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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Overeducated and Underqualified: Generations X & Y

I understand that I am technically considered a part of generation X- I rode their coat tails into this life, and while I dislike most of what they stand for, I identify with them a lot more than I do with the Y-Generation. For my generation, we bought the idea that college and education were the keys to living a wealthy and prosperous life. And then 2008 happened. Suddenly hordes of well educated college graduates had no ability to pay off their burdensome student loans because guess what? No one wanted to give jobs to people with Bachelors of Arts in the Humanities. Suddenly, we had a generation with diplomas who were unhireable- too indebted to be able to afford to work at minimum wage, but unable to do much else.

I was thinking about this today because a coworker of mine was discussing how many students today seek degrees, not educations. Can we blame them, I wonder, given that "education" in and off itself doesn't put much on the table anymore? I was blessed enough to have gone into something practical enough that my Master's Degree allowed me to work in a trade, but not blessed enough to have picked something that diversified. Because now it would take an act of God to get me into anything else. I'm too well paid to go back into entry level work, but not paid well enough to move to a nice side of town or for my husband and I to be able to make our monthly student loan payments comfortably.

So, like so many from my generation, we are busy finding out how to live in post-recession America. We got rid of everything extra to make it through the hard times, and now we are still in debt but there's nothing else to minimize or downsize- there's nowhere else to cut before cutting the amenities that make our lives run- like vehicles, the mortgage that's cheaper than rent, and an ever increasing PG&E bill.

In my daily Bible reading, I've been re-reading Ecclesiastes. For those of you who have never read this slender, obscure book of the Old Testament, its a philosophical book that is credited to King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. In this book, he tells of his journey seeking the meaning of life- he seeks after education, pleasure, meaningful work, amassing wealth, you name it, he tried it. Throughout the book, he continues to state that all the things people seek after are as meaningless as trying to catch the wind. His rather fatalistic conclusion is that the best you can do from an earthly perspective is to hope that God will bless you with enjoying the works of your hands so you don't have to think too overly much about the tragedies of life. He also ends his book urging you to seek God in your youth, and not wait to find out about Him until you are old and life has lost its luster.

So what is the point of my rambling? I guess I want to remind myself, and my generation, that no matter the circumstances, or how much is in the bank account, or how much education you managed to get, the only real question at the end of it all is, "Did you find God?" Pre or Post Recession, no other question really matters. That's not to absolve me of my responsibility to be a good citizen, pay off my debts, and contribute to the world I live in- rather, its the reason I will follow through on that responsibility- because God is with me, there in the details of my daily life. Have you found Him yet?

1 comment:

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