Monday, February 22, 2010

*BREAKING NEWS* Millennials Not Psychologically Prepared for Lost Decade!!!

First, the fiddling:

It’s likely, then, that for the next several years or more, the jobs environment will more closely resemble today’s environment than that of 2006 or 2007—or for that matter, the environment to which we were accustomed for a generation. Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, notes that if the recovery follows the same basic path as the last two (in 1991 and 2001), unemployment will stand at roughly 8 percent in 2014.

“We haven’t seen anything like this before: a really deep recession combined with a really extended period, maybe as much as eight years, all told, of highly elevated unemployment,” Shierholz told me. “We’re about to see a big national experiment on stress.”

Fortunately, this is America.  You know, head down, full steam ahead, pull yourself up by the bootstraps.  That sort of thing.  Er, I mean, I think there’s some of that still going around.  Of course I don’t buy into that nonsense.  I listened in college.  Takes a village.  Hillary Clinton.  But there are probably plenty of rubes tilling the earth in flyover country who still believe the myth.  You know, just enough to pull the rest of us out of this mess. 

Uh, right?

Oh crap:

Many of today’s young adults seem temperamentally unprepared for the circumstances in which they now find themselves. Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has carefully compared the attitudes of today’s young adults to those of previous generations when they were the same age. Using national survey data, she’s found that to an unprecedented degree, people who graduated from high school in the 2000s dislike the idea of work for work’s sake, and expect jobs and career to be tailored to their interests and lifestyle. Yet they also have much higher material expectations than previous generations, and believe financial success is extremely important. “There’s this idea that, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to work, but I’m still going to get all the stuff I want,’” Twenge told me. “It’s a generation in which every kid has been told, ‘You can be anything you want. You’re special.’”

Woah, hold on a second here.  How could this have happened?  People don’t just wake up pathetic and lazy do they?  How do you take the grandchildren of the greatest generation and turn them into a bunch of spoiled ninnies?

Twenge attributes the shift to broad changes in parenting styles and teaching methods, in response to the growing belief that children should always feel good about themselves, no matter what. As the years have passed, efforts to boost self-esteem—and to decouple it from performance—have become widespread.

Wait.  Are you saying that I should be…accomplishing something?  That what I do is part of what makes me who I am?  This is starting to sound a lot like heresy.  Dude, I am amazing!  Have you ever heard me riff on how bad Coldplay sucks?  Seriously, it is hilarious.  Everybody thinks so.  If that doesn’t make me great, I can’t even imagine what would.

These efforts have succeeded in making today’s youth more confident and individualistic. But that may not benefit them in adulthood, particularly in this economic environment. Twenge writes that “self-esteem without basis encourages laziness rather than hard work,” and that “the ability to persevere and keep going” is “a much better predictor of life outcomes than self-esteem.” She worries that many young people might be inclined to simply give up in this job market. “You’d think if people are more individualistic, they’d be more independent,” she told me. “But it’s not really true. There’s an element of entitlement—they expect people to figure things out for them.”

Look, lady.  I don’t know what planet you’re from, but here in America, we have been born into excellence.  Take a look around: we are the young aristocrats, inheritors of the world.  There is no artisan-fashioned pleasure we haven’t sampled by the age of fifteen.  Our ennui is the only thing we’ve truly earned and all we truly need.  Leave shoe-shining and manufacture to our imported servants and sweatshop trinket fabricators and be sure your satellites and cell towers never falter, for the only way you’ll ever really incur our wrath is by disrupting our endless supply of novel distractions.

Oh, and keep fiddling.

No comments:

Post a Comment