Feature

Business columns: Shed no tears for the Class of 2009

My generation actually is lucky, because we&rsquo;ve had &ldquo;to let go of &lsquo;supposed to,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Suzanne Merkelson in the <em>Chicago Tribune.</em>

Suzanne MerkelsonChicago Tribune

Reports of my generation’s doom have been greatly exaggerated, said Suzanne Merkelson. I’m a member of the Class of 2009, supposedly “the worst year—ever—to graduate college.” My classmates and I are told our job prospects are limited to retail, restaurants, and unpaid internships, and we face a future of depressed income levels even after “we have real jobs and have paid off mountains of student loans.” But I don’t buy into this gloomy scenario.

My generation actually is lucky, because we’ve had “to let go of ‘supposed to.’” We were “supposed to” find the “amazing entry-level position on the career stairway to heaven.” We were “supposed to” be financially independent straight out of school. Instead, we’re holding down three part-time jobs to make the rent, and considering whether to volunteer with AmeriCorps, take up organic farming, or teach English in China.

With no clear path before us, we “can get away with pretty much anything right now.” For us, the forbidding job market isn’t a dead end but an opportunity. “We’ll find our way out of this messy maze” not by “asking for directions, but by leading everyone else out.”

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