Generation “Why Bother”: What It’s Really Like to Be 20-Something Today

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People have a lot of opinions about money.

In our “Money Mic” series, we hand over the podium to someone with a strong opinion on a financial topic. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.

Today, Jessie Rosen, a woman in her 20s, reacts to a New York Times article that renamed Gen Y the “Why Bother” generation.

It’s hard not to be offended by the suggestion that your generation is, “literally going nowhere,” and that’s not just because I’m a 28-year-old currently pursuing her dream job 3,000+ miles from home.

The recent New York Times opinion piece “The Go-Nowhere Generation” went well beyond that dramatic characterization of my people, Generation Y—or as its authors Todd G. Buchholz and Victoria Buchholz cleverly re-named us, “Generation Why Bother.” Meanwhile, The Atlantic has labeled us “Generation Stuck.” 

According to them, we are, “risk-averse and sedentary.” We have a “stuck-at-home mentality.” We are “perhaps … too happy at home checking Facebook.”

And, they say, we’re unwilling to move across state lines—let alone off our parents’ couches—to look for work.

The Truth About the 20-Somethings I Know

In the words of one 23-year-old who lives six hours from home on account of the Teach For America program she works for, “this article is curiously void of interviews with actual 20-somethings.”

As one 28-year-old with a master’s degree in History from Columbia University (a school that is two states away from her parents’ basement) put it: “I hate anecdotal historians.”

In fact, each of the dozen or so peers I spoke with regarding this piece were more troubled by what it didn’t say than what it did.

For me, this article isn’t just frustrating because its authors paint the opposite picture of how my closest friends and I are actually living our lives (of my five college roommates, zero have returned to their hometowns). It’s frustrating because it avoids a real conversation about why those of us who aren’t currently “movers and shakers” feel the desire and/or need to be less mobile.

Regarding my own 20-something experience, I am a 28-year-old writer and branded entertainment producer living in Los Angeles. I am currently 2,819 miles from my hometown of Freehold, New Jersey. I moved here a year and a half ago after spending five years in Manhattan where I lived without financial help from my parents. I have a strong sense of independence and an even stronger sense of adventure. I’d rather fail than live wondering what might have happened if I tried.

Why I Didn’t Move to Italy at 22

To a casual observer it may seem like my life flies in the face of this article’s premise. I followed a passion that took me far from my home and family, one involving considerable personal and financial risks. But I moved to L.A. at 27 after saving enough money working jobs that I fully acknowledged were not my passion.

At 22, I wanted to move to Italy to teach English, but I did not. At 23, I wanted to take a road trip across America to write a series of articles about modern relationships, but I did not. At 25, I started to consider moving to L.A. without a job or any savings just to finally get my intended career going, but I decided it still wasn’t the right time. The economy was collapsing and unemployment was rampant, so I decided a stable life was more important to me than a wild and crazy adventure.

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Does that make me un-American? Does it make me sedentary? I know it doesn’t make me much like Tom Joad – the character from “The Grapes of Wrath” that this article uses to characterize the more adventurous generations prior to my own, but then again Tom Joad was fictional. If he were real, I’d love to ask him what he was doing for health insurance.

Where Is Our Safety Net?

If Todd and Victoria Buchholz had interviewed me about the times in my 20s when I’d been sedentary, I would have said that it was because the value I placed on safety and security outweighed the value I placed on risk.

If they asked me what contributed to those feelings, I would have cited the shaky economy, shakier employment opportunities and the cost of living an independent life in 2012. I would have also told them that I love Facebook, but generally access it from my laptop, which allows me to be both Internet-addicted and 100% mobile.

That is my personal experience, and I think it’s far more common than tales of 20-somethings stuck on their parents’ couches. But regarding those who are feeling less apt to adventure than generations prior, I have several off-the-cuff ideas that would form the basis of a perhaps more interesting New York Times article.

Maybe my fellow 20-somethings who haven’t yet experienced lift-off are crippled with fear about falling flat on their faces in an era without many safety nets? Maybe they were raised by “helicopter parents” who instilled in them an unweaning attachment to the comforts of home? Maybe, with the whole world at their internet-connected fingertips, they don’t feel a need to venture beyond being big fish in their hometown ponds?

These are the questions worthy of exploration. But next time The New York Times wants to know what it’s like to be a 20-something trying to be an adult in this very challenging time, I suggest they plop down on the couch next to one of us and ask.


Jessie Rosen is a writer, branded entertainment producer and the author of 20-Nothings, a blog about her 20-something life. 

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  • nharris

    The NYT needs to do more research. I am a 26 year old technologist and full time student.  I have been on my own since i was 17 and only went back home to help my family for 6 months when I was 21.  I have never received financial support from them nor did I ever expect it or regret having it.  I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in business and plan to continue on to my master’s degree.   I started school late because i had to work to take care of myself.  I am glad I waited too because I am focused and know exactly what I want to do.  So to NYT: take into consideration the audience you are addressing; we are all watching.

  • http://twitter.com/stephwint stephwint

    Thank you for speaking up. I would also add that older generations have a responsibility in raising our generation’s experience. All of these articles focus on us but take no accountability for the generations that raised us or created the economic and political landscape we live in today.

  • Aida Sefic

    I am 27, married, and living about 1200 miles away from my parents. I graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, had a job offer lined up after graduation and then it was taken away because of the crappy economy. Things worked out and I am working on my master’s and working. I have been independent and not reliant on my parents for a long time now. After my job offer loss and being in a situation where I am young, married, and 100% jobless with little prospects, I have become more risk averse. But, as other commenters and authors have said, this is what happens when you don’t have a safety net. I am, however, someone who wants to move relatively close to my parents in the future. No, I don’t want to live with them or next door to them, but within a 2-hour drive, if at all possible. I do place a lot of value on family, and as someone who wants to eventually have children and is not blessed with a bottomless bank account, I know that free child care via grandparents is something I would love to take advantage of. So, call me complacent, but you need to create a safetynet of your own if you don’t have one otherwise.

  • Amy B

    Oh, phew. I thought I was the only one who saw all these articles and wondered what the heck these people were talking about. I really resent that the lifestyle of a SIXTEEN year old is used to label myself and my friends. We’re all in our late 20s and started hitting 30, as we’re on the cusp of “Gen Y” – and yeah, it took us a few years post-college to figure it out, but it’s completely in line with the sentiment of this response. In a time of economic crisis, we simply couldn’t afford to make choices that seemed to be reckless or irresponsible (I laughed out loud in a tragic way about the health insurance comment) for the sake of romantic notion (because everything in that NYT article was just that – romantic and nostalgic). 
    So I worked an awful cold-calling sales job right out of school, and it sucked. But I did whatever I could to stay as far away from my parents’ house as I could (and knew there was even less opportunity in the sleepy suburb that I grew up in). Now I have a job that I can carve out my own path – and have ambitiously been doing so for 4 years. Complacency? Not a word in my vocabulary. I also think it’s ironic that while all these family values & planning are coming under fire, the only people I know who didn’t go to college and are bumming around my home town got knocked up in their early 20s and have been living the life outlined in the NYT piece. 
    Thank you, Jessie, for being a voice for the OTHER part of Gen Y – we need to be heard, too!

  • JackieAU5

    This NY Times article is completely insulting. ALL of my friends from home that I grew up with have moved far away to do their own thing. I don’t even like vising home because there’s no one to see or hang out with. My group of friends from elementary school through college are: lawyers, have master’s degrees (including myself), teachers, business executives, physician’s assistants, have worked 2 jobs, and have chased down jobs and education all over the country. All of us have gone through hardships due to this economy and to have such horrible circumstances thrown in our faces is laughable and depressing at the same time. Our generation needs to work harder and smarter and just because we do it differently than the generations of the past doesn’t mean we’re complacent or inferior. My god, all you have to do is walk the streets of Manhattan to see the millions of driven and ambitious young adults of Gen Y. 

  • Lauren M

    As one of those people who the NY Times article zeroes in on, I am highly offended by the stereotype and I wish they looked to more reasons why some of us DO stay near home. Among my friends (mostly in our upper 20′s), many of us did choose to stay near home or live with our parents after graduation. Why? Because we live in one of the most expensive real estate markets and the job market was pretty uncertain at the time. Also, staying close to home for us means being near excellent job opportunities. I live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We do not have to move across the country to find great jobs, but I also know people who have. To say that we stay in low paying jobs is also wrong. Both my husband and I have made major career moves within the last six months that pushed us out of our comfort zones. We travel and have fun but we also save because we understand security. We enjoy coming home from our adventures to a place that is not in foreclosure. We understand the importance of living in the moment but also see that there is a future we have to consider. I think this generation will in fact be the best of generations that understand fiscal responsiblity but also know how to live more than a little.

    For those of you who have chased careers and dreams across the country, I applaud you. I am fortunate that my dream job was less than an hour away from where I was raised. But I would have chased it across state borders and across oceans if I had to.

  • G. Otis

    Thank you for writing this piece! While it is always difficult to generalize an entire generation, the NY times article focused on a small minority. As an independent 26 year old, I’ve moved to major cities far from home twice already, and certainly do not have a “why bother” attitude.

  • T.S.

    I’m turning 30, married with two children, a homeowner…and yet I’ve never moved from my small hometown. Why is that such anathema? Being settled can be a GOOD thing…there is nothing wrong with stability, particularly for those who have no reason to uproot. My mother died less than a year ago…I’m very thankful that I *wasn’t* thousands of miles away and unable to see her through her battle with dementia. Perhaps we should place more value on what *really* matters…the people close to us.

    • http://mischievouskitty.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

      Totally agree!!  I don’t live immediately in my hometown, but I am still near my hometown, and about 15-20 minutes from where my parents live.  My decision was based on the fact that (a) this was where I found a job and an affordable home shortly after college and (b) the location really is ideal – close enough to New York City and Philadelphia that I *could* commute to either of those cities if absolutely necessary (and in the meantime, I just enjoy frequent day trips on the weekends!).  But I moved out of my parents’ house within 6 months of graduation and got married a few months later, and I haven’t depended on them for anything since then.  Though it is a fight sometimes to get them to let me pay my own way if we go out for dinner. :-P

      And very few of my friends stayed at home for any length of time after graduation, either.  As of right now (we’re all in our late 20s), I can’t think of a single friend who doesn’t have his or her own place yet.  Some stayed close to home, some moved away, but everyone is independent and self-sufficient.  I find it hard to believe that we’re ALL outliers.

  • Cj3wilso

    These articles about Gen Y are bizarre. It doesn’t take our current economy into account and the effects it would have on the youngest generation who always have the lowest wages and own the least assets. People in their 30s, 40s and 50s will always have more to fall back on because they’ve had a decade or few to accumulate assets, they also earn higher wages from years of experience. So it’s simply not surprising that when the economy crashes we’ll see more younger people who will need extra financial support or become risk-averse. My experience with 20 somethings is they have jobs or working for themselves which is not risk-averse!

  • Suzie Q

    I am so glad someone came up against the NYT article. As someone who consistently does not fit the mold, I can empathize with other commenters here. I’m an independent 26 year old full time student and I didn’t receive a dime of help from my parents after I moved out & went back to school two years ago. I think whoever wrote the NYT article has their head completely up their you-know-what. I really wish they had asked more of us why some of us have stayed close to home. If they had asked me, this is what I would tell them. One, I didn’t go directly to college. I started working after I graduated from high school. Why should I search across state lines when I had job opportunities practically in my own backyard? I live roughly halfway between Richmond and Washington DC. Up until last year, I had been working for the same company for almost 6 years, and I never had to commute more than 15 miles from home. Then I decided to do something more with my life and take classes at a local community college. I’m now graduating with my associates and pursuing a Bachelor’s in Historic Preservation. I also chose to apply to a local university because a) it is a highly rated institution that offers a degree in a field few schools currently offer, and b) I have older parents and elderly family members nearby that I wouldn’t dare abandon, so don’t tell me I’m not doing anything.

  • Mel

    I love this editorial. I am 26, I have two masters degrees, and am certified to be a principal in Arizona. ….. 3000 miles from my original home. The new York times should start doing their research.

  • Megan

    As a 28-year old attorney, also living over a thousand miles from home but working for a national job training program for youth, I believe the NY Times hit the nail on the head.  Yes, it’s a generalization, and there are thousands of Type A members of our generation who have moved and taken chances, who are not sedentary and unwilling to move away from home and family.  But I also see the other side through my job, where a majority of students in our training program will settle for minimum wage jobs, or no jobs at all, so they can stay in their rural hometowns.  I have also seen a lot of my high schools peers return from college to my hometown and take jobs for which they are clearly overqualified.  It’s happening.  It may be outside of our social and socioeconomic circles, but it’s happening.

  • 30something

    For perspective, I ask the author to read this article from The Onion making fun of the NYT’s penchant for writing articles that tend to bring out the fears and worries of a certain demographic: 
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/most-emailed-list-tearing-new-york-times-newsroom,2178/

    Journalism (I speak from experience) has unfortunately become a fear-based communication venue. And the opinion piece of which you wrote is more about parents’ fears about their kids not growing up. As I said to my friends on Facebook after reading it (and I’m much older than you): how long has it been since people lived at home until they got married? Maybe since the 1970s? The cultural push to get kids out of the home is a recent one, and one that ambivalent Boomers struggle with more, I think, than their kids.

  • Paula

    I don’t quite understand what the issue is with wanting to stay in your home town.  This feels like a difference in values between Gen Y and other generations that is not bad.  I’m 26 and went to school and got a job on the east coast, despite my whole family living on the west coast.  Looking back I’m not sure I would make that same choice again.  My family relationships are way more important than any career and I only get to see my family once a year.  

      

  • http://www.facebook.com/tailz Tal Flanchraych

    This is less of an observation about the NYT article — which I agree was one-sided and very “creative” in interpreting statistics — but rather a criticism of the LearnVest article and many of the comments on it. It’s tiresome to continue reading arguments along the lines of “this article is totally inaccurate because it doesn’t apply to me and my friends.” Of course this article generalizes — but when the majority of 20 and 30-somethings in America do NOT even have a 2-year college degree, whereas (I’m guessing) most of your friends do, it says something about how limited your own worldview is when you so arrogantly imply that people like you must represent the majority of Americans.

    Now, it is more than reasonable to question the NYT’s inferences, such as the writer’s claim that the decrease in young people getting drivers’ licenses is caused solely by risk aversion rather than, say, a combination of factors including changing attitudes towards car ownership. It is also very reasonable, for example, to question their reasoning as to why young people continue living at home — perhaps a statistical increase in people pursuing graduate degrees or starting their own businesses with little capital? 

    However, to quote a commenter below, “The New York Times should start doing their research” because the commenter “lives 3000 miles away from my original home.” Really? So the census bureau statistic that “the likelihood of 20-somethings moving to another state has dropped well over 40 percent” is wrong because little ol’ you (read: one human being) lives in a different state now?

    Also, the writer of the article states that the NYT article is frustrating “because its authors paint the opposite picture of how my closest friends and I are actually living our lives (of my five college roommates, zero have returned to their hometowns).” It’s awfully audacious and extremely conceited to assume that just because the six of you are living a certain way, the rest of America must certainly be following suit. Just by having finished college, you and your friends are a minority; only about 41% of folks 25-34 even have an associate’s degree, let alone a 4-year degree. Get real, people — anyone reading the New York Times is perfectly aware that there are ambitious and successful 20-somethings in the world, and they constantly publish articles highlighting that fact. So there’s an article about a group of people who mostly aren’t like you but happen to be your age? Get over it.

    Rather than reading the NYT article through a world-revolves-around-me lens, we should be worrying about what these statistics say (or don’t say) about changes in socioeconomic circles other than our own. Stop letting your emotions cloud your judgement, 

  • http://www.facebook.com/smecksie Melanie Carek

    I think it’s silly for most of these readers to take this NYT article personally. It’s an over generalization, which means it is not going to apply to everybody under this generation Y umbrella. I am 25 and I grew up in a shoddy area, Toledo, OH. It’s basically your smaller, crappier version of Detroit. I moved to Wisconsin only a few months after high school graduation. This move was the best decision of my life. I left ALL of my friends and family to pursue a life and career outside of my hometown because I strongly believe the environment in which you developed in and continue to do so, will affect the choices you make. I had to get out of there. Now I am in a wonderful career, with NO COLLEGE DEGREE, but am a self-taught graphic artist who works at a small advertising agency. The friends that stayed back in Toledo? Going nowhere. There was a friend that joined me in my move 2 months after I left. She is finishing her bachelor’s and working a full time job. I am recently married, she is recently engaged. I truly think where you are and how determined you are to go against the mold of our generation is the strongest determinant in whether or not you are one of these couch ridden kids or a grown up in your young twenties. Sadly, most of my friends back in Toledo have crappy dead-end jobs, live with their parents or have children out of wedlock fed by the hand of society’s tax dollars. I see it everywhere… 

  • Jphoward3

    Way to stand up for our generation! We have the choice to work where we want without anyone making judgemental conclusions. NYT definitely needs to find something with more substance to report on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/smecksie Melanie Carek

    Well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17703965 Alexis Greenwood

    This is a great example of using Statistics to paint a picture. Never a good idea. Way to fight back! I live 600 miles from my hometown. I was unemployed for six months after graduating from college. I took jobs as a live-in nanny (where I paid rent!) and borrowed from a friend to move into an apartment… ANYTHING to avoid moving home with my parents. I’m happy to say it worked out for me. I’m employed and still here. I guess there may be a lot of wussies out there who don’t want to “do it for themselves” but I certainly am NOT going to be lumped in with them.

  • Kbxrbabe

    I found the original piece so bizarre, it takes a few unrelated statistics and attempts to makes an argument that completely disregards larger social issues, rising cost of living, and shifting personal values. Maybe as a generation we prioritize differently. 

  • http://twitter.com/Taliban Tal Flanchraych

    This is less of an observation about the NYT article — which I agree was one-sided and very “creative” in interpreting statistics — but rather a criticism of the LearnVest article and many of the comments on it. It’s tiresome to continue reading arguments along the lines of “this article is totally inaccurate because it doesn’t apply to me and my friends.” Of course this article generalizes — but when the majority of 20 and 30-somethings in America do NOT even have a 2-year college degree, whereas (I’m guessing) most of your friends do, it says something about how limited your own worldview is when you so arrogantly imply that people like you must represent the majority of Americans.

    Now, it is more than reasonable to question the NYT’s inferences, such as the writer’s claim that the decrease in young people getting drivers’ licenses is caused solely by risk aversion rather than, say, a combination of factors including changing attitudes towards car ownership. It is also very reasonable, for example, to question their reasoning as to why young people continue living at home — perhaps a statistical increase in people pursuing graduate degrees or starting their own businesses with little capital? 

    However, to quote a commenter below, “The New York Times should start doing their research” because the commenter “lives 3000 miles away from my original home.” Really? So the census bureau statistic that “the likelihood of 20-somethings moving to another state has dropped well over 40 percent” is wrong because little ol’ you (read: one human being) lives in a different state now?

    Also, the writer of the article states that the NYT article is frustrating “because its authors paint the opposite picture of how my closest friends and I are actually living our lives (of my five college roommates, zero have returned to their hometowns).” It’s awfully audacious and extremely conceited to assume that just because the six of you are living a certain way, the rest of America must certainly be following suit. Just by having finished college, you and your friends are a minority; only about 41% of folks 25-34 even have an associate’s degree, let alone a 4-year degree. Get real, people — anyone reading the New York Times is perfectly aware that there are ambitious and successful 20-somethings in the world, and they constantly publish articles highlighting that fact. So there’s an article about a group of people who mostly aren’t like you but happen to be your age? Deal with it.

    Rather than reading the NYT article through a world-revolves-around-me lens, we should be worrying about what these statistics say (or don’t say) about changes in socioeconomic circles other than our own. Stop letting your emotions cloud your judgement and don’t take things so personally.

    • Janey3688

      Five thumbs up!!!

  • http://mauishopgirl.com/ MauiShopGirl

    I didn’t read the NYT article but definitely will make a point to.  I don’t know the statistics but although I’m a 40 something chick, I call many 20 somethings my friends through classes I attend or due to my blogging.  The 20 somethings I know are entrepreneurial and many live on their own, I don’t know their college degree status but do find them to be smarter, savier and more sophisticated than I was at their age.  The world is a smaller place due to the internet so many of them can also operate businesses from anywhere.  I do know 20 somethings living at home with their parents, no degree or career (job yes but no long term careers) and sometimes a baby in the mix. But when I was 20, I also knew people who went down that route while I went on to college and building a career, it is nothing new.  I’ll definitely go back and read the originaly NYT article because it would be interesting to see the statistics.

  • Aathila

    “As one 28-year-old with a master’s degree in History from Columbia University (a school that is two states away from her parents’ basement) put it: “I hate anecdotal historians.”
    How is this op ed any less anecdotal? If this piece was based more on stats and less on “this is what I did with my life” maybe we’d start to have a real debate about the perception of 20-something year olds.

    And oddly enough, this author’s anecdotes only emphasized the risk aversion that was portrayed by the NYT article.

  • http://thequarter-life.com/ Lgabelis

    I totally agree with Jessie.  The economy may not be great, but I think that just means people need to be a little more pro-active about finding jobs.  Yeah you probably aren’t going to be handed a job the moment you cross the stage at graduation but if you are wiley and on top of things, you’ll find something.  I graduated from a great university in a top program for my area of study and everyone from my program stuck around LA and found cool jobs.  Yeah everyone might not be making tons of money right off the bat and parental support might be necessary from time to time for a few…but for the most part, people are figuring out how to get by.  Alot of jobs come by my desk and I’ve started to realize that I don’t really have any unemployed friends to share these with anymore!  Which I think is a really good sign :)

    I’d also like to say that my sister graduated recently and got a job a couple months afterwards, she chose to live at home to save money.  I don’t see anything wrong with this and am rather jealous of all the shoes she gets to buy since she doesn’t have to pay rent!  Now if she were unemployed and mooching off my parents for years, that wouldn’t be idealic, but as a way to save a few bucks in a bad economy, I think it’s a great plan.

  • http://twitter.com/louderwombats Morgan Beach

    Good response, Jessie, but I would have gone even further in condeming this very single faceted view on 20-somethings and provided some statistics to the contrary!  Between 20-24, I lived in two foreign countries, completed college (in Denver) and a masters degree (in Los Angeles), ran a women’s issues organization, and worked full-time jobs during all of this. At 24 (after applying for jobs ALL over the country looking for work post-grad), I moved back to my hometown to spend more time with my family and boyfriend, but didn’t just get a do-nothing job and hang out with Mom and my facebook.  I work full-time at a non-profit, part-time as a adjunct college professor, volunteer with my local Rising Professionals group, am an appointed public official in our County, AND have a blogging/social media project focusing on philanthropy in the lives of Millennial women on the side (check that out at: http://www.louderthanwombats.com).  And I am not the most involved/traveling/entreprenurial of my friends and acquaintences!  I’m appalled that two of the greatest publications in the country publish such gross generalizations on this generation.  Why don’t you tell me what YOU did when you were 20-30, folks?! And we’ll have a discussion about it then…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharissa.dove Sharissa Dove

    Well said and I agree – I’m a 25 year old who moved to LA to pursue my dreams after getting my Master’s Degree. I haven’t lived at home since I moved out when I started college and in no way am I sedentary or sitting around at mom’s house surfing Facebook. I’m active, driven and definitely don’t consider myself to be a part of a “Go nowhere” generation. I actually don’t know a single person that would fit that bill. 

  • 2deuces

    Every generation has explorers and “stay at home”  members.  I recently started looking at the Facebook pages for my high school cohort (Class of 1970 – you do the math).  While I know there are many who moved far from “home”; there are a lot that live in the same county or nearby.  Many returned to take care of family members, or stayed to run the family business. 

    And while many of my classmates have multiple degrees and “A-list” resumes, (doctors, lawyers, educators, scientists), there are carpet salesmen, liquor wholesalers, and book store owners.  Just like every other generation.  As other comenters say, it is silly and lazy to judge any multimillion group from a small anecdotal sample. 

  • Kahart723

    “Maybe my fellow 20-somethings who haven’t yet experienced lift-off are crippled with fear about falling flat on their faces in an era without many safety nets?”
    I was lucky enough to graduate from college before the economic downslide, landing me a stable career. I have noticed, though, that many others who graduated after me, along with those who did not have such stable careers, have either seen, or worry because they’ve seen others go through, the effects of “falling flat”. I find our generation to be very risk-adverse – but who can blame us with the insecurity we feel regarding just being able to maintain a consistent job and afford to live on our own? I agree with Jessie, there’s a lot more to this issue and few people I’m aware of are literally just not even trying. As more people are responding, I’m loving seeing a more in-depth discussion regarding this topic emerge. Thanks for the inspiration, Jessie.

  • Icyhighs

    I finished my post grad in November 2007 – walked out the Uni gates and straight into a recession. I was 23 at the time. I went to Glasgow uni, which is not just in a different country, but a different continent to my own. 

    After living and working in two different continents since, I’m back to the parental nest as of three weeks ago. Not because I do’t bother, but because I do. I realized the need to get a job immediately after uni had somehow forced me into accepting work that was nowhere near what I wanted to do – but I did manage to pay off my hefty student loan. 

    I’m home to take stock, to reconnect and to make some decisions. I’m lucky to have a family that understands and supports me, yes, but it doesn’t make me lazy or incompetent. In a way, I’d have thought giving up the security of an established job and lifestyle to follow one’s dream is riskier behavior than roadtripping in college. 

  • Lemonlimez

    I agree with Jessie – NYT should be looking at what the underlying factor causing us 20-somethings to stay home – the economy. I have a degree but have opted to stay at home and help take care of my mother, working a job that was not my intended career choice. I have a sister who is another 20-something going to school full time and working full time. My mother is working a full time job and a part time job. If it wasn’t for me helping my mother, she wouldn’t be able to pay her bills and therefore would be living off government assistance. In my opinion, I would rather help support my mother, who supported me for 25 years than her needing to be on government assistance. And I believe the country and government would agree. 

    I was raised with high importance placed on family – because when it comes down to it, what’s going to keep you happy? Careers, cars, homes, material things can all be replaced with another like it – but you only get one family. I think that more Americans need to reconsider the priorities in life and that’s what several of us 20-somethings are doing. 

  • http://twitter.com/inflammatorywrt Kari

    There’s a pretty decent reason for not packing your stuff and heading out with no plan: It’s stupid. With telecommuting and access to different cultures and industries through, yes, the Internet – you can actually make informed decisions rather than throwing caution to the wind and just busting.  With the rising costs of living, not to mention higher education, who has the resources to just set out on their own? People’s folks used to pay for college. Now the students are usually footing the bill with the debt to match.

    That being said, most people I know leave home at some point. My 27 year old brother just moved to Seattle from the east coast.Also? people driving less = good for the environment. 

  • Emilia

    Thanks for posting, Jessie. Too often, I read about 20somethings who make stupid decisions and then blame xyz for the outcome. Some of us do work our tails off, find jobs we love, and make some sort of contributions to society. Rock on.

  • kirby

    I’d also like to add — what’s wrong with choosing to stay and work in the community where you grew up?
    After spending time studying abroad, and living in Connecticut for 2 years (through Teach for America), I decided to return to my home in Ohio, and work on contributing to my community here. I may not stay here forever (certainly not at this point in my life), but I feel great being able to say that I’m helping to improve the city where I’m from.

  • Elle Sea

    @859a9d9ceea42d15a39d071a541c9cd2:disqus I totally agree with your statement. I have chosen to stay in my hometown because I know that I can make a difference. It would be wonderful to live somewhere else that is fabulous, but it is ALREADY fabulous. I’d love to be a part of making where I grew up a great place to live. Also, there is something really special about knowing everyone in town and growing up with family around. My friends have been very jealous that I have parents that can help drive me to the airport, meet me for lunch, and have nights in together. I’m a homebody/independent 26 year old buying my first home with a really great job. I do have a Master’s degree from a state university but to be honest, this is kind of rare in my city. There are a lot of 20-somethings who have had trouble finishing their AA degree and work in the service industry. But, in their defense, this is what makes the world go around. If they are okay with that lifestyle, we should be okay with it too.

    • Person

      Americans of the past generation (one good overgeneralisation deserves another) seem to have a cultural fixation on solitary nomadism, and the college system and job market seem to be almost intentionall set up to reinforce, or even force, this “ideal.” Naturally, they’ve been trying to pass that fixation, among many other constucts, on to their children. Its not their fault. When you’re convinced through experience and indoctorination that the world works in some specific way, you’ll try to convince others. The problem with these cultural fixations is that they have no objective quality or value. Its not inherently better to move away for a higher salary vs. staying near home with a more modest income just as its not better to be Christian vs. Pagan, straight vs. gay, a banker vs. a musician, etc. Human beings are capable of making choices, and the only bad ones are the ones that actively hurt. Of course, this culture also teaches us that if it doesn’t hurt at least a little, we aren’t doing it right, so who am to say.

      While I know the author of this article is on our side, and an excellent advocate at that, this inheritance seems to show through in her writing as well. There is still a vague implication that the more miles from home we go, the closer we are, somehow, to reaching our “dreams” (the dream thing alone is worth its own dissertation, that’s how complex a construct it is). There was a suggestion that if the economy was not the mess it is today, we’d all be jetting around just like the NY Times folk say we should. As some posters before me already wrote, what’s wrong with staying in a place we already love, with people we already love. Another construct that goes hand in hand with the lonely, mercenary nomadism is the idea, no doubt puritanical in origin, that pain is good and pleasure, even the wholesome pleasure of sitting across the table from an old friend, or visiting your parents, is somethimg to feel guilty about. If we don’t drop the familiar, we are not taking enough risks, not getting far enough outside of our “comfort zone” – our lives are less valid because we haven’t tempered them with some grandiose, often agonizing mercenary migration.

      I am all for travel and exploration if that is what one enjoys and feels drawn to. But I am fervently against the blanket imposition of any one value system on anyone that may be better suited or happier otherwise. I know many people who felt pressured to move as far away as possible because they were “supposed to,” because otherwise they were not experiencing life fully, were setting themselves up for regret, etc. Most of them ended up miserable: big salaries without friends or family to share the success with, or unwind with on the weekends, unfamiliar streets, the pain of starting from scratch. New friends have to be sourced from the workplace or the internet (after all, we’re not teenagers or college kids anymore…where else do you look?), and as a result most relationships are surface, artificial, with a real connection becoming a rare and lucky find. And when they do finally start to put down roots, to feel just a bit more comfortable, to “adapt;” either something “better” pops up in yet another alien region, or they simply get laid off.

      Again, some people thrive on the challenge of constantly reinventing themselves through nomadism, and more power to those people. Everyone is different. If I had to guess what was more common, however, the solitary nomad who loves it or the solitary nomad who feels like migration is an obligation, my money is on the latter. Humans have always been a tribal and social beasts by nature. Uprooting ourselves on a regular basis to chase a buck isn’t our natural state of being…well, we did move about, and we did chase bucks, and other woodland creatures, but we did it together, as clans, as teams. Remember when banishment or exile was considered a worse punishment than execution? There’s a reason for that. It hurt like hell. It still does, but because we impose it on ourselves, we pretend that it doesn’t, or at least not that bad. Just like jet lag, it will go away in a few days. And we tell ourselves lies and stories to make it ok. Sorry, but moving to, say, Seattle for a job doesn’t count as “seeing the world.” What you’ll see are two, maybe three airports, and then Seattle…well, parts of it…mostly the office/studio/cubicle, and those parts you drive past every day, but are too tired to explore properly. Well, there’s always the weekend. Now if only you had someone to go with…

  • Meeks

    The NYT article is arrogant. According to Todd and Victoria, if a 20-something isn’t behaving like the 20-somethings from their generation (apparently, driving across state lines) then s/he isn’t contributing to moving the country forward. I would like to point out that if my generation didn’t learn from the mistakes of the previous generation, and if we continued living well above our means, sitting in traffic for 2 hours a day just to get to/from work and moving to a new state/country to chase the highest wages then our country would never be anything but what it is right now. Todd and Victoria lack imagination and can’t dream any bigger for America than what she is right now. Sentimentality kills. You know what else kills? Driving to places that are within walking distance, taking out thousands of dollars in loans to pay for an education, and comparing real people from 2012 to fictional characters from the 1930s. The way the past generation lived is not sustainable for the planet or economy. Be thankful, Todd and Victoria, that Generation Y is making new choices. Also be thankful that it is not the 1930s and no one has to go on a Steinbeck-styled journey from Oklahoma to California to find food.

  • fauwl

    I hate this view of our generation.  Yes, I know people from my hometown who left, went to college, moved back in with their parents and have yet to start a meaningful job, grad school, or even a meaningful relationship, but that description doesn’t fit me.  I graduated with a degree in finance and had received job offers before I even graduated.  I have been working as an analyst for two years, have my own car and condo and live several states away from my hometown.  There’s nothing wrong with staying in your hometown if it is ripe with opportunity, but for my peers that doesn’t seem to be the case.  It irritates me to no end that the successful people of are generation are overlooked in favor of less ambitious people.

  • Jumpgirl34

    I’d like to know exactly what the intrinsic value of moving away from your home town is.  For me, I moved from the capital region of NY to central PA to pursue my PhD and namely to escape the reach of my micromanaging, callous and emotionally detached parents- an unlikely combo of traits, I know.  If I had had a better relationship with my family I probably WOULD have stayed local though.  The graduate school in Albany has one of the best nanotechnology institutes in the world.  Furthermore, why should I go through the difficulty and incredible expense of moving myself vast distances (dragging along my anxiety disorder suffering cat I might add) when there are good graduate schools that I could easily visit and size up, houses in neighborhood that I could personally visit before deciding on a purchase, and research I found interesting, available closer to home?  What is the value in making a poorly informed decision or risking my ability to support myself and successfully complete graduate school simply to put more ground between myself and my roots?  And is there really anything wrong with loving the community that nurtured your youth and wanting to remain there, enriching it and giving back?

  • MarineChick86

    We are a generation that stood up when the nation needed us to, went thousands of miles around the world to do the nation’s bidding, and did so of our own volition–no draft needed.  If that is not the opposite of a “why bother” attitude, I cannot say that I know what is.  I am a 25 year old woman, living on my own, in a house that I own, driving a car that I own, and holding down a steady job.  A number of my friends can claim the same accomplishments.  And of those who did return home for a time, none remained in their parents’ homes for more than a year.  They all stayed for a short time to get their feet under them, and save some money before striking out on their own–a move that I would argue is wise.  Perhaps we should be known as a generation who are forward-thinking and patient, rather than “risk-averse and sedentary.”  Afterall, it is not our generation who got us into the economic mess that we are currently dealing with; maybe it was exactly that lack of wisdom and patience, which the generation before us posesses, that did so.  Perhaps it is the “reach out and grab a slice of what [I believe, simply because I was born] is mine, right now!” attitude that caused unscrupulous lending practices–why save money and live within your means, why be patient and stay home a year longer to make sure you will succeed when you do step out on your own, if you can have it all right now?  Who cares if it makes sense to take out a loan that your income really doesn’t cover?  Perhaps we have learned to be “risk-averse” by watching the generation before us fail when they were not “forward-thinking.”  Perhaps we should be called Generation “why follow in the foot steps of those who walked us into a recession?” 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PJD6YMSDBI2DZ2RGOTMQYJ5SMU yahoo-PJD6YMSDBI2DZ2RGOTMQYJ5SMU

    I can’t stand the way people generically view my generation. Supposedly, all we care about is checking our Facebook and waiting for things to be handed to us because of our feeling of entitlement. 

    I wanted to do a teaching program all the way in Japan but I decided after graduating college that I needed a decent job to pay off my loans.  I’ve been working hard ever since and didn’t account for the economy tumbling the way it did. I’ve moved 3x to find work and have saved every penny available. Don’t even think about calling me sedentary.

  • Just Jill

    Yeah! Great article! I get frustrated with the complaints about our generation, that seem to be written by bitter other generations, who don’t seem to know us at all (maybe they are too busy being risky?). Every broad characterization I hear seems to apply to people I certainly don’t know. They must be reporting on the exception, not the rule. Thanks for standing up for Gen Y!!!

  • ナイキ ジョーダン

    それから私は、重いもあなたのPLRのモンスター UGG ブーツ の記事のパッケージには、良質のコンテンツを提示するが、それは検索enginesC理想的な男性の体(アポロのような)で、ランキング取得することはありません私の左に喘ぐ聞いた。理想的な女性の身体(アフロディーテのような)あなたのPLRのモンスターの記事 アディダス パッケージには、良質のコンテンツを提示するが、それは検索enginesGaiaでごランキング取得することはありませんすることはもちろん、外につま先ステッピングの復讐のため、ゼウス、等以来、ゼウスのために敵のいくつかの並べ替えを希望しているであろう

     Ahhhya”いいえ、” I “は、今年も町にママたちを取るつもり?”ウェブサイトにおけるGoogleParty pooperの犬で”犬はロケットショットから守るために、 ニューバランス マルティグラの上を飛んでスリリングさをsaidAds”私はそれかもしれない数えるデニス·トンプキンスともこの無一文悪夢の調査官のエッジの効いたウィットは、ニューオーリンズの裏道でどのような方法で彼を助ける彼は児童虐待容疑のために法廷に現れたとき、彼の衣装をデザインを担当したマイケル·ブッシュによって設計されていた?悪いと醜いが彼に対して陰謀を企てるように、彼はニューオーリンズのモンスターに対して彼自身の地面を ナイキ スニーカー 保持しなければなりません

    懐中電灯は、簡単に把握する範囲内であったが、 ナイキ通販 私はそれに手を伸ばした時、おばさんエレンはゼウス、ヘラクレスのような他の人の援助を受けて神々のofOlympus、間に後者の紛争はほとんどすべてをオフに終了したことを私の心の端の近くに光ったタイトな思考に開催ガイアとやはり様々なベッドパートナーすべての ナイキ スニーカー 修正に関連する雑多な子孫は彼の彼のトレードマークの腕章などの軍事インスピレーションaccessoriesTheスフィンクス(間違いなく女性とギリシャ語のバージョンで加えて、忍耐で行われ、怒りなしで洗練されたスーツは彼の強迫観念となったされるべきである頭、翼と胸像) ナイキ スニーカー が、スフィンクスによって守らギリシャの都市のofThebesの入り口を望んでいた ブーツ ugg 通行人によって誤って答えた場合、彼女の謎、 ugg 正規品 のために悪名高いです彼女の次の食事でスフィンクスを提供

  • oakley

     ’ファイン、私は思った、あなたはそれを行う。 サングラス レンズ交換 しかし、私は、同じ罠に落ちることはありません。その後、数ヶ月前、私は眼鏡を買った。 “彼らはイヴ·サンローランでね、”私の眼鏡屋が言った。そして、代わりにあくびをし、私は ” – ヨーロッパでプレタポルテの先駆者ああ、そう”と思った メガネ 選び方
    この本に取り組むことは、過去と現在のファッションデザイナー、敬意を強化しました。あなたが仕事の大きな体は、少なくとも半年ごとに自分の才能を証明することが期待されている多くの創造的な専門職が存在することはできません。加えて、多くのデザイナーは、 メガネ 自分のコレクションではなく、他のブランドのものを持つだけでなく、関与している。 メガネの愛眼 確かに、彼らは彼らと一緒に働く大規模な設計チームを持っている – そうでなければ想像することは不合理であろう – しかし、彼らはプレスレセプションがchilly.Soされている場合は、大学に入るために土取りを考えているフラックを取るものです。それはあなたが野心的であることは良いことだ。最初の質問は、大学が新入生として入学したいですか何ですか?関連記事

  • 最新サッカースパイク

    しかし、このようなナイキのサッカーシューズなどの市場では非常に多くのサッカーシューズが、彼らは新しいファッションですワンピースフットボールの靴、サッカーシューズとして成形されているW杯後には、C羅、メッシになりたいですか?彼らは私がダスラー兄弟がに属するメソッドにより間隔、その後、特定のサッカー業界の方向に近いものの示唆前作のサッカーシューズの進化の中でさらに大きな役割を果たしていたyoungers有名なブランドである場合、それらのすべてが有名ですプロデューサー新しいメッシスポーツのこれらの種類を添付メッシの名前の方向活動アクションの靴やブーツナイキサッカーシューズは、それらはすべてナイキMercurialの蒸気機能ナイキサッカーは1つが果たさなければならない可能性がただ単にクリート互いに機能に向かっ属する全体のアールミッドレンジの靴は偽物材料の合成型で作られており、最終的に最も高価は芝生の上でプレーするために使用貧しいカンガルーleatherSoccer靴から作られ、さらにこの開発したトラクションと耐久性を向上させることができる取り外し可能なアルミニウム製の靴キャップ付きアウトソールを持っている傾向があるサッカーシューズをねじ込み金属または単にサッカー選手のために設計プラスチックstudsSoccerの靴を装備していた1950年代の

  • wang20132013

    これは6月の民主主義ではありません!急行BNOは!、Seのクッキーソフィーからそれを防ぐことができずにBNOは国連政府選挙を課す。それはひるむしないマスは、我々は戻って今夜と明日来る。厳密chan luu for men

    さが投票をNtRTIsたとえ改革Gnraleアプリケーションそれぞれをブロックします。政情不安オープンエアマックス旧正月プランコンテストprvoit 6月drgulationマーチの仕事はすぐ下の賃金ベッドと新しい経済budgtaires raliserナイキサメのスタッフが流れている場合。国連は2013年、バスルームでexcdent 36億に到達する前に神父acclrantLS構造改革と民営化は、lsのプライマリー赤字はTHEN5億2014年途中、2012年にbudgtaireinfrieurユーロ2060000000であるべき。借金それは今代わりに150%の2020年には対GDP比136%から増加するであろう。みなさ対策の残虐にもかかわらずそれが少ないとのこと、IMFとEuropenne連合の当初目標であった120%完了削減されるだろう。安いUGGオーストラリア1993年には、まナイキ エア

    だ彼の父の殺害から動揺、マイケル·ジョーダンは、彼は一年近く検討していた何かをした。彼はバスケットボールから引退。彼のゲームの上部には、3選手権を獲得した、史上最高のバスケットボール選手は床をオフに歩いた。驚くほど、MJは、野球のダイヤモンド上に歩いた。ナイキは、ナンバー23へのオマージュで、今ではエアジョーダン10レトロとして再導入されているオリジナルの靴をリリースしました。有名なナイキモンスター イヤホン

    のデザイナーティンカー·ハットフィールドは、商標キックの9までの3デザインの反復でマイケルと組んでいた。しかし、MJはナンバー10のコンセプトに全く手がありませんでした。靴は、しかし、ブランドの特徴となっていマイケルマイケルコース店舗

    たデザインと素材の品質を負担でした。最初の実行では、靴のつま先の幅を実行している革のバーを特色にした。番号23は、彼のキックが邪魔好まが、ゲームへの彼のリターンに時間のため、このバージョンを着用しなかった。これは、野球のマイナーリーグで彼の短い任期中に発生した唯一の変化はなかった。シカゴ·ブルズは、彼の退職時に彼らの象徴的なシューティングガードのジャージを引退tiffany リング

    した。したがって、彼のAirness未満の18ヶ月後にバスケットボールに戻ったとき、彼の番号は使用できませんでした。彼は時間を着て数45、彼の野球の識別子のために遊んだ。オリジナルのハットフィールドの設計のいくつかは、革にステッチ45を持っている。

  • Killah

    I really appreciate your rebuttal in defense of our generation; graduating in challenging economic times with heavy debt and work prospects that seem to be few and far between. But despite our unique challenges, many of us are determined to become independent and self sufficient.

  • Tiresiess

    I’m 28 years old and on the autism spectrum. Since I spent most my childhood getting through homework, I’m spending most of my time now learning basic independent living skills. Cooking meals, keeping an apartment clean, small talk, social mores necessary to hold down a job etc.Speaking of which, I have an interview coming up–and with any luck will make enough to pay the rent and start to pay off student loans.

    • Dan Williams

      Tiresiess – Thank you for sharing. Best of luck to you with your interview.