The Forgotten Generation

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook (from Esquire of all places) about Millennials and the current employment crisis.  It was a very good article, mostly pulling forward issues of why nobody seems to care about big issues, why everyone’s in debt and the rising prices of absolutely everything, but education especially.

I had to go and look up who the Millennials are.  Turns out, I’m a Millennial – as is anyone born from roughly 1980 to the beginning of the century.  We are defined by a massive technological upswing, entitlement issues and lots of education with little to show for it.

Hold it.

I was born in 1985.  When I was a kid, the internet wasn’t available and nobody had cell phones.  If you were playing video games, 64 bit was finest you could aspire to.  There were no iPods until I was in college – my greatest goal as a kid was to own a working portable CD player.   Books on a razor thin computers with a touch screen were things that turned up in science fiction, as were whole-body interactive video games.  When we did get internet, it was dial-up, and I was in junior high school before that happened.  And mostly I played Tetris on it, which only worked about half the time.

Yes, there has been a massive technology boom in my lifetime.  But my generation wasn’t on the forefront of using it.  We use it all the time now, but so does my grandmother, who is part of what they call the Silent Generation.  Most of us manage all right, but I have trouble working my iPod and driving.

More importantly, I don’t know anyone from my generation with entitlement issues.  We were cured of that when the economy crashed.  Of the people I graduated with, one of us has a job in his field.  For the rest of us, it’s the same story:

I’m sorry, we’re not hiring.  We’ve had to cut people.  The people we are hiring have 10 years of experience in their field and are desperate for jobs.  *four years later*  I’m sorry, but you’ve been out of school too long.  You don’t have the fresh-from-college knowledge we’re looking for in interns and you don’t have the real world experience to back you up for a professional job.

Recently, I’ve learned that degrees that haven’t been used in 2 years are considered obsolete.  Most of these degrees are buried under debt because their owners couldn’t get professional degrees in their field.  Bankruptcy won’t get you out of paying these because bankruptcy no longer let’s us “weasel out of things like that.”

So am I still a Millennial?  I don’t think so.  I’m part of that generation that slipped in between X and Y and was lost in the cracks.  Sometimes they call us the Lost Generation, but I think that still belongs to those that survived and fought in both WWI and WWII.  I prefer to think of us as the Forgotten Generation – because it sounds better than the Skipped Generation.

Not that things look all that sunny for Millenials either.  Further education for them isn’t an option – it’s a requirement.  And there are fewer and fewer jobs period.

I’d say more on this, but I think I’ve railed enough for now.


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