What happened to the New Lost Generation?
Today, I woke up and “Lonesome Jim” was playing on IFC. A couple of years ago, I watched this film, which stars Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler, with my father. At the time, we laughed at the idea of 27-yr-old man living at home. The other comical element also happened to be that he was an aspiring writer with a collage of suicidal authors pasted across his wall. As an English major, that was one of the first things I picked up on. It all seemed like a bad joke.
In the film, Jim’s mother poses the question, “What did we do to make you kids so unhappy?” Jim, in the midst of watching porn he fumbled with the remote to turn off when his mother entered the room, poses that maybe some people just aren’t meant to be parents. It could be true, but I think the most logical explanation is that this generation, my generation – we make ourselves unhappy. There are a lot of things to be unhappy about these days, but this generation was fueled with dreams of success and hope for the future. On the news, I see pundits talking about how lazy twenty-somethings are, but it doesn’t help that we’re dealing with one of the worst economies in history and a lot of potential jobs verge on scams.
To pay the bills, I typically look for tutoring work. Pretty recently, I went to a job interview with a pretty widely known tutoring company. The job promised $25 an hour, flexibility and compensation for travel. Sounds great, right? Surely, I could not complain about the wages or the hours. Well, there was a catch.
After I went through an interview process, which required at least 3 hours of preparation to complete a presentation, I was called back because this company wanted to hire me. I found out that for the first month and a half, I would have to attend training at minimum wage and this would not secure me a position at the end. In addition, there were no guarantees after that that I would receive $25.00 an hour because that was based upon experience. Worst of all, I could be a test proctor on weekends, which would require maybe 2 hours of work total, and there was a possibility I would have to commute for up to 45 minutes in one direction.
And people wonder why this generation isn’t able to launch. The bulk of jobs available to us are menial, low paying jobs. Most of my friends, unless they received a degree or certificate in a specialized field like pharmaceuticals or nursing, work a part-time job in retail, food services or tutoring. Some of them are still in school, on their seventh year of earning a 4-year degree. Money isn’t everything, but when you live in a place where the minimum salary to survive is $40,000 a year, that isn’t too helpful.
Look, I’m not trying to sound like some numbskull that is ungrateful for what I’ve been given. My life is great – I’m not suicidal, I have family and good friends who care about me, I have a place to live and I have managed to save up enough money for the moment to get me through this period of unemployment. From this experience, I have learned my life, life is valuable and I have discovered what make up my true passions. Let me tell you, I love living. It’s just that I can also empathize with those who feel a little down about their positions in life. Sheesh, I don’t want to live with my mother forever, either. At the moment, it’s just tough to find my way out of that circumstance.
Here’s a list of some yo-yo generation themed schtuff:
It won’t be easy, but we have to find a way through this mess.
This entry was posted on January 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm and is filed under generational theory, movies, resolutions with tags literature, Adrien Brody, Dunham, Girls, MGMT, Casey Affleck, Lonesome Jim, IFC channel, numbskulls, test proctor, tutoring, experience, low paying jobs, part-time jobs, 4 year degree, boomerang generation, interviews, interviewing, interview tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.