It’s easy to conclude that this job market is terrible for everyone, even young people. But I don’t buy it. I think it’s very bad if you are old, and not so bad if you are young. And that we get a skewed view of the stress level out there because older people tend to run big news operations — offline and on — and really have no sense of how younger people are handling the downturn.

We read about how scared young people are, and how desperate they are for a job, but we don’t hear the other side: That young people are optimistic about their careers, their future and are doing well in the American economy. Underreported stories: Washington, D.C. is the easiest city to find a job, and young people love government jobs; farming is in a renaissance, and the local food movement is teeming with young people; healthcare and teaching are both booming; and while service-oriented work is hated by the top-down, rank-oriented mindset of baby boomers, Gen Y is much more collaborative and happy to work in the service sector.

Here’s another bit of evidence of Gen Y optimism: The Wall Street Journal reports that applications to business schools are down 2%. That’s a small decrease, but business school applications historically go up in a bad economy, and they stay up until things get good again. That applications are down is evidence that young people do not perceive the job market as terrible.

As the country moves to a knowledge-based economy, most Americans can no longer expect to earn more than the generation before them. In fact, Don Peck, writing in the Atlantic, explains that as the economy recovers it will look permanently different. This will not be a recovery where the skills of older people come back into demand; the jobs that emerge will be in new sectors, and the financial expectations of employees will permanently shift because of the new realities.

Young people know this. They are not waiting around for things to change, to get back to how they used to be. Young people accept the realities of today and jump right in. This is why young people on a whole are optimistic about their ability to get a job and find their place in the world. The 2010 MetLife Study of the American Dream finds that young people are more optimistic than older people about securing a safety net if they don’t already have one. Also, while Gen Y is in terrible shape financially – increased college loans and lower entry-level wages-this is also a generation that defines the American Dream in terms of family, rather than financial security, so Gen Yers feel confident they will achieve their own version of success.

Additionally, the demographics of the U.S. workplace favor Generation Y: As baby boomers retire, Gen X, which is only half the size of Baby Boomers, cannot replace them. So there will be a significant worker shortage in the U.S. by 2015. Generation y will benefit from the worker shortage. They will get higher paying jobs faster, they will go up the corporate ladder faster, and they will be able to remake the workplace in their own image without much resistance.

You can call Gen Y entitled, or delusional, or self-centered, but Gen Y has a gift for reframing situations in a positive light. This is a gift that stems from the parents of gen Y being obsessed with self-esteem. Self-esteem breeds optimism, and this optimism makes Gen Y emotionally able to fend off the recession better than other generations.

Even better, optimism helps fight the bad economy in real ways as well. Psychology Today shows that people who are optimistic are more likely to create their own luck. We all know that a successful career is a combination of hard work and good luck. So maybe if you thought more like Gen Y, you’d be doing fine right now as well.

57 replies
  1. Kenneth Wolman
    Kenneth Wolman says:

    How old are you, Penelope? A little older than Gen Y, aren’t you? If you’re over 50 this job market is a youth-obsessed catastrophe. Or do only gen-Y types matter?

    • Joan Miller
      Joan Miller says:

      No offense, but those over 50 should be starting to think about retirement! That’s how it’s always been. If people stay in the workplace longer, it will take longer for young people to enter the workplace.

  2. Allison
    Allison says:

    I was relieved to hear someone say this. I left my web job at a tech company in Seattle to move with my boyfriend to Atlanta (not exactly a start-up hub). It was a risk, but I wanted a change and it gave me a hard deadline to make one.

    I was expecting to be out of work for at least 6 months and prepared for this financially. However, not only did I get a job interview within two weeks of sending out my first resumes, but I was actually contacted for interviews by several people at top companies in Atlanta (not recruiters) who found my portfolios on various sites like Sortfolio and Behance. It was crazy!

    What I realized is that young people may feel more optimistic because they feel more in control. They grew up on the Internet, they know how it works, how they can use it to forge relationships or put themselves out there, and obviously this kind of networking pays off in any economy.

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau
    Wooden U. Lykteneau says:

    Generation X is nebulously defined, but even at its narrowest (1965-1979), there were 51.3M babies born versus the more widely accepted Baby Boomer range of 1946-1964, in which 75.8M babies were born. You might have noticed by now, that 51.3M is not half of 75.8M. In Journalism, we call this fact-checking. You should try it some time.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Great. I’m glad you brought this up. Because you are right: Gen X is 2/3 of Baby boomers, not 1/2. But my point — that Gen X cannot replace Baby boomers still stands. So I feel like, who cares that I was off a bit on the statistic?

      One of the reasons that the obsessively detail-oriented way of doing journalism at newspapers is dying is because the cost is too high to get facts right that don’t matter. And people miss the big picture. This comment is a great example.

      Penelope

      • KateNonymous
        KateNonymous says:

        That also means that Gen X will benefit, because there are more jobs than we can fill–meaning that we may be able to have our pick. We can’t replace them all, but we can replace most of them, and there will still be some of those jobs available for some of Gen Y.

        The way you wrote it, it sounds like Gen X can be discounted because there are more people in the surrounding generations, and I’m not convinced that’s true. So the question isn’t just whether the number is 1/2 or 2/3–it’s whether the analysis of that statistic is written in a way that is sound.

      • JT
        JT says:

        “…cost is too high to get facts right that don’t matter. And people miss the big picture.”

        I’m not sure the big picture you refer to was missed. You exaggerated something to make a point, and got called on it.

        I realize reading and writing blogs has become popular. However, when an author effectively says, “I really don’t care about facts…,” why should I believe anything they write?

      • Wooden U. Lykteneau
        Wooden U. Lykteneau says:

        Actually, that “obsessively detail-oriented way” IS Journalism. Anything less, like your post, is not. There are many reasons why Journalism is dying, but doing it correctly is not one of them. The replies to your reply — which accurately describe what I was doing — prove MY point.

  4. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I agree that the shape of the economy is changing and that this will benefit young workers, but I’ve got to say, that in my social circle, we are scared. Admittedly, as a recent law grad, I interact with a group of Gen Y’ers who expected to follow a more traditional career path, at least at the beginning: go to law school, get a BigLaw job right out of school, and then maybe change things up. The bad job market completely changed that plan for a good number of my fellow law grads and I guarantee that they are scared. They have lots of debt and, at this moment, don’t know what to do. Even those of us that have jobs are scared, because we know that the rules have changed, but can’t quite figure out what to do about that. With the bad job market, we don’t feel that we have power, even if we do have strong resumes and fancy degrees and adaptability. Not to split hairs, but I think we’re far more hopeful than we are optimistic.

  5. Roberta Warshaw
    Roberta Warshaw says:

    Oh whew. That’s a relief. Now I don’t have to worry about my kids and grandchildren’s future.(37 year old son has been out of work over a year) 33 year old daughter working for the state always worrying about her job.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  6. kn
    kn says:

    I have to say if I was young I wouldn’t care–no kids, retirement so FAR in future. I’m almost 50 and been unemployed for a couple of years after running into a real bad boss who bad named me where I live. I’ve been successful at pr and marketing, but i’m now old and have been on tons of interview and not gotten a job, most of which went to younger people.

    I’m not whining, really! I’m busting my ass trying to find a job and I’mm making some money as a carpenter. But I have no retirement fund, I have had to give up my health insurance because of cost. I had both retirement and health insurance when i was mid-30s.

    SO I AM SCARED TO DEATH! I may never be able to retire, I may be stuck in crappy jobs cause i’m 50 and people don’t seem to want to hire someone older than them to do pr and marketing. I don’t feel that old, I know who Jack’s Mannequin and 30 Seconds to Mars are.

    I realize I had a part in putting myself here, but still. I’m glad young people aren’t worried, but I wasn’t either when I was younger

    • Tami
      Tami says:

      I have to say my stepfather certainly falls into the fifty something afraid (and depressed) about the job market category. While he is moderately computer literate, it is a daily challenge. He was trained in the 70s to be a machinist and that industry has changed tremendously in the computer age. In addition to his need for more computer-based training, his health problems and near deafness make him an unlikely canidate for any machinist job. Instead of their thirty something teacher daughter struggling and moving back home with the parents, it may be the other way around when their unemployment runs out.

  7. pfj
    pfj says:

    The reason that ‘old’ people view the current situation completely differently from younger people? (No matter which ‘gen’ those younger people may be.)

    It’s the same reason the farmer got great results from very few seeds, and you got terrible results from a lot.

    It’s because the ‘current job market’ is only a small part of the WHOLE situation. And a lot of the older people understand the whole situation.

    And you don’t. And lots of younger people don’t.

    It isn’t just a matter of ‘can I get a job, but if I can’t, then I can move back in with Mom and Dad.’ It’s much bigger than that.

    And it is scary. Scary all by itself, and especially scary if millions of younger people have no grasp of reality.

    • kn
      kn says:

      I’m not really sure what you are trying to say in your reply. Hey, I’ve gotten great results from a few seeds in the garden, and bad results from few seeds too. I’m not sure why you say I don’t understand the situation–you just say I don’t understand it, but don’t say why I don’t understand it, or what the “whole situation” is.

      Not trying to start an argument, but a little confused by your reply.

    • hlcs
      hlcs says:

      I have to say I am with kn on this. I am a Gen Y’er and I agree with Penelope’s assessment. I also believe I have a pretty firm grasp on reality but if I am misunderstanding the whole picture I would like to be filled in.

  8. Brad
    Brad says:

    Young people don’t fear the job market? All the college kids I know sure do. Anyone who doesn’t is irrational.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is an interesting comment. I think all college, at every point in time, fear the job market because graduating from college is entry into adult life. At the end of college, you have been trained for 18 years to go to school, and for zero years to navigate adult life.

      Anyone graduating college without fear is probably acting irrationally, in any job market.

      Penelope

  9. Nathalie Molina
    Nathalie Molina says:

    Where I see nothing in this article that says, “who cares about older generations?” I do see an interesting fear that is generated. I recently moderated a talk by Rob Salkowitz (author of Young World Rising) about the rising tide of entrepreneurism in emerging markets, and found a similar reaction. The audience became fixated on “what’s wrong with creative entrepreneurism in the US?” which was nowhere near the point of the book.

    It’s as if by focusing (even momentarily) on “them” means that “us” must be under attack.

    It doesn’t follow, and yet the leaps are made by those hell-bent on being insulted. I think, the best you can do is take the high road and avoid combative dialogs, and trust that most of us that don’t comment, can read the general message, take away something and go on about our day making whatever use of your insight we chose to.

    Thanks for the post Penelope!

  10. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    Health care needs (for nurses and other non-doctors) is rising. But where are you seeing teaching doing well? In Oregon, at least, everyone I know in teaching is seeing their benefits or jobs cut, and the best new teachers can’t get past 1 year before they’re “bumped” by someone more senior moving in from another school where there were budget layoffs. Similar picture in higher ed.

    • kn
      kn says:

      Thanks for adding that about teacher. I got certified to teach here in Virginia, because I enjoy it and thought it was something I could do for the rest of my career.

      What happened? The bottom dropped out of education in VA. New teachers can’t get jobs, teachers that have significant experience have gotten let go because of budget cuts and can’t get jobs, so someone that is a “Career Switcher” with little experience certainly can’t get a job.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        The rise in teaching openings is not necessarily in the old-school, dept of ed, kind of teaching. Examples:

        1. You can start your own charter school
        2. After-school enrichment is on the rise and teacher- led
        3. Special education has more funding than ever, and requires extra teachers after school.
        4. Unschooling is on the rise and there is a large, untapped market from the soildly-middle-class parents hiring teacher to execute on their new vision of home schooling.

        If you think teaching is not on the rise, it’s because you’re not thinking new economy.

        Penelope

      • EngineerChic
        EngineerChic says:

        I see the same thing in our area with teaching. Very few teachers are retiring and school budgets have been flat (or declining) for the last few years. So a lot of FT teachers are job-sharing for PT pay & benefits, just to keep their skills up. Teaching is a tough place to be right now.

  11. Collin
    Collin says:

    I think you’ve nailed it with this post. I for one am very optimistic about my future career. Why? Because I can create it myself.

    I would be worried if I was of the mindset that I had to depend on a boss and a company to earn money.

    I think for the first time in over a century, people (Gen Y or others) are moving towards more of an entrepreneurial frame of mind and are relying on themselves to secure their future. This can be scary but it can also be very relieving.

    However, with this comes anxiety, which I see a lot of among my fellow Gen Y friends. There’s anxiousness about the unknown future but also a deep level of optimism that it will work out for the best.

  12. Mimsey
    Mimsey says:

    Your analysis of Business grad school applications is very narrow and shallow. Applications are down because people don’t have the money to go to grad school, people are too afraid to quit a decent job to go to grad school since so many recent MBA grads can’t find work, and there have been many articles questioning the value of an MBA.

  13. Meghan
    Meghan says:

    Hi Penelope –
    It’s nice to hear that young people are thinking positively – but I’m 26 and I’m not. I just moved to South Carolina from New York and the job market it tough, I haven’t found a job yet. I can see that maybe that’s just the job market here, but I’m not at the point where I’m feeling positive about the economy. Any suggestions for me?
    Meghan

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Think about making your own job in order to add the experience to your resume that will put you at the top of the candidate pool for the job you want.

      Remember: A resume isn’t a list of what you got paid to do. A resume’s a list of what you accomplished. Figure out the accomplishments you need in order to land the job you want. Then do them. Now. Without permission.

      A lot of our fear about the job market comes from thinking we need someone else to open doors for us. You can open your own doors.

      Good luck!

      Penelope

  14. Jane
    Jane says:

    You say that the applications to business schools are down 2%. Are you sure that’s because the economy is picking up? Or is it because no one wants to commit to another financial burden, especially when you’ve been telling us that MBAs are worthless!?

  15. Marc Roston
    Marc Roston says:

    Let’s assume the “applications are down only 2%” is a valid statistic.

    Maybe for once this means people are making good investment decisions? Let’s assume there is positive expected return to business school education. It then follows that the marginal return to b-school education is higher when other people don’t do it. Thus, your personal return is higher when fewer people attend. Fewer people attend when the opportunity costs are higher. Widespread unemployment amongst 20 somethings means the opportunity cost of education is lower, and the net present value of that education is also lower.

    The time to go to business school was when the economy was hot, and everyone was going to dot com startups just after high school!

  16. Allison
    Allison says:

    Interesting insight about how the economic downturn affects young people, especially the comment about the optimism of Gen Y. I think this is absolutely true. Right now, job insecurity among older people is at an all time peak.

    I found this interesting app called Digital Mirror, by Cataphora, that allows you to objectively see your online behavior and ultimately, improve your work relationships in the process. Very, very insightful. Anyone reading this article will definitely find it relevant. I think older people are generally less attune to the internet and the consequences of living in an increasingly digital world. This is a really fascinating tool to help an individual improve his/her work life.

    I really encourage you to check it out – its a free download so there’s no excuse. :)

    http://digitalmirrorsoftware.com/app/about.php

  17. Krystle
    Krystle says:

    I’m 28 and I feel optimistic. I have a great job now, but I don’t expect to have a great job forever, and I think that’s a big part of why I’m not anxious. I know I could live off of half of what my income is right now, and still be satisfied. Not thrilled, but not devastated. I stayed out of debt when I went to college and I barely have any debt now, and that’s another thing that makes me feel flexible and ready for anything. I’ve worked as a file clerk, farm laborer, bookstore employee, and freelance copyeditor, and I’m one of those people who wouldn’t be “above” working at Walmart if it came right down to it (unlike many people I know). I think if I can manage to stay healthy, I’ll be alright no matter what happens.

    That being said, I don’t think this is how most 20-something-year-olds feel, because a lot of them are saddled in a ridiculous amount of debt, and dread ever having to work at Walmart.

  18. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I think there should be a warning placed next to the Atlantic article written by Don Peck. I thought it painted a picture that was rather bleak regardless of generation. I came away with the feeling we’re all screwed after reading that one.

  19. martin
    martin says:

    Penelope, I hate it when u do that. Glibly passing a half-baked impression as an analysis; and more or less remote possibilities as facts. Come on.
    Don’t take me wrong, it’s OK to do this sometimes, like when you are sharing insights from the office. You tend to phrase them as universal truths but we forgive you because we understand those are genuine experiences from the trenches. Broad generalizations about people a third your age? Not so sure.

  20. Rajiv Satyal
    Rajiv Satyal says:

    i’m a fan of the brazen careerist and generally agree w/ a lot of what is posted.

    and tho i cannot scientifically disagree w/ you, but anecdotally, you are way off. i perform standup at around 40 colleges a year and have never seen students so scared and pessimistic about the economy.

    guess that’s good for comedy – as they say, people need to laugh more in hard times.

    i’m just sayin’… it’s pretty bad out there, bro!

    and yes, they’re still saying “bro.”

  21. Oliver
    Oliver says:

    I gotta say that college students are very afraid. They’re angry because they were ‘promised’ jobs. They’re lost because now for the first time in their lives they have nothing to do. They’re confused because they dont know what other options they have (or dont like the other options). And most importantly they’re angry for putting in 4 years of work for no reward.

    These are the general emotions College/Entry Level people are feeling.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      This is one of those times that skepticism presents itself not as a negative mindset, but as a valuable life skill.

  22. Shandra
    Shandra says:

    I think it’s important not to confuse optimism with accomplishment. Certainly optimistic people may be better poised to succeed – but sometimes that’s not the case; look at the housing bubble for a lesson in economic optimism gone wrong.

    I see no reason for Gen Y to be pessimistic. They have grown up in a world where every generation has out-accomplished the previous one (Gen X will be the first exception) and where they have been (as a group) informed that they are poised to succeed, nurtured for their individual talents and so on.

    Whether this will actually come to fruition, I’m not sure.

    I kind of feel like they’re running on venture capital right now and we’ve yet to see if they achieve profitability. I hope so.

  23. br55
    br55 says:

    Interesting food for thought. I live In DC and it is true, we are still hiring here, but that may well change with the incoming administration who generally think government is too big and should be reduced, so there goes some of the new hiring. As far as “applications are down is evidence that young people do not perceive the job market as terrible”. I think that logic is flawed. I agree with other posters here that there could well be other reasons why applications are down–such as a glut of MBAs, the cost of education at astronomical levels, and the publicity in the media about how hiding in grad school is a bad idea in a recession.

  24. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Everyone, including Penelope, is constantly pushing entreprenuership for Gen Y. What if you’re not built for entreprenuership? What if you want something safe, secure and steady, as boring and unrevolutionary as that may be? What if you’re not super competitive, but just a hard worker that does what they have to do to get the job done? It seems like you have to be a cutthroat Capitalist in every single aspect of life in order to at least live comfortably nowadays. It’s like we’re all fighting for a single piece of cheese. I’m not saying a good, but average worker deserves to be rich, but shouldn’t the average good worker at least make a comfortable, secure living? Do the majority of us have to create our own businesses to get anywhere in life?

    • Bennie
      Bennie says:

      Those good jobs with the government. PT is right that it’s easy to find work in DC, but every 4 years, everyone changes.

      • KateNonymous
        KateNonymous says:

        You’d be surprised how many people don’t lose their jobs because of an administration change. Most government jobs have nothing to do with political appointments.

    • EngineerChic
      EngineerChic says:

      Very good point, Tiffany. I don’t particularly want to be an entrepreneur. I’m working 60 hour weeks “for the man” already and don’t want to do much more than that. At some point the trade-off between time & money tips toward wanting extra time more than extra money, and I don’t see where owning your own business allows for that.

      Entrepreneurship is great if you aren’t concerned with having a work-life balance, but as people have kids, hit 40, or start taking care of their parents it is suddenly really important to have more free time available to do non-work activities. I’m not aware of many entrepreneurs who set their own schedule & still earn a solid income – and those that mange it are typically older and/or unusually successful.

  25. Val
    Val says:

    I will be graduating with my Master Degree in May and the job market seems so scary. One of the things I think this article did not mention is the importance of networking. The market has changed so much, networking is more important now than ever before. It is something I am perfecting more and more each day.

  26. Jim C.
    Jim C. says:

    “…this is also a generation that defines the American Dream in terms of family, rather than financial security…”
    They probably figure they can always move in with their parents again. Those parents are the same people who are being squeezed out of the job market at the same time their Gen Y kids want to sponge off them. Meanwhile their own parents need a lot of care. Something’s got to give.

  27. GenerationXpert
    GenerationXpert says:

    Hi P:

    I live in Bay City, MI. It’s a depressed industrial town. However, and interesting thing is happening. There is a really strong group of Gen X entrepreneurs who are making great livings. There are some Ys doing this, but it’s mostly Xers. I wrote about it on my blog, if you want the whole story. I think you are absolutely correct that the new economy will not look anything like the old one – and the skills most Boomers are selling won’t be what people want to buy. I just don’t think it’s “young” folks who are okay. I think the whole under 45 crowd is fine. Just my 2 cents.

  28. Kamal S.
    Kamal S. says:

    @Penelope

    It's easy to conclude that this job market is terrible for everyone, even young people. But I don't buy it. I think it's very bad if you are old, and not so bad if you are young.

    ?
    Um.. well, frankly, for me, the main people I hear complaining about the job market are young people, young being defined as under 35. I see a lot of pessimistic and cynical mid-20’something folks.

    Most people I know in their 30s, even if they are unemployed, seem far less fearful regarding long term job and career prospects. This is not because of optimism, it’s an acceptance of things that may have been somewhat disillusioning when younger.

    Something should be asked about the demographics you are considering. Frankly there are demographics, huge ones, in which young people are very much without optimism, while others can be found in which they are bright and perky. Location matters, ethnicity, socio-economic status matter, the particular fields specialized in matter.

    It is easy to filter out huge swaths of reality, routinely, while only focusing on those things that reverberate most strongly to our personal expectations, assumptions and experiences.

    You mention farming and local food. There is something there, in some areas farming is indeed in a bit of a renaissance, as young locavore types, bright eyed and bushy tailed, are starting to push into the local food movement. Of course, even here, locally, the most active people who are into urban agriculture, permaculture, local and organic food, etc., are people in their 30s or early 40s.

    It’s possible that the farming renaissance you mention is, on the scale of the country at large, a bit of a blip. What’s happening is that some intelligent and affluent former young professionals on the peripheries of urban corridors are deciding to “go to the soil” as a viable and ethical career and business choice.

    These are statistical blips, go 10 miles further and you’ll find scores of family farms sold to developers or multinational agricorps. I know families who were driven off from farming by crushing debt or other factors. I think the whole idea of a local food farming renaissance magnifies things which are wonderful, in themselves, far out of their actual proportion.

    Perspective and scale are always useful. I mean, this is how I see things where I’m at. Business keeps me traveling through a huge swath of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky the hearts of the Midwest. All that I see are cynical and angry young guys, and former farmers turned unemployed former factory workers.

    Perhaps things are different on the coasts, in the midwest I don’t see many happy optimistic young people. Which is not to say they don’t exist, but I’m talking of a matter of scale here..

    In general it’s dangerous to make sweeping generalizations without noticing the nuances, your post is an attempt to call attention to under reported nuances. I respect this, just watch out for making equally specious generalizations.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      “What’s happening is that some intelligent and affluent former young professionals on the peripheries of urban corridors are deciding to “go to the soil” as a viable and ethical career and business choice.”

      Although it’s not necessarily viable everywhere. I have one friend who failed as an organic dairy farmer for a host of reasons–but one of them was that he chose the wrong location for the kind of farming he was trying to do, in terms of soil conditions, topography, trucking costs, etc. He freely admits that he made a number of bad business choices, regardless of how much he tried to make those choices ethical. But I suspect that there is a certain percentage of people making that choice the way he did–romantically rather than analytically–and I think that’s true of a lot more than farming.

  29. Collin
    Collin says:

    I wonder if the pessimistic Gen Yers and fundamentally different than the optimistic Gen Yers. Maybe people are pessimistic or optimistic based on their personality and work ethic. Here’s a question for any Gen X or Boomers here:

    Would you rather hire a pessimistic or optimistic person Gen Y and why?

  30. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    I’d rather hire one who can demonstrate an ability to get the job done accurately and on time. I don’t really care if they’re optimistic or pessimistic. I care if they’re effective. That’s true regardless of the applicant’s age.

  31. eva
    eva says:

    The Wall Street Journal reports that applications to business schools are down 2%. That's a small decrease, but business school applications historically go up in a bad economy, and they stay up until things get good again. That applications are down is evidence that young people do not perceive the job market as terrible.

    Correlation is not causation. There may be other variables at work.

  32. General Why?
    General Why? says:

    Dear Brazen Gen Xers,

    Technically, while I am a part of Gen Y, I would never, ever describe myself that way.

    It’s just so darn Gen X to use the term ‘Gen Y’. It’s only the middle-aged, self-monikered Gen Xers that use these obsolete descriptors anymore. It just makes them sound, well, old. These terms are out-dated and it’s only the out-of-touch who use them for their pseudo-scientific observations.

    As for the job market, it’s pretty bad – though not yet quite warranting self-immolation. So, you’re perfectly right, there is a bright side!

    Blog me something else,
    ~ Gen. Why

  33. Deb5055
    Deb5055 says:

    I think there is truth in that young people will fair better in today’s market as they will be expected to take a lower salary than one who has x amount of years of experience. Why would an employer pay more if he doesn’t have to? I also believe that younger people are much more adaptable, its just the way it is, no harm no foul, older people are less adaptable. Younger employees are more computer literate than many of their older counterparts. I am an older worker, and an going back to school to learn new skills. This is just part of the continuing education process older workers must pursue in order to be marketable.

  34. lux
    lux says:

    Its true, speaking for the “youngins,” most of us are, or were formerly, optimistic about our careers. As such, low unemployment rates and increasing student loans resulting in debt, initially intended to foster our ideal careers, inevitably force us to lower our standards. When I say, “lower our standards” I mean in our current social, job market structure- A job structure that, formerly, needed and encouraged educated, young professionals (commonly with degrees) to help facilitate and lubricate the inner workings of any given business-affording a new perspective. Those bright and shiny career paths, often, sold ideal lifestyles that we wanted to access. These businesses, if still alive, are, like the rest of us, trying to keep their heads above water. Businesses and business degrees are becoming less and less of a “safe” investment. 

    Those flopping companies created commodities or services that were appropriate to our former needs/wants (Businesses assess the needs/problems within a society and attempt to create solutions). There are new needs, new problems (for old and young) and, therefore, new solutions. In McLuhan’s, Media is the Massage, he professes that it is irrelevant to apply old ideas to a new format. With that said, the “2%” decrease in business degree applicants is irrelevant. Not to say that there arent going to be new businesses… always, but they will most likely operate differently- we are worried, concerned, but above all else, active in a new, vastly different system. I still believe in the famous quote “the youth is the future,” and not a future that replaces the quote with, “well, we all have to eat.” It will be a future that is not living in the shadow of present day standards and expectations because, as seen, they aren’t even achievable for us if we wanted them to be. We’ll have new, different, equally valuable standards/drive and,therefore, results. 

    All of us, young and old, are forced to become apart of a new solution, being that there are new problems. If this was a moping story, a measure of who’s suffering most, well.. thats just retarded but… here’s a pat on the shoulder. 

    -Lux  

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