Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who promised you a rose garden?

Stephanie Johnson, a recent college graduate wrote a touching (if rather naive and self-pitying) commentary about the curse of graduating in the current recession/depression in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required).

[W]hat I'm certain will mark my existence forever is this: The curse of graduating in 2009... my college class faces the toughest job market in 25 years and our wages will be less than those of other graduating classes for at least a decade...

The unemployment rate is 9.4 percent when I walk across the stage... and accept my bachelor's degree in English. I smile as the photographer takes my photo, not knowing exactly what I'm smiling about.

I'm lucky; I know this. My graduating class is largely unemployed right now, as are thousands who graduated before us. Data released in October from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds is 15.1 percent...

I struggle with guilt over not appreciating the job I have...

For now, being cursed is something other graduates and I have no choice but to live with. There are few jobs to be had, and there is no upward direction to strive for. I don't know what to set my sights on, because the jobs I thought I'd be doing are either filled by people with years of experience, or they have disappeared.

I'll just have to worry about it if and when our curse lifts. |Chronicle of Higher Education|

There are so many people in the world who would kill for a chance to come and live in our depressed economy. And those of us lucky enough to live in the United States need to come to grips with the fact that we are no longer the world's richest country.

We're deeply, deeply, deeply indebted to the rest of the world. Norway and Japan have higher standards of living than we do and China has far higher currency reserves. Japan also has more advanced consumer technology.

The United States is a second world nation and the sooner we accept this, the happier we'll be.

We need to lower our expectations, individually and as a society.

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