Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lost generation

Being somewhat recently graduated from college, I'm watching so many of my friends and aquaintances struggling to discover what they want to do the rest of their lives, or searching for that always-elusive "perfect job." You know, the one you never mind getting up early for, the one that gives you a sense of purpose in the world, the one about which you'll never (or hardly ever) complain, the one that just might rocket you to stardom, or at least to recognition as a great humanitarian and the subject of an Oprah show or a made-for-TV movie...

I'm know we aren't the first group to experience this state of post-college limbo. But why are so many people I know still living at home, or doing mundane admin assistant-type jobs instead of anything remotely related to their majors or their passions? We're a generation who's been told we can do anything we want, but maybe there's such a thing as too much possibility. It's paralyzing to think about all the opportunities we have, and so difficult to choose because any decision we make could be the wrong one. It's easier to retreat to what we know.

I'm not knocking on admin jobs or living with the 'rents...my own job situation is way less than "normal" and we're all realizing that the real world isn't the rosy place we invisioned while we were in college. It's funny; we're always told the real world will hit us like a ton of bricks when we graduate, but it still comes as a shock to most of us anyway. I wonder if our parents did such a good job nurturing and raising us that on some level we just don't understand why the world isn't as loving and supportive as it seemed while we were growing up. Why wouldn't the boss at that perfect company take one look at us and our resumes crowded with extra-curriculars and hire us on the spot? We always made our parents proud; surely it stands to reason that others would recognize our amazing talents and abilities...

I don't mean to be so sarcastic. No one could have had more perfect, loving parents than I have. And a job doesn't define you, I know that, but in our culture it goes a long way to explain who you are, like it or not. I just want to see all of my friends do well--I've seen how amazing they are, how much potential they have, and there's no reason that all of us shouldn't have a full life and a fulfilling career.

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