'The Lost Generation' is Over-Educated and Outfoxed by Baby Boomers
On New Year's Day, the first of the 76 million Baby Boomers turned 65 years old. Many more of them than expected will continue working. Experienced in how to play the go-to-work game, they usually outfox younger generations at getting jobs. You might say these boomers know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, ranging from what to request for compensation to how much sucking up to do.
However, this bloc of savvy older workers is just one obstacle standing between youth and jobs. The other is over-education. Sometimes called the "education bubble," there is a tragic syndrome afflicting Generation Y. Essentially, it constitutes continuously acquiring academic degrees as a supposed remedy to unemployment. When the newbie bachelor's degree graduate can't get a job, the next move is to prepare for and be admitted into an advanced degree program in law, public relations, social work, journalism or even the fine arts. More often than not that graduate also faces unemployment, this time saddled by possible six-figure student loan debt.
No surprise, Generation Y has been labeled "The Lost Generation." They are scattered globally, reports The New York Times. Actually, The Lost Generation seems even more lost in nations like Italy and Spain. The New York Times article features Francesca Esposito, 29, who lives in Italy and has master's and law degrees. In frustration she recently quit her unpaid internship.
Recommendations for Generation Y:
1. Stop with the bachelor's degree. Then get a job, any job. That will teach you how to go to work. If another degree would prove useful, negotiate for your employer to pay for it and attend part time or online. It is usually a bad investment to leave a job to return to school. The opportunity cost often is too high, plus there's no guarantee the added credential will pay off.
2. Avoid educational debt. Community college, which is low cost, might not be a bad way to begin matriculating toward the bachelor degree. Without the albatross of student loans, you have many more options, including experimenting with being an entrepreneur.
3. Observe Baby Boomers in the workplace. They know how to handle themselves on the job. You can learn plenty.
4. Live cheap. You will know when you can start to indulge in a middle class lifestyle. Baby Boomers lived like paupers until they made that rite of passage into marriage. You're not there yet.