Doree Shafrir writes for Slate:
I was born during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a one-term administration remembered mostly for the Iran hostage crisis, the New York City blackout, and stagflation. The Carter babies—anyone born between his inauguration in January 1977 and Reagan’s in January 1981—are now 30 to 34, and, like Carter himself, the weirdly brilliant yet deeply weird born-again Christian peanut farmer, this micro-generation is hard to pin down. We identify with some of Gen X’s cynicism and suspicion of authority—watching Pee-Wee Herman proclaim, “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel,” will do that to a kid—but we were too young to claim Singles and Reality Bites and Slacker as our own (though that didn’t stop me from buying the soundtracks). And, while the proud alienation of the Gen X worldview doesn’t totally sit right, we certainly don’t yearn for the Organization Man-like conformity that the Millennials seem to crave. […]
But maybe we’re not the only ones who feel unmoored. After explaining the gist of the piece to a 29-year-old friend over email, she responded: “I feel like I’m especially without generation because I’m not quite a Carter baby but not really a Millennial either. … I feel like Noreen, who is only two years younger than me, is of a slightly different generation, which seems crazy! But it feels true.” Her email was a classic Generation Catalano move: dancing near the spotlight, and then dancing with herself.
(via Amanda Sledz)
I hate the name, but I can identify with this, although I missed the Carter administration by about 10 months. Some measures of when Generation X place its end as late as 1981, while the Millennial generation starts as early as the late 70s. There’s a lot of overlap.
I’ve previously generations aren’t really that different from each other, but I get really annoyed at articles like this that refer to young people’s desire for a better life as a “sense of entitlement” (especially since the author of that article clearly didn’t even read the article he was replying to). I was lucky enough to graduate college in 2003 as the economy was recovering from the dotcom bust, so I was able to establish a career and avoid many of the long-term effects of the current recession on young people. But those effects are real, they’re worse for the millennials than most and they have every right to be upset about it.
Meghan O’Halloran was one of those who had her career derailed by the timing of her graduation.
She left Cornell University with a degree in architecture and six summers of internships at top firms in New York, Milan and London.
"I thought getting a job would be a snap," she said.
But after graduating in December 2008, just as job losses in the economy were reaching a high point, she was confronted with a very cold reception into the labor force.
She followed her boyfriend to China for a year, and found architecture work plentiful in the building boom there. But when she returned home at the end of 2009, not much had improved, and no one was hiring.
"I’ve applied for temporary work," she said. "The answer is always the same, ‘We wish we could hire you.’"
She’s decided to leave behind her hopes for a career as an architect and has started her own business making custom fabric, carpets and furniture.
The kids mentioned in this article seem relatively lucky. They have jobs, or businesses. What’s only hinted at in the article is trickle down unemployment - as college graduates settle for jobs for which no college degree is required, it makes life more difficult for those without degrees.