This an incredibly insightful (and lengthy) discussion on one of the biggest issues of my generation. We recently got to talking about this on my podcast (not a plug) but we are all of a certain age (early 30s) and we see this among our peers constantly. I was surprised to find this phenomenon has gained some sort of recognition, and it is real.
There have been some well written responses to this article
And while I would definitely agree that it isn’t an exclusive condition to those born 1981 to 1996, it is that my generation has withstood a particular confluence of global events that has heightened the amount of burnout we are witnessing. And that slate article misses the point a bit about how that article is what makes the burnout of the people in their late 20s to late 30’s so unique.
To me it really has to do a lot with the large amount of always online connectedness that our generation grew up with. I am on the older side of the millennial scope, but it feels very real to me, and transcends economic and social boundaries. We were the first generation of “helicopter parents”, and while I certainly didn’t have that kind of up-bringing, I was still studiously shuttled to soccer games, cub scout meetings, and school band and play practices. We were taught that we needed to be doing something all of the time (whether to get into a good college, or a good job)
This was compounded with the rise of facebook (we got it in 2005 at my school) where instantly we could connect with everyone and simultaneously feel the need to be “on” at all times. Posting information about what awesome new job we got, or how we just had a kid, or a new car or house.
Anyway, this is turning into a post lunch coffee break stream of conciousness rant, but I really felt the connection to this phenomenon. I see so many of my peers still working multiple jobs or near entry level positions just to keep up. My career growth personally was severely stunted by the 2008 market crash (I graduated in 2008) and lost my first job 1.5 years in, spent almost 10 months on unemployment until I found my next job, an entry level position making 14.5 bucks an hour 2 years out of college. I was 2 years behind my peers, and it sucked. I have always felt 2 years behind everyone my age. But I know I am fortunate. This latest era of low unemployment has been a boon for people like me with 5+ years of experience in a field. I was able to shop around for a job, and pick from multiple offers.
I also got married and we bought a house (with the help of a loan program, and some family donations to get 5% down) and I now feel like my life is really starting, and I am 33. I feel behind, always. I always feel like I am the oldest person at my level, and it sucks. (less so now than in my previous job) But I feel fortunate, because I see so many of my peers that will never have the financial stability that I have been able to grow. You see articles about how you should have X money saved by 30 etc. I still feel like I don’t have enough, and I know that I am less financially stable than my parents at 33.
It really feels like we, as a generation, are reaching a crisis of financial stability and home-ownership is something that is becoming more and more un-obtainable as the years go by. We are being stretched at both ends right now.
Anyway, have a read, very interesting stuff.