard at 6:03 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]



I hate everyone who wasn't born on my birthday.

I don't think much of those poseurs born earlier that day, either. And frankly, I could live without those losers born later that day. They're all the same!
 
posted by Herodios at 6:17 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I'm at the tail end of Generation X (ugh), and even though I have a 'good job' it is hard to see how anyone my age or younger isn't completely fucked. Even with a good job, good income and a frugal lifestyle there seems to be no way that I can outpace inflation in order to retire in any semblance of comfort.

I'm not willing to go out and blame previous generations for these problems, even though it would be easy to do, but previous generations seem to really enjoy dumping shit on us.

Also, people seem to love talking about 'sharing culture' and how innovative the youth of today are. Well fuck, no one (ok, very few people) actually want to share houses and cars and everything else but we don't have any fucking money to do otherwise. Thanks.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:30 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


News flash: Older generation calls younger generation 'coddled' and 'lazy' and suggests they are doomed.

(Reusable comment)
posted by yellowcandy at 6:31 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


When I was young, it was the Greatest Generation who wouldn't shut up about how fucking great they were

Huh. Most members of it I've known have been pretty quiet about the Depression and War years unless I asked. Anyway it was boomer who came up with that monicker.

I suppose we must blame Gertrude and Ernest for this whole Name-The-Generation thing. It's getting a little tiresome.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:17 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


a bottomless appetite for journalism proving that they are both awesome and unfairly held down

Same as it ever was, says this Generation X-er who read the same news stories twenty years ago.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:23 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


No one I know spends much energy hating on them.

The other day we went out to breakfast with a friend who manages a bunch of Millennials and I was actually a bit shocked at the vitriol she had for them and the way they did their work. I'm sure our managers had the same issues with us, people do dumb shit until years after they enter the workforce and figure out it.

Though I do worry quite a bit about what a decade being taught under the idiocies of No Child Left Behind is going to do to the populace. Probably something out of the later books in the Connie Willis "Sleepless" trilogy, which made Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" seem idyllic and pleasant.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:48 PM on August 14


Huh. Most members of it I've known have been pretty quiet about the Depression and War years unless I asked.

Well, yeah, me too, mostly, but then again I was speaking entirely in stereotypes. And I'm pretty sure they were the ones who started calling us "slackers," which, did we complain about that? No, we revelled in it! We slacked our asses off!

Personally, though, I always preferred Hunter S. Thompson's characterization: "Generation of Swine."

not that it matters, but Brokaw and H.S.T. were both born pre-WWII, so neither of them get to be Boomers.
posted by hap_hazard at 8:00 PM on August 14


... Connie Willis "Sleepless" trilogy ...

Nancy Kress
posted by um at 8:51 PM on August 14


Ah, crap, you're correct. Mixing up my favorite short story writers again. My apologies!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:02 PM on August 14


We're responsible for the golden age of hip-hop!

It's odd how the current wave of 90s nostalgia seems to be ..skipping over that? Not my thing but it was everywhere at the time and huge huge huge and I get the feeling the people pushing the nostalgia, especially online, are like ...five years younger than me and a little too young to have hit it at the peak and at Prime Nostalgic Memory-forming age? Maybe?
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 PM on August 14


Literaryhero: "Even with a good job, good income and a frugal lifestyle there seems to be no way that I can outpace inflation in order to retire in any semblance of comfort. "

Really? With all the benefits of a good job, good income, and frugality, you can't imagine a way? Let me help you.

Inflation is historically low, the S&P 500 is up 14 percent over the past year, and has nearly doubled over the last five years. And its not like the S&P is particularly over priced at the moment.

If you put 20 percent of your income into retirement every year, invest it at 7 percent a year on average, in 25 years you will have a passive income equal to your take home, post-retirement contribution pay. If you crank it up to 50 percent, in 11 years you'll be earning on average the same amount. If you contribute 50 percent for 10 years then stop, 11 years after that your retirement account will earn more than you do at your job.
posted by pwnguin at 9:51 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Scientific American: Young People are Less Empathic
posted by Vibrissae at 11:39 PM on August 14


Scientific American: Young People are Less Empathic

Sure but if this is quoted out of context it becomes a perfect example of misattribution fallacy (the unscientific suggestion that X has a property Y that is a priori intrinsic to X), whereas 6 paragraphs into the article is raised the nuance of why millenials have undergone decline in empathy—and further, keep in mind this is empathy in a scientific sense (as opposed to one's social-value-laden sense).

Research is so easy to distort and misconstrue; bullet-style claims like these kinds of titles are incredibly harmful. Meaning, anti-intellectual.
posted by polymodus at 12:12 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


>invest it at 7 percent

You can get 7, solidly, for the next 25 years? I'd like to see where. Even my very best investments are struggling to make 5.
posted by scruss at 3:16 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


You can get 7, solidly, for the next 25 years? I'd like to see where. Even my very best investments are struggling to make 5.

You can do what we of the "Chicago School" do, put money out on the street at 25 percent,
compounded weekly. Be prepared to be adept at baseball bat and pliers collection
methodologies, though.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:56 AM on August 15


If you put 20 percent of your income into retirement every year

All I have for this is "LOL".
posted by spitefulcrow at 7:37 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


All I have for this is "LOL".

Yeah, what is this "income" thing that people supposedly have access to
posted by threeants at 7:41 AM on August 15


The other day we went out to breakfast with a friend who manages a bunch of Millennials and I was actually a bit shocked at the vitriol she had for them and the way they did their work. I'm sure our managers had the same issues with us, people do dumb shit until years after they enter the workforce and figure out it.

Yes, that is a good point. Some of this kind of managerial anger is just due to the fact that many people in their 20's haven't locked down into this dead-eyed life of mostly caring about work and career. They are coming in hung-over, stuff like that.
posted by thelonius at 7:43 AM on August 15


Brokaw and H.S.T. were both born pre-WWII, so neither of them get to be Boomers.

True, Brokaw 1940, HST 1937. But close enough as far as I'm concerned. Certainly the mindset is, was boomer.

(Myself, I would cut off the boom for anyone whose birth year did not subject them to the Vietnam draft. World of difference once that threat was off the table, at least for Americans. But I'm stereotyping, which is something we must not do and indeed which I was mildly railing against.)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:59 AM on August 15


What generation since the start of the 20th century has "stood a chance", by the terms set in the debate? You can always identify either some highly adverse event(s) (Great Depression, WWII, Nam, 80s recession...) or supposed generation-wide personal shortcomings (moon-eyed hippies, un-plugged GenX...) that could supposedly scupper a whole generation.

Since then technology and development have only served to make it easier to get by on less. Technology and science promise, and deliver on, ever more possibilities. Less and less are we discarding and suppressing the contributions of women and minorities. More and more, I think, are we engaging with global problems like climate change and international exploitation.

Are we glib about these things sometimes? Long on talk, short on plans? No shit, this is what's referred to as a young people.

Yeah, we got screwed. Yeah, we do things differently than before, some worse, some better, and there are jackasses among our contingent just like there have always been jackasses. But if the confidence and optimism I and many of my cohorts feel about our ability to overcome these obstacles is "coddled narcissism" then hey, go ahead and keep your cynical so-called realism. Puh!
posted by Drexen at 8:20 AM on August 15


scruss:"You can get 7, solidly, for the next 25 years? I'd like to see where. Even my very best investments are struggling to make 5."

I regard 7 percent as a good inflation adjusted estimate of S&P 500's long term average. It has a relatively high variance if you look at year to year returns, but if you look at 25 year returns, the lowest observed result is 9 percent, with a median of 12. In summary, the S&P 500 general trend is up.

Obviously there is some trading overhead, but it has the lowest expense ratio of my portfolio, at around .05 percent. Just for you I reran the numbers with the expense ratio of VOO subtracted out, and it barely changed anything.

spitefulcrow: "If you put 20 percent of your income into retirement every year

All I have for this is "LOL".
"

threeants: "Yeah, what is this "income" thing that people supposedly have access to"

Bear in mind that I'm responding to Literaryhero's hypothetical, not anyone's personal situation. 20 percent is achievable within Elizabeth Warren's 50-30-20 model. Which should represent a baseline budget, rather than the crazy frugal person option.

This all matters in two ways. First, the system that converts savings into retirements works. Regardless of the present unemployment and wage situation, the millenial generation is not Completely Fucked. Second, it reveals the ways that generation currently Is Fucked: they don't appear to have the jobs, or when they do, the incomes.

But honestly, if anyone doesn't stand a chance, it's the Boomer generation. We never qualified for a mortgage in the first place, so we don't owe 100k more on a mortgage than the home is worth. And we have a longer time horizon to right the ship than they do.
posted by pwnguin at 9:19 AM on August 15



Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone.

Oh God that hit way too close to home
Generation X wasn't surprised. Generation X kind of expected it.
Yup. Generation X remembers when it listened to the words of Jesse Jackson on the Public Enemy album: "Brothers and sisters: I don't know what this world is coming to..."

Generation X listened to that debate twice before (X got stations and stations, yo) and X found it sort of lame. Why cause this trouble: Generation X doesn't think anybody can fairly argue that. The next generation is kind of likable. Part of it is youth: quirky, full of energy, full of the same bad choices Generation X made.

Generation X watched Millennial parents and damn if they didn't kind of suck in their way as all parents will. The world was kind of a scary place to raise a child as Generation X is sure it always will be. Millennial's parents did weird things like "Baby on Board" and tethers, curiosities now. Generation X suPerhaps Generation X should try harder; it seems like we are doing well enough. Generation X saw everybody get awards and didn't like it because it looked like getting soft.

Generation X hated listening to the piece and realizing it was yelling at the next generation to get off its lawn, that they were more beautiful and brighter than we and are now showing up in responsible positions and are blocking the view.

"At the next Intelligence Squared: Public Radio welcomes the Millennial audience in a good way?" Generation X enjoys the schadenfreude of Millennial finally getting square enough to listen to NPR.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:33 AM on August 15


Most of the boomers I know bought their current houses at least 20 years ago and the value has increased 100% or more with inflation and property value. Denver area and suburbs.

I was born in 1980 which is kind of a sucky in-between point. I've never identified with either generation and only now was aware of the 1981/1982 split.

I qualified for a mortgage in 2006, which was basically the worst year to buy a house in the past 50 or so but it wasn't totally clear yet what was happening, and I lucked out only because I didn't get into an ARM or "interest only" (I should've ended my relationship with the loan officer over that suggestion) and stayed with it long enough to refinance with Obama's help (Making Home Affordable), and by 2013 it had recovered and them some.

Now where I live (Colorado) the house sold in a week over asking price and you have to bid over asking to be taken seriously on a good house. It's great once you know what you want and don't want, but it turns out everybody who is buying a "growing family" house has similar wants and don't wants.
posted by aydeejones at 8:05 PM on August 15


I've never identified with generation or X or Millenials, that is. I remember "Reality Bites" being quintessential "Generation X" and being too young to give a shit. And when I hear about "Millenials" the stereotypes are typically more likely to be encountered in the workplace in the 20-30 range. As for the "digital native" stuff, IME the youngest ones (low 20's) are the most shockingly bad at working with computers (not across the board, but on average), though they are often the quickest to brag about their skills during an interview because the bar is so low for "using a computer" for entertainment purposes or going to a trade school and getting a bullet-point list of skills that are Things You Installed in a Class.

They are more likely to come in hung over, but more importantly, tell everyone about it cluelessly like we're supposed to be impressed vs. annoyed (i.e. if I'm hung over my objective is to get through the day without apologizing or sucking because of it). More likely to complain, circumvent routine policies and procedures without understanding why they exist, etc. I think that's all Growing Up and the reason that car insurance rates drop dramatically around 25...I believe marriage is more likely to sustain after the age of 25, but only have tons of anecdotal evidence.

I bet that's a recurring pattern...of course it is. It took me until 30 to realize I had some major problems to work out to get further in life and build confidence, and another couple of years to just start asking what I want from people and have the confidence to feel like I deserve it. For others they might come into the world with that expectation but without having earned it. For the most part these are just cliches involving a 20-30 age gap between professionals in the workplace. You can't even talk about generational differences when you're dealing with teenagers, so the discussion starts at the early 20's and is just as insubstantial from any historic standpoint.
posted by aydeejones at 8:13 PM on August 15


aydeejones: "Most of the boomers I know bought their current houses at least 20 years ago and the value has increased 100% or more with inflation and property value."

Then I guess it was only my parents who used their home equity as a crutch to support themselves in the shakey post-dotcom economy, and nobody else refinanced in 2004.

Maybe we'll reconcile these anecdotes with some data! Case and Shiller put together a reliable metric for this. In May of 1994, it was 76. This May it was at 185. Far more than your 100 percent. After adjusting for inflation it's only 20 percent appreciation. So around .9 percent a year, on par with my online savings acct.

Still, you're right that timely payments, inflation and a modicum of appreciation is enough to build home equity. As long as you don't go borrowing against it. Yet we know that total mortgage debt exploded from roughly 94-now, and refis are typically half of all mortgages originations. There was also a huge explosion in Home Equity revolving debt. It seems probable that one of the multiple boomers you know who bought their current houses 20 years ago took out a HELOC.
posted by pwnguin at 10:01 PM on August 15


Regardless of the present unemployment and wage situation, the millenial generation is not Completely Fucked.

Can you explain how you're not just saying "even though they're Completely Fucked right now, they're not Completely Fucked."? Because that's what this reads as. You don't show any path from the employment and wage situation brought on by decades of deregulation (thanks, Reagan Revolution Boomers!) and increased automation to a happy ending for the vast majority of the working and middle classes. Please enlighten me as to where these jobs and income are going to spring from.

P.S. I'm one of the lucky ones — I know how to program a computer and I'm white and male. I'm managing to put some money away but nowhere near 20% of my income. If you think I'm pissed, talk to the people who aren't in my situation.
posted by spitefulcrow at 7:16 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I feel sorry for the millennials in a way I don't for my own generation (X). Gen X saw the trap closing around them, but because we grew up before it had closed completely we've always had an older normality to compare against the new normality (and wind up being cynical about both).

I feel sorry for them because millennials were born into the trap. It is their normal. They are aware that there was a time when the default was to be what we now call 'unreachable', except during evenings and weekends, but for one of them to attempt to live like that is considered unusual, consigned to 'experiments' which are subsequently blogged/tweeted/facebooked about.

I feel sorry for millennials because the nurturing they are shown - the careful fattening on a diet of positive re-enforcement, easy answers, everything-at-your-fingertips, low-stress, rounded-corners, wind-up Mickey Mouse fanservice world - is the care a farmer shows livestock.

These are generalizations of course, and I hope I haven't been offensive by making them.
posted by um at 5:02 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Can you explain how you're not just saying "even though they're Completely Fucked right now, they're not Completely Fucked."?

They're just Mostly Fucked. There's a big difference between mostly fucked and completely fucked. Mostly fucked is slightly not fucked! The unemployment and wages could turn around. Especially if the Fed screws up and sets interest rates too low for too long the same way they did in 1998.

On a side note regarding the trend of Mefites claiming they've made it professionally and still can't afford retirement: IMO if you're a white collar worker making what you feel is a good wage and can't afford to put 20 percent of your income away then you might want to seek advice on the green. If we're gonna start throwing numbers around, I save between 35 and 50 percent of my income, depending on how you account for taxes and pensions. And I don't work in a sector terribly renowned for its high employee wages.
posted by pwnguin at 11:10 AM on August 26


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