cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner

cartoon from Toothpaste for dinner

As you may have noticed, I’ve become sort of bored with and neglectful of this blog. It didn’t really have an express purpose, so the posts just became random. I realized that if I weren’t me, I probably wouldn’t want to read it.

So, I’ve decided to devote Don’t Quit Your Day Job to a brand new topic: my generation. The deal is, I’m 24, I just finished a master’s degree in journalism (I know, great timing, right?), and I’m struggling to keep my head above water. As you may have noticed, the economy is a disaster, and it’s affecting urban 20-somethings in a number of very specific ways. While we may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars of life savings to lose, we’re being laid off by the hundreds of thousands. Only one of my roommates (there are six of us, in case you’re wondering, in a four-bedroom apartment) has made it through the past four months with his full-time job intact. Another was cut back to 3/5 time (“Is that like being 3/5 of a person?” we wondered), and another is conducting a grueling job search as he waits to find out whether the ailing institution that employs him will renew his contract for another year. The rest of us are scraping by as students and part-timers. I’m doing a lot of freelance work, and I can’t complain, because I have it better than a lot of other people I know. (And also because instead of saying I’m “unemployed” I can say I’m “freelancing”–which is less embarrassing!)

Anyway, the point here is not to bemoan our fate or embarrass ourselves as a bunch of young, middle-class people with BA’s or MA’s from respected institutions of higher learning by talking about how rough we have it. I get it, okay? Our lives are much easier than most people’s. I just want to promote some intelligent discussion on our generation. Baby Boomers (who, remember, got us into this mess) like to talk about how lazy and apathetic we are, because they don’t have the self-awareness to realize that we are the way we are because we saw them give up their lofty ideals for corporate jobs and, apparently, white-collar crime. There is also a lot of complaining–especially from those of us who would do well to look in the mirror while we’re talking–about hipsterism and the lack of any authentic youth counterculture. I want to look at the way we live our lives and talk about ourselves to get at the heart of what’s intrinsic to our generation, and why.

Obviously, this is a conversation that doesn’t work without your participation. So, uh, participate, OK? Tell me what you want to talk about.