My generation is fascinating to watch. We grew up in the middle of the greatest economic boom (artificial boom, maybe, but a boom nonetheless). As such, it’s amazing to witness what we expect out of life. We expect things to happen for us. We expect a four year vacation (college) where we can study fun things like psychology and history prior to entering the “real world” without any real skills. We expect a high paying job with lots of benefits and a wonderful work/life balance.
It’s not our fault. We were raised this way. Yeah, it’s our parents fault! They did so well that they bought us cars, took us on vacations, got us used to this nice lifestyle where things were easy and plentiful.
Fast forward to mid-2010 and this reality that we knew is starting to show cracks. I know countless people in their 20s with expensive degrees in worthless subjects like public relations that are either bussing tables or working for $20,000 a year in some job that is hardly stimulating. Thus is the economic reality of today.
Might we see a shift in the next crop of young people? Maybe more people will realize that they need to goto college and get a degree in a hard/real skill (i.e. computer science, engineering, nursing, accounting) versus the vague, general degrees of business administration, public relations, psychology, and other liberal arts programs. Maybe people will realize that a college degree (which is not exactly tough to to get these days) is not a sure path to a high paying job. Maybe they will realize that they will need to work hard on personal development, work hard on making the right connections, and work hard to get their foot in the door somewhere.
As jobs become more scarce and tuitions increase, the perception of higher education is likely to change somewhat. Let’s face it, I got a degree in computer science which is actually relatively difficult, but it was still a joke overall. I attended probably 50% of my actual classes while still getting a 3.7 GPA at a school actually known somewhat for their academics. I was more concerned with what bar I was planning on attending that evening versus my academics. Maybe just another sign of education being dumbed down in this country? Perhaps.
Regardless, I think my generationn is waking up to the fact that things are going to be as easy as we thought. We’re not going to automatically assume levels of wealth of our parents generation just because we’re used to it. Just expecting something doesn’t mean it’s going to materialize.
In the long run, this is probably a good thing. What do you think?
For more reading on this subject, check out a classic post I wrote a while back on the 21st Century Worker.