A specter is haunting the bubble generation — the specter of negative job growth.
America’s millennials, Emily Bazelon reports, cannot come to grips with post-bubble existence:
Apprehension, with an enduring edge to it. That’s the general mood among the twentysomethings I’ve heard from during the last several weeks in response to a question I asked about how the recession is making them feel. The fear isn’t just about the present but about the long-term future. Octopuslike, it has many tentacles. But the most strangling aspect, I think, is the perception of my Gen Y e-mailers that they dutifully set up their lives based on assumptions that suddenly no longer apply.
When dreams of McMansions and SoHo lofts come crashing down, it’s tough. One twentysomething Bazelon interviewed characterized her predicament of having to sleep on an air mattress in a shared bedroom as “the ‘real world’ thr[owing] up all over us.’” We only hope Bazelon’s interviewee finds someone to hold her hair through such queasy economic churn.
But perhaps these bubble boys and girls haven’t been so much vomited on as crapped back in time. An excerpt from a 1960 edition of Time Life’s World Library book on Soviet Russia:
Long accustomed to a bleak existence, Russia’s people in the past few years have witnessed a marked improvement in living conditions [...] Even a well situated family feels it is lucky to be able to rent a cramped 31/2-room Leningrad apartment.
Rather than rue their condition, twentysomethings should put things in perspective; if they were living in Soviet Russia, they’d be living high on the hog — air mattress and all. This family looks quite happy:
Then again, they probably aren’t saddled with $100,000 in student loans. And they can see a doctor for free.