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Generational inversions

January 11, 2011

There was an article in the WSJ that caused a stir among working mom professional collegues as well as with our blog buddy NoOneOfAnyImport. Interestingly it talks about how the Chinese parents expect their kids to sacrifice. This also incurs sacrifice of the parents own reputation as “good guys” – plus their personal time to do something other than hound the kids on homework.

Whether you like it or hate it – those parents ARE investing in their kids futures. They invest time, money, energy, effort and their reputation as a parent. There are a lot of cultures that invest for their childrens’ futures. Unfortunately, more and more it feels that the only investments-for-the-young that the democratic liberal West intends to make relate to ‘saving the planet for our kids.’

Saving their economic futures? Not so much. From Bloomberg 

many young people sense they are getting a raw deal. This generation will graduate burdened by big debts. If they want to buy a house, it will be cripplingly expensive, and there may not even be any mortgage loans available. Jobs are scarce, and often not very well paid, certainly when the cost of the education required just to get your foot in the door is taken into account.

Governments across Europe are running up vast debts, money that will have to be paid back in higher taxes by today’s 20- somethings. Retirement ages are being raised all the time. …. They can forget about spending a few decades cruising around the Mediterranean and touring the Spanish golf courses like their parents.
….In the euro area, the costs of austerity packages required to salvage the single currency are being paid by the young rather than the middle-aged or the old.

I recently had an experience that caused me to pause and reflect on the meaning of this in my own life and work world. As a mother and a GenX’er, it caused me to wonder if my own opportunities were tapping out because of those who were a decade older (late boomers). Until now I hadn’t thought about the impact to my own childrens’ opportunities. It’s a terrible trickle down effect – because of my generational squeeze from above, and the current policies being implemented – what opportunities can they have access to even if they get straight A’s, play “My little donkey” on violin and have 3 PhDs? NY Post

There have been 8 million jobs lost during the recession that began during President Bush‘s administration and continued during Obama’s time in office.

So even if there have been 1.3 million jobs created in the past year, that’s next to nothing, especially since — as I said — it takes at least 150,000 a month just to absorb new people seeking employment.

Who are “New people seeking employment?” Right now it’s still the kids of baby boomers. In 10 years, it hits my kids. Unless something changes, their only hope appears to be of the eternal kind – not the “Hope” that  was used as a recent campaign slogan…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 12:43 pm

    I was looking for a growth opportunity within my current company and continue to hear “yeah, we SAID we wanted someone creative with vision who’s a risk taker BUT we really feel more secure with someone who’s managed much larger teams for the last 10 years without any vision because they used to do much more than this, so we’re confident they are a safe bet”
    another friend’s future BIL is graduating from engineering school & hearing “you’re smart, have great internships, great recommendations – but we can hire someone with 5 yrs of experience for the same salary”. That comment about engineering school for your kids? Opt for plumbing 🙂

    • January 12, 2011 2:41 pm

      sorry to hear it didn’t work out. things may be worse than I realize. Not being in the workforce, and hubs employed by the Navy, does tend to insulate. Duly noted on that engineering degree . . .

  2. January 11, 2011 3:16 pm

    Thanks for the link, missy lady.

    You make a good point about what the practical effect of this crushing debt will be. We all say “don’t force this debt on our nation’s children” but what does that really mean? It means opportunities will be drastically reduced by the time our kids get around to looking for opportunities.

    This fact has already influenced my mindset with regards to the boys’ futures. I’m less interested in college degrees and more interested in the hands-on skills I never acquired: from plumbing and building to car engines and computer hardware, to hunting and fishing and slaughtering and canning.

    Go to college just to go to college? Oh no I ain’t payin’ for it unless it’s a specific avenue to a specific technical career: medical, engineering etc.

    To be fair my own experiences and my husband’s also contribute to this skeptical attitude towards college.

    I’m curious what exact experience caused you to pause and reflect as referenced above. Do tell.

    cheers blog bud
    Linda

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