Let’s take a hypothetical woman who graduated from college in 1994. Call her, oh, I don’t know, “Megan McArdle.”Oh holy jumping Jesus.
Megan basically hit the demographic and educational lottery: She graduated from an Ivy League school with no debt. Unfortunately, she had a degree in English, so her first job paid only $19,000. Double unfortunately, she was laid off. She went to work for a startup, where she was laid off when it folded...As the drunk said to Stony Stevenson in Between Time and Timbuktu, that's the saddest story I ever heard. Long story short, McArdle's tale of whooaaa is meant to convince... well, nobody; she compares complainers to children, and throughout her chronicle (which might make a nice ebook entitled "Down and Out at the Koch Institute") never misses a chance to tell the kids, in her own sorry-notsorry way, you think you have it rough? It's just a way to fill column inches, and for some people the best way to fill column inches is to offer oneself as an example of grit and determination, a Horatio Alger of the Thermomix set, for the littlebrains to emulate.
Is the job market unusually bad right now for millennials? It sure is, and believe me, millennials have nothing but the deepest sympathy from me and our hypothetical. Life seems scary, and y’all don’t deserve this.
But here’s the funny thing: When I was moving out of my parents' home and into the 435 square feet of paradise where I spent my last years in New York, I was seriously panicking...Down at a stinking blind tiger, no doubt, and out of a growler. And not one of those artisanal ones neither! Then up six flights of stairs to the cold-water flat they shared with the Delaneys...
My mother took me for a 32nd birthday drink, which I had a hard time enjoying, given that I was freaking out.
Be sure and catch up with the earlier column to which she refers, containing advice to the people she would later hector, including:
Let this [economic catastrophe] open you up to things you’d never have considered. I had no plans to be a journalist; I stumbled into it. And if I’d had better-paying options, I might not have dared to take that job at the Economist, because financially, it was a huge struggle: My disposable monthly income, after loans, rent and taxes, was in the low hundreds. But I love journalism more than any other possible career I could imagine. It may end up being a good thing that the Great Recession shocked you out of “normal” and into “scramble” mode...As if you needed any more proof that The Up Side of Down is going to be the biggest inspirational best-seller since The Five People You Meet at a Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein Shooting Match. When life gives you lemons, make Avocado Wasabi Ice Cream!
My sympathies are with people who have to live with this shit economy. I'm sure I don't have to convince you good people but here's a little something from USA Today anyway:
U.S. workers were more productive from April through June than previously estimated, while labor costs were unchanged.
Productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the April-June quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.9% growth, the Labor Department said Thursday. Unit labor costs were flat in the second quarter, less than the 1.4% rise the government had initially estimated.Keep working, slaves, or we'll have to cut the budget on our corporate image campaign.
The combination of stronger productivity and less of an increase in wages should provide assurances to the Federal Reserve that inflation is not a threat.Oh yeah, about that:
Fed downgrades its outlook for US economy...
The Fed predicted Wednesday that the economy will grow just 2 percent to 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent growth.Add to that the traditional "job creators" not actually creating jobs and you'll see that, whether you're Y or X or Boomer or Whatever, you're fucked and you have a right to complain. And like all your rights, it's something the McArdles of the world want to take away from you.
UPDATE. Post mildly edited for clarity. Comments are understandably hot on this one, mainly concerning the absurdity of McArdle's self-presentation as a struggling youth. We should keep in mind that even privileged people have real troubles, and sometimes may share them out of a yearning for fellow-feeling -- to show that down deep they're the same as you. McArdle, unfortunately, shares them only to show that she's better than you, because she knows some readers will believe it and buy her book so they too can learn how to do "scramble" mode well enough to achieve Meganhood. Look, if Donald Trump can get away with this shit, why not her?