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October 10, 2009



Yeah, I got pretty badly "scarred" getting stuck in small town Australia after leaving Uni. Terrible recession - 2 years unemployed. So I ditched Oz for Japan.. and landed into the teeth of their 15 year long "lost decade". Even so, Japan has a "can do" attitude you don't see much elsewhere so at least I always have had a job... in an American company, of course.


What this generation has in its favor is numbers - there are a lot of them. This will get mass media attention in time for them to get fair warning.

(Get out the violin for the Gen Xers) One neighbor is 39, recently laid off. Another is 35, recently laid off. 35-year-old is a scientist with UC Berkeley credentials. Took her until age 29 to finish school. Both 30-somethings already feeling discrimination in the market for being ... too old. At the same time, Reuters just reported half of all people born into upper middle class will live to 100. Asked neighbors what happens to people when they turn 40 - who hires them, where do they work where do they go? 35-year-old says: they send us to the glue factory. None of us have started families, thinking we needed solid financial foothold before doing so. I'm shaking them (especially the 35-year-old) stop waiting - just start a family, figure the rest out later.

I'm grateful this is happening when I'm young strong and flexible enough to readjust lifestyle, expectations, relationships, strategy.

Move back in with your parents is great advice (would if I could.) I would add: seriously evaluate the ROI before signing up for grad school. Choose a public college over a private one. Attend a community college for the first two years to save money (in California we have a good system for tranferring to U.C. from community college.)

This younger generation graduating now is going to be fine. The sooner they pop out of denial the better.

Now put the violin away. At least postmodernism is dead. Multi-generational living will lose its stigma, cut the necessity for tween prozac. The adjustment is the hard part, those of us who make it to the other side will make do and celebrate the small victories.


I agree, moving in with parents is the smartest move financially and tribally. The problem is many parents (especially Baby Boomers) are hopelessly wedded to the illusion of post-war onward-and-upward American exceptionalism. So much so that to break with this wordview is effectively a break with your parents, an outright rejection of their values and way-of-life. They still expect their children to head out into the world on their own and strike it rich in the globalized corporate utopia. Convincing them this is a dead, nay hazardous, ideal can be very difficult.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, where's the new book ;)

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