At some point during the 17 hours I spent in a car, airport or plane last Saturday, I flipped open the latest issue of Newsweek to a story titled, “18-35? You Are Generation Screwed!”
I was already sad to leave Maine and annoyed with multiple flight delays — the article was just sour icing on an already gross cake.
First of all, there are the impossible-to-deny facts: The Millennial Generation has been negatively affected by the recession. It’s hard to get full-time jobs and harder still to get full-time jobs that we’re not overqualified for.
“Employers are often replacing entry-level positions meant for graduates with people who have more experience because the pool of applicants is so much larger,” said Kyle Storms, a recent graduate from Chapman University in California, in the Newsweek article.
Perhaps the scariest prospect, however, is that people of my generation who begin their careers at lower-level positions will never be able to catch up with coworkers who graduated into better job markets.
“People cannot simply close the wage gap by working their way up the company hierarchy. While they may work their way up, they people who started above them do, too. They don’t catch up,” Austan Goolsbee, a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Affairs, was quoted as saying in “Pinched” by Don Peck.
So, who is the Millennial?
Even before reading the Newsweek article, I was familiar with the pessimistic theories about the Millennial Generation: I spent the better part of a semester learning about the unique challenges facing people of my generation and have read multiple books on the subject.
At the time — when my friends and I were nervously awaiting graduation and our introductions into the real world — I tried to be optimistic. Even that was mocked.
“We live a blind carpe diem that avoids eye contact with tomorrow,” wrote Tyler Moss, a blogger for the Huffington Post and a fellow Millennial.
But now, three months after graduation, I am confident there is hope for Millennials — and I don’t have to look too far to see examples of success.
A friend who bought a house to flip in the evenings after her job.
A friend who moved away to become the managing editor of a newspaper.
Friends who are pursuing graduate degrees in law and medicine.
Friends who are marrying and accepting the accompanying challenges.
Then, of course, there’s my family. Dan is working hard on his doctorate of pharmacy so that we’ll have a good, secure future. I am doing the best I can to provide for us and create a name for myself in the world of journalism. Together, we have a (rented) home, a handful of pets and a life that makes us happy.
Maybe you will still say we are “screwed.” But, from my vantage point, it sure doesn’t seem that way.