The Lost Generation? Give Me A Break.
by Alex Urban | University of Georgia
According to an article on The Atlantic Wire, American youths are stuck in neutral. Unemployment among 16 to 29-year -olds is higher than it has been since World War II. People in their 20′s are living at home longer and are struggling to find job opportunities. Adam Estes posits that this will in effect cause a “lost” generation.
While I don’t doubt the economic recession has impacted the ability to get jobs and the amount of people living at home, the kind of attitude expressed in this article makes my blood boil. Instead of blaming the economy and the stock market, today’s young adults need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize they have what it takes to achieve anything they want- we just need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.
I find it ironic that the article in question mentions that unemployment in the youth bracket is higher than it has been since World War II. You think the problems our generation faces are bad? Try being a 20-something in 1943. You could have been on a landing boat heading to face an army of pure evil. The youth generation from that era would laugh at our current generation for complaining about a 12 percent increase in unemployment. There is a reason they are called the “greatest” generation. They earned the title.
Whining about economic problems isn’t going to get our generation any closer to achieving professional and personal actualization, but getting off the couch and approaching life with a positive and determined attitude just might.
According to the article, Harvard economist Richard Freeman says that “people will be scarred, and they will be called the ‘lost generation’–in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster.” Well guess what, Richard Freeman? We didn’t avoid this economic disaster, so things are going to be different. Just like things would be different if 9/11 hadn’t happened, if we hadn’t been involved in World War II or if there was no war in Vietnam.
To say that our generation is doomed to become “lost” because of a simple economic recession should be taken as a personal insult to every young American. How a generation responds to adversity is how it is defined. And if we keep sitting at home licking our wounds and lamenting about difficult circumstances, our legacy will be one of apathetic embarrassment. Didn’t your parents teach you there is no use in crying over spilt milk?
Instead of writing and reading articles about how we are becoming a “lost” generation — which creates a self-fulfilling prophesy anyway — we should be looking at this recession as a challenge, and accept it.
While we are in a recession, America is still the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, in addition to being the most progressive. Opportunities are scarcer than they were before the recession, but they do exist. A recession is a minor blip on the radar of America, and it shouldn’t beat down a generation.
Our generation needs to quit sulking and realize that things could be much worse. We could be going off to fight the deadliest war in history. How we choose to deal with this recession will likely define how we are viewed in history. We only have one chance, so why don’t we get off the couch and make something of ourselves?Alex Urban is a NGJ Voices Contributor and Public Relations Master's student at the University of Georgia. He graduated from Clemson University in 2011 and was the editor of Clemson's school paper's (The Tiger News) opinions section. He is interested in a wide range of topics from international relations to sports and pop culture.