Posted by Jessica with thanks to tipster Maggie.
With the help of a recent NPR interview, I learned the following two things:
1. I am a member of the “Millennial Generation.”
2. I can be easily stereotyped.
I studied religion in college, so normally if someone were to accuse me of being a millennialist, I’d have to vehemently disagree. But according to All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, there’s a new term (“Millennial Generation”) for people like me who came of age during the current millennium.
Siegel’s guest was frequent ATC interviewee Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. The center recently published a study to determine just what this rag tag group of youths is and what it believes in.
Apparently we’re unemployed, self-identified liberal hippy nerds with fleeting moral values.
To that, I say: Yep, pretty much.
The one thing that puzzled Siegel were certain contradictions present within the beliefs of millennial kids. Mainly, as he says, “They’re satisfied with the money they make, but they’re also out of work.”
To that, Kohut responded:
Yeah, they’re very confident that it’s all going to work out in the end. Sixty-eight percent of them say either now or at some time in the future -mostly some time in the future – they will earn enough money to lead the kind of life they want, higher than previous generations even though they have this high level of unemployment.
The conclusion the two of them came up with is that these kids are just “optimistic.” I just wonder if this summary is oversimplified.
Yes, I’d say from my limited exposure to the 50-million-strong group that most young people are optimistic that one day they will have decent paying jobs. But I also think the reason for the contradiction between making enough money while also being unemployed can be resolved by the new category “underemployed.” It’s a word that my friends and I use to describe ourselves, and it embodies the entrepreneurship that we have all had to embrace. If I may use myself as an example, even though I consider myself technically unemployed, I also blog, babysit, have an occasional part time secretarial job, and an unpaid internship. It’s not like I have steady employment, but I’m keeping busy and am also able to make a few dollars once in a while. It’s not ideal, but it’s what I’ve got and I’m learning how to be okay with it.
So we got effed. But I think in the long run it’s just going to make us more savvy. Hopefully thats something older generations (maybe even nagging relatives and potential employers) will be able to recognize.