This is an old New York Times story (end of August) that somehow came across the Twitter transom today, but it’s pitch-perfect Times. It answers one of the pressing questions of middle America, and dare I say of all 99-percenters: How fares the 26-year-old Harvard grad who couldn’t get a publishing job with her English lit degree? Well, friends, it’s pretty dire:
At one point, she had applied for an editorial-assistant job at Gourmet magazine. Less than two weeks later, Condé Nast shut down that 68- year-old magazine. “So much for that job application,” said Ms. Klein, now 26.
One night she bumped into a friend, who asked her to join a punk rock band, Titus Andronicus, as a guitarist. Once, that might have been considered professional suicide. But weighed against a dreary day job, music suddenly held considerable appeal. So last spring, she sublet her room in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn and toured the country in an old Chevy minivan.
“I’m fulfilling my artistic goals,” Ms. Klein said.
Meet the members of what might be called Generation Limbo: highly educated 20-somethings, whose careers are stuck in neutral, coping with dead-end jobs and listless prospects.
What’s more telling is that she would be offered as emblematic of a generation — “Generation Limbo” as the author puts it — along with the likes of Stephanie Morales, a 23-year-old Dartmouth grad who wanted a job in “the arts” but has been forced to work as a paralegal, and who claims that half a dozen of her Ivy-League friends are on food stamps:
Some of Ms. Morales’s classmates have found themselves on welfare. “You don’t expect someone who just spent four years in Ivy League schools to be on food stamps,” said Ms. Morales, who estimates that a half-dozen of her friends are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A few are even helping younger graduates figure out how to apply. “We are passing on these traditions on how to work in the adult world as working poor,” Ms. Morales said.
*The unemployment rate for college grads over 25 is 4.2 percent, and I quickly summed the unemployment numbers for the 20-24 and 24-29 demos and figured out that the unemployment rate for 20-somethings is about 12.2 percent.