generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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What worries parents, teachers and employers is that the latest crop of adults wants to postpone growing up. At a time when they should be graduating, entering the work force and starting families of their own, the twentysomething crowd is balking at those rites of passage. A prime reason is their recognition that the American Dream is much tougher to achieve after years of housing-price inflation and stagnant wages. Householders under the age of 25 were the only group during the 1980s to suffer a drop in income, a decline of 10%. One result: fully 75% of young males 18 to 24 years old are still living at home, the largest proportion since the Great Depression.

In a TIME/CNN poll of 18- to 29-year-olds, 65% of those surveyed agreed it will be harder for their group to live as comfortably as previous generations. While the majority of today's young adults think they have a strong chance of finding a well-paying and interesting job, 69% believe they will have more difficulty buying a house, and 52% say they will have less leisure time than their predecessors. Asked to describe their generation, 53% said the group is worried about the future.

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

69% believe they will have more difficulty buying a house, and 52% say they will have less leisure time than their predecessors.

that much turned out to be true!

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

Because they are fewer in number, today's young adults have the power to wreak havoc in the workplace. Companies are discovering that to win the best talent, they must cater to a young work force that is considered overly sensitive at best and lazy at worst. During the next several years, employers will have to double their recruiting efforts. According to American Demographics, the pool of entry-level workers 16 to 24 will shrink about 500,000 a year through 1995, to 21 million. These youngsters are starting to use their bargaining power to get more of what they feel is coming to them. They want flexibility, access to decision making and a return to the sacredness of work-free weekends. "I want a work environment concerned about my personal growth," says Jennifer Peters, 22, one of the youngest candidates ever to be admitted to the State Bar of California. "I don't want to go to work and feel I'll be burned out two or three years down the road."

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

seems a little different to me!

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:20 (3 years ago) Permalink

Euler what is your field?

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah sure there are differences - I haven't read the article in 20 years fwiw

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

gen x: lazy
millennials: overeducated, prob a little lazy, mostly just fucked

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

that article feels more like "aimless 20 somethings not sure of what they want to do", today's version of "aimless 20 somethings WANT to do something but finding all doors shut"

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah as far as I can tell In This Economy™ what used to be entry-level jobs all advertise as requiring 3 years experience. I somehow have gotten a few interviews anyway but every time one peters out I just get less interested in applying for more programming jobs and more interested in killing time until grad school.

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm a phil-ah-soh-pher

which btw shouldn't be conflated with "the liberal arts" b/c our students aren't usually the dreamy-wanna-write-a-story types, rather they're the mass debater types & go on to do analytic work & typically get pretty well paid (unless they go to grad school obv)

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

you mean @ your school or philosophy majors in general

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

Not really involved in the discussion but here's a link that might be of interest - http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/08/31/historical-trends-in-college-tuition/

The linked post about the retained value of a college degree is also worth a look.

pullapartsquirrel (Jenny), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

both xp unless we're talking continental philosophers w/ all that crit theory bullshit & that's just dreamy-wanna-write-a-story stuff that isn't gonna get you anywhere

obv I am a pawn of the status quo

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

I dunno I think their prospects aren't much different from english majors or whatever, they just have a higher tendency to go to law school

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

if I owned 'generic business' I would totally hire a bunch of philosophy majors tho, seems like an undervalued asset (as long as I didn't have to talk to them)

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:00 (3 years ago) Permalink

what if 'generic business' was a 'medicinal marijuana shop'

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

fwiw philosophy majors rank in the top three nationally on the LSAT, GMAT and GRE pretty much yearly; our only competition is physics & math iirc

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:02 (3 years ago) Permalink

xp lol

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

Got turned down for a job I had two interviews for today. FUCK THIS SHIT.

gay socialists smoking mushrooms with their illegal gardeners (a hoy hoy), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

xps to Euler: see I don't like the idea of denigrating "the liberal arts" as a thing, I legitimately believe that the liberal arts (including liberal study of the sciences) are the foundation of a democratic society; this is why high school is at least in part a weird mini liberal arts education. College as a job-training-and-credentialing exercise is just going to become a worse and worse value proposition (though it honestly isn't now, as college grads are still outperforming non-college-grads in the job market, modulo debt I guess), especially because the academy moves so slowly that by the time it has figured out how to prepare students for the economy of 2011 it'll be 2038.

a hoy hoy: YEAH NO KIDDIN

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

this is why high school is at least in part a weird mini liberal arts education it's becoming less of this all the time

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah I would like to see more discussion of the value of a liberal arts education itt. think a lot of ppl (though not all) who post to ILX prob have a degree in the liberal arts and went to liberal arts colleges?

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

did anybody actually have 'shop class' in high school?

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

my hs had it, I didn't take it

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

^^^we did and I managed to studiously avoid all of them

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

we also had an auto-repair type class, I think

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:10 (3 years ago) Permalink

the stuff I learned in my hs journalism class - particularly how to write, use a computer, and lay things out - came in much handier professionally than anything I learned in college, really. but liberal arts degrees/colleges are not really about learning a specific subject matter imho, they're about training your mind to think critically and work in different contexts.

I would definitely be making more money in the same industry I'm in now if I'd gotten an engineering degree, but I always hated math.

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

school is awful - full of false promises and useless work
memorization and paper achievements
any kind of real sense of desires to learn or create are put to the side

Birth Control is Sinful in the ILE Marriages (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah 'critical thinking' is the rote response to people who question the value of a liberal arts education

I'm still trying to think through the true value of the ability to 'think critically' in the job market

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:14 (3 years ago) Permalink

dayo it was called the vocational wing in my hs

also folks, this is my line of work and i have a lot of relevant things to say, but i would really rather not discuss it publicly for a variety of reasons

xp - critical thinking is REALLY IMPORTANT esp if you don't have very good critical thinking skills

i drive a wood paneled station dragon (La Lechera), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

did anybody actually have 'shop class' in high school?

Was v sad when I had to give up woodshop b/c there was no room for it in the college-prep curriculum. It was down to shop or band, and marching band won.

Just think, I could have grown up to be a stoner!

brb recalibrating my check engine light (Laurel), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:16 (3 years ago) Permalink

I tend to take Dewey's line about the value of a liberal-arts-education in creating & nourishing a populace able to handle democracy

+ DFW's take in his Kenyon graduation address

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

oh I totally agree that critical thinking is implicitly and in and of itself a valuable skill, LL - but that's not how all employers see it

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

ps - i had shop class in middle school

it's an important skill to have as a human being, not as an employee

i drive a wood paneled station dragon (La Lechera), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

I think that the american liberal arts education actually contributes substantial economic value to this country - overall we had a much more adaptable job market in the late 20th century than most of the world. more engineers would be good too, but an economy can't be 50% engineers (and really would anyone want to live in a dystopia like that?) most contemporary jobs don't require specific training and in better economic times can be learned on-the-job.

said it in the other thread but the bigger problems are:
a. jobs! (I know underemployed engineers from good schools!)
b. cost

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

i do not work at a liberal arts school btw

i drive a wood paneled station dragon (La Lechera), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:20 (3 years ago) Permalink

liberal arts school can't really be blamed for 0 net job growth this month

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

last month, rather

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

schools

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

gonna put that one on the Ivies, as usual

wanna get some class resentment going on this thread also

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

ime the critical thinking tends to be "i wish i hadn't done a useless humanities degree"

Once Were Moderators (DG), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

The public university at which I work has increased tuition and enrollment geometrically in the last two years to compensate for evaporating state funding, with no commensurate strengthening of infrastructure.

The quality of students haven't changed much except I'm seeing more examples of mediocrities: girls getting psych degrees as a time killer before marriage because their parents press on them the importance of a college education, guys getting business degrees because, well, they want to start their own franchises, and journalism majors who don't realize how useless that degree is and always was.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

true everywhere

Once Were Moderators (DG), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:23 (3 years ago) Permalink

an economy can't be 50% engineers (and really would anyone want to live in a dystopia like that?)

Would it be like this?

brb recalibrating my check engine light (Laurel), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

working nights did not come in handy today. someone called me about an hour into my sleep (10? 11am?) and I gave off the just the most generic dozed pitch, can't even remember what company they were calling from.

gay socialists smoking mushrooms with their illegal gardeners (a hoy hoy), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

lol @ 50% engineer economy; welcome to China :(

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

gonna put that one on the Ivies, as usual

wanna get some class resentment going on this thread also

― Euler, Friday, September 2, 2011 1:22 PM

ultimately we're being fucked by people in dc and wall street, lots of them went to ivies, all of them are rich, it's not completely hors-sujet

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

all we needs are farmers and abstract artists

Birth Control is Sinful in the ILE Marriages (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 18:27 (3 years ago) Permalink

problem with america is not enough grant woods

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

"school is awful - full of false promises and useless work
memorization and paper achievements
any kind of real sense of desires to learn or create are put to the side"

i really view this as a positive when applied to the evil ambitions of... a lot of people frankly. what other civilizing institutions do we have other than compulsory education? I agree with Thiel in the sense that a lot of motivated people would be personally, selfishly better off not pursuing advanced degrees and doing startups straight from high school, but I disagree that it's a net positive for society.

Philip Nunez, Friday, 2 September 2011 18:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

More than that, they represent a much larger anxiety-provoking but also potentially thrilling economic evolution that is affecting all of us.

They must be firing editors.

What Is It Like To Be A HOOS? (silby), Friday, 20 June 2014 16:20 (5 months ago) Permalink

or hiring sixth graders to write thinkpieces

What Is It Like To Be A HOOS? (silby), Friday, 20 June 2014 16:21 (5 months ago) Permalink

feel like it's one step away from: "no, you can't find security, but the opposite of security is risk, and risk has higher rewards, so this is an OPPORTUNITY FOR HIGH REWARDS DO U SEE?!"

Insane Prince of False Binaries (Gukbe), Friday, 20 June 2014 16:25 (5 months ago) Permalink

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/technology/workplace-surveillance-sees-good-and-bad.html?smid=tw-share

will any of these employers pay me to curl up in a ball on my bed and claw my way up from catatonia because i can do that real efficiently

j., Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:34 (5 months ago) Permalink

i mean jesus

j., Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:42 (5 months ago) Permalink

The rebuttal seems sound, although my grasp of stats and sampling is weak at best. But I appreciated the point in the first article about students who don't graduate and are STILL carrying debt--because students who don't graduate often don't graduate for family and financial reasons, so there's a high correlation with ppl who won't be able to pay back the loans they took out, esp without that degree.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:44 (4 months ago) Permalink

Right, there is that and also some other good substantive points in the times article, but the way they slice it up and present it winds up as "student debt is way overblown and nbd"

Hier Komme Die Warum Jetzt (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:45 (4 months ago) Permalink

nice to see someone calling bullshit on that terrible brookings study

dude (Lamp), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:45 (4 months ago) Permalink

Love the headshots

, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:53 (4 months ago) Permalink

matthew chingos more like matthew chingados, pinche cabron

it's not a fedora, it's a trill bae (m bison), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 15:50 (4 months ago) Permalink

They look like smug fraternal twins doing a smug mind-meld.

Hier Komme Die Warum Jetzt (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 16:57 (4 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

I can only say that I have had full-time employment with benefits both inside and outside working in academia for over 30 years. I made choices.

I started out in a completely different era and everything worked out for me, so all you whining children who are starting out in today's world must not know shit about life. QED.

Aimless, Thursday, 28 August 2014 03:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

As one of my friends might say, “Time to put on your big-girl panties!”

"As one of my friends might say, if I had friends"

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 28 August 2014 03:54 (2 months ago) Permalink

Courses taught: Google Applications; Social Networking for Business, Office Supervision, Business Communications, MS Office applications 2010 (and earlier), Introduction to Management, Voice recognition, Office Orientation, Keyboarding, etc.

iatee, Thursday, 28 August 2014 03:56 (2 months ago) Permalink

(and earlier) <---- how you know she's a true expert in her field

j., Thursday, 28 August 2014 04:01 (2 months ago) Permalink

office orientation: shld u point yr desk THIS way or THIS WAY? an ethnomethodological approach

j., Thursday, 28 August 2014 04:02 (2 months ago) Permalink

She's written "definately" multiple times in the comments section

een, Thursday, 28 August 2014 04:03 (2 months ago) Permalink

http://morton.edu/OMT/

Today’s administrative professional handles a variety of duties and need skills in many facets of office procedures and technology including: Internet/Intranet communication, problem-solving, cloud computing, project management, Microsoft Office applications, mobile technology, social media, electronic record keeping, web conferencing, organization, and customer service.

iatee, Thursday, 28 August 2014 04:06 (2 months ago) Permalink


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