Yesterday I was reading a NYT Op-Ed that I found via Margaret’s tmblr (where I get the bulk of my interesting factoids, let’s be honest) and I posted about it on facebook. The article is about the different benefits that Gen X-ers have received vs the unfortunate timing of the recession for the emerging millennials.
It talks about things I’ve heard before, the struggling job market for those graduating college between 2007-2009 (I graduated from college in December 2006 and then again in the fall of 2009 so yup, that’s me), how the jobs have not rebounded for millennials like they have for Gen X because we now lack the entry level experience because we went back to the coffee shop or the bakery or the bar to pay our bills after graduation when no other jobs were available. And then of course the debt, always an issue that debt.
Well! When I posted about it on facebook a debate began about entitlement. Shouldn’t we just suck it up and fill the holes in the job market, even if they aren’t the careers we thought we’d be in? Shouldn’t we just suck it up to pay the bills? A lot of people have put the career they imagined for themselves on the back burner, or watched that dream float away. I wanted to be a writer and professor, but that was not in the cards for me. I am still figuring it out, cobbling together a career based on the available options – within me field because it is what I’m good at. Is holding out for the career we’ve invested time and money into entitlement? Is being underemployed and over-educated our own faults? Possibly, although hindsight is crystal clear and now we know that a second degree doesn’t always mean anything at all.
But I was defending this notion that the opportunities available to the generation above mine and above that aren’t available anymore, and I only had a handful of examples (plus stats from various articles written on the recession). I think everyone took a hit during the recession, pensions disappeared, boomers held onto jobs longer than they wanted or had to go back to work, people were laid off, etc. But as far as recovery, as far as getting the send off into the world full of entry level jobs and affordable housing – I believe millennials got shafted hard.
I want to hear from you. What is your story? We’ve talked about this before, but not like this. What happened to you from the moment you left school? If you didn’t go to school how was navigating the job world? I want to know where you all are now. Do you own a home? Do you have a retirement plan?
What happened to all of us?