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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2011 edited
    Once you've lived through three or four Moments That Will The World Forever, it's easy to become blase.

    Ten years from now we could all be waxing nostalgic about the Good Old Days as our robot chauffeurs pilot our flying cars to the first Whitechapel Meetup on Mount Everest.
  1.  (10289.2)

    Then again, that's no reason to become blasé to them... Having been born in -75 and remembering stuff from childhood on really well, it's incredible how the world has changed in just my short lifetime.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2011
    Yeah but how many of us saw the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the 87 Stock Crash or 9/11 coming?
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2011
    I agree with a lot of what's been said and much of it resonates with my own experience. In terms of who to blame, that's a tough one. I don't necessarily blame my parents' generation, but I do know they don't have any answers when I ask them how the fuck I'm ever meant to escape debt, get on the property ladder and get enough money together to raise kids. I'm 31 now.

    If (and it's a BIG IF) the aforementioned was what I wanted, surely I should be in some position to achieve it now, after a decade of work? But no... I'm not. I spend my meagre wages every month. I've never saved a penny. I'm a fairly smart guy, but even when I found a good career (teaching) and was prmised a good wage and plenty of opportunities, all that happened was a wave of cutbacks at the school I worked for, and I ended up making less money teaching than I had been tending bar or working in admin. I've gone back to Uni tostudy something I love. This will get me in further debt, and I've no guarantee of work arising from the qualification I gain.

    If I can take anything from the unattainability of the middle class lifestyle my parents and people of their age seem to expect me to have right now, it is that now is a time to gamble. Do what thou wilt. Go for what you love. Play from your fucking heart. Because seriously, if the alternative is slaving away in a call centre or trying to make ends meet teaching subjects that bore me, what the fuck have I got to lose?

    Debt holds no terror for me. Bankruptcy doesn't scare me. I could give a fuck about a job that brings me social status, because I've never seen eveidence that one exists... at least not one I could get, not without an extensive network of contacts developed at private schools and Oxbridge.

    So, recession? Yeah, bring it the fuck on. II'll either make a go of it doing something I love, or end up broker than I am now. Besides, I'm grateful - I have a computer and ripped software to make music. I can illegally download the latest Hollywood movies. I can download ripped e-books. I live in an economy of theft and I don't pay for anything I can steal.

    Do I think this is right...? No. But considering I've been paying half my wages in rent for ten years, what the fuck else am I meant to do? I'm not a protestor. I'm not political. I take my freedom from technological solutions to creative modes of expression. Occupy Wall Street if you want, I'll be making beats in my bedroom.

    /rant mode off
  2.  (10289.5)
    I'm 38, and don't have quite the same issues - I'm in a reasonable place career wise (although not really where I'd like to be - some of that's down to me and my own lethargy) - I'm at a kind of middle manager level in a big company, and touch wood, it's pretty secure (at least, if they did get rid of me the payoff would keep me going for a year at least). I would hate to be in my early 20s at this point, can only imagine what it must be like to be trying to make a start in this climate, with rents, prices, everything going through the roof and no jobs on offer.

    But while I feel really lucky to be there, it also feels like a treadmill - I have 4 dependents to feed and pay for, and a mortgage, although my partner holds a lot of equity in the house, if I wasn't working we'd have to move, and god knows where we could afford, and I'd be heartbroken to have to leave this house and area. I don't like commuting - my daily journey totals 4 hours, and on top of a 50+ hour working week, that leaves me shattered - but I couldn't afford the pay cut I'd have to take if I was to quit and try to find something closer to home - I feel kind of trapped by the responsibility.

    I worry a hell of a lot about the future - my final salary pension became unaffordable and I had to downgrade it, so don't feel secure there, and I live off credit cards to keep the car running - although I'm trying to pay debt down it's damn hard. But more than that, I don't know what to expect for my daughters, what opportunities they're going to be left with.

    I'm envious of my parents too - they're retired, on good pensions, have paid the mortgage off and seem to be mostly on holiday now - fair play, I suppose, I do recall them struggling quite a bit when they were my age.

    And I suppose I'm starting to feel more angry and militant than I have done for a long time, especially with the vile bunch of kleptocratic cretins running the country - all the bloody corporate lobbying, creeping privatisation, assault on the public sector and the destruction of the health service. Coupled with the constant bombardment of marketing crap and vacuous celebrity culture, I tend to feel close to tears unless I turn my brain off...

    tl;dr - modern life is rubbish
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2011
    I find hope in stuff like this:

    Peer-to-Peer Lenders Take Banks Out of the Credit Equation

    You need lending and borrowing to get businesses up and running. Using modern technology to get the parasites out of the equation smells like hope. Make the vampire squids obsolete.
  3.  (10289.7)
    @dorkmuffin - thanks for sharing that article, it was a great read.

    I find myself in an interesting situation in that I feel as though I shouldn't complain about my job. At all. I'm employed, using the degree I spent time/money/effort to earn in college, and lucky enough to have a whole pack of coworkers that I enjoy. And yet, I can't help but feel as though I'm not completely satisfied with work, as though I might be happier doing something else. Could it be a case of the grass being greener on the other side? Sure. Could it be a genuine desire to pursue other lines of work? Sure.

    The predicament is that given the jobs market, I feel that walking away from a solid gig is both foolish and disrespectful. At what point will there be enough jobs that I'll feel confident that if I fail at a new venture, I still be able to find something to fall back on? Ever?
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    I am exactly in Rendar's position. A mix of feeling utterly grateful and trapped. And feeling like a swine for having the luxury of feeling trapped.
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    I'm finding it interesting that the definition of "making it" has gone down from "being successful at something they enjoy doing" to "having a job and getting an apartment" for a lot of people in my generation.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    @Stefan: Wow, that peer-to-peer lending idea is interesting...I hope it may become a succes.

    I'm in doubt. A lot of people seem to be putting a whole lot of blame on banks, and telling them they should have done better, but I don't think it's going to be easy to come up with something that is actually better.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011

    I think that a lot of the blame comes from the fact that the banks, via the predatory lending with the housing market, are to blame in some ways for the current economy but they are only partially to blame. Jobs weren't great before 2008 and unemployment was only starting to go down in 2006 from when it started going up at the beginning of Bush's first term when the burst and 2008 Recession happened.

    The problem with making it better is that it isn't just banking reform, taxing the rich, or reforming the student loan system; the issue is much more complex than those three things and fixing them, whatever way you could fix them, will not create new jobs and/or opportunities as those seem to be what are really missing. Yeah, more money would be great but it seems like many of the complaints from people on this thread revolve around the type of job they're doing, not necessarily the money attached to it (though I don't think anyone here would complain about making more). I mean, being a fry cook at $25 an hour, you're still a fry cook and that might not be as fulfilling as working in the industry you want to.
    • CommentAuthorSolario
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011

    Very true in regards to the $25 an hour fry cook example, but if you made more money doing a menial or unsatisfying job in the future than you do now, you'd be able to save up to start an independent business or do something more fulfilling in your spare time. It really would give everyone better opportunities for social mobility and creating more satisfying jobs for themselves.

    And if less demanding and creative jobs were better paid, maybe people who didn't have those types of aspirations could pick less demanding jobs that would let them do what they actually wanted in their spare time. If you could make a comfortable living doing something boring, but you had money and more spare time, it could be an acceptable job for the individual.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    I made the boneheaded error in judgement to try to start an arts career right now. Both my and my photographer fiancee are in the same boat. If we were doing what we're doing now ten, fifteen years ago, both our careers would be in a steady climb. But funds are tight, nonexistent even, and the well of talent is drying up, getting discouraged or trapped in dead-end jobs. It's mental, but not the sort of mental that older folks I've met experienced.

    As for you older folks trapped at jobs, there's a term for that: "wage slavery". It gets tossed around a lot, but the meaning, and being trapped in it, is actually terrifying on an existential level.
    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    I suppose this is life in the American Dream now...which is pretty fucked up to put it mildly.

    I'm 38 pushing 39. Graduated from a top flight university during the recession in the 1990s...took a relatively crap job at the time because there weren't many other options. Eventually stumbled into my 'career' which paid pretty well at the time in the grand scheme of things. However, whilst getting paid well, I went through 4 companies and 8 bosses in 10 years. 3 of those 4 companies no longer exist - one died by acquisition, one by bankruptcy, one by divestiture. The money was fine, but the work was empty, soul-sucking and led to significant issues with depression and related health problems.

    I've been out of work for about a year and half...but at the end of the day, I'm exceedingly lucky as my wife is in a very stable position that she actually mostly enjoys. So financially, we're relatively okay and focused on the important things in life. Along the way, I've gotten healthier and happier. Lost 130 pounds, managing depression much better, etc.

    I've pretty much written off a return to corporate life at this point. I realize that no company is going to be focused on the well-being of its people if financial stress is on the line. So I going to focus on doing what I want...landscape photography. It won't make me rich...but I'm hoping I'll lead a better life that what I've burned through in the past 15 years since entering the workforce.

    Even if I fail, I'll be my own man.
  4.  (10289.15)
    Rant Warning.

    Personally, I have a big issue with a lot of expectations and false beliefs for what will get people ahead. I love school (to a point). I love learning things. I'd go back to college in a heartbeat if the finances were right for it. But. Our culture needs to stop telling high school kids that the way to get a good job is to go to college and take a loan that they will be paying for the next who knows how many years. We need to stop telling kids that community college is for losers. We need to stop telling them that trade schools are something to look down on. What school we go to, and what jobs we have do not define us, and we need to get over that. And while my generation is starting to get that, I still see a big deal made about how important it is for kids trying to get into the best college out there. Yes, having aspirations and dreams are great. And college can be a great investment. But it isn't always, and it's an exceedingly expensive way to "find yourself".

    High school students should know how to do a budget, and do it consistently, before they graduate. They should know about things like IRAs and Roth IRAs, and have one started. I had a class that was half economics my senior year of high school, and we barely went over it. And that was my one AP class!

    How can we expect people to manage their finances well when they have to learn by trial and error? Because I have to ask, how many of you knew how to do any of that stuff by the time you graduated high school (or moved out)? Anyone?

    Sure, there'll still be lots of people doing stupid crap with their finances regardless of what we try to teach them (my sister), but it wouldn't be such an overwhelmingly huge amount of people like it is today.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2011
    There's such a thing as taking pride in a shitty job...being a great janitor is not a thing to be ashamed of. Not everybody can be a well paid corporate manager or well-paid artist or tech wizard...

    It's too bad people are sometimes given the message that if you remain a janitor for your entire working career, you fail at life or something.
  5.  (10289.17)
    42 over here, and honestly I'm pretty happy with my corner of the world right now. It's got nothing to do with my job, which is 8 hours of semi-indifference a day, but at least it pays the bills. One of the advantages of never being quite sure what it is I want to do with my life is that a job that doesn't actively suck and pays the bills is good enough. It's the time out of work that makes me happy. My job is not my life, it's the thing I do to fund my life. It probably helps immensely that I don't have a car or children, though. Small needs plus actually having a job goes a long way.

    On the downside, at 42, I really should have just a bit of something planned for retirement. Anything I do will be starting from zero. If I had to go out on a limb, I'd say that just maybe that might be viewed as a bad thing...?

    When I look at what my parents did, I've got no idea how that world worked. Married, large house, 4 kids, various pets, and a few Christmases that I remember as being the total toy overload that borders on fantasy cliche. It all turned to shit once my father died while I was in sixth grade, and my mom had to be a substitute teacher until she finally got a full-time teaching position that still barely allowed her to hold on to the house, but the thing is the dream was real for several years there, in the late 70s. I'd love to be on the providing end of it.
  6.  (10289.18)
    I come from a place where a nine percent unemployment rate was a sign the economy was improving. I had to go deep into debt and then travel to the other side of the planet so I could have something akin to steady work.

    This is where I'm coming from when I say the following: Your dreams are bullshit. Put them away and get pragmatic about putting a roof over your head. Do not live beyond your means. Do not treat something as your "day job" or beneath you. And do not assume for a second that if you're honest, determined, and hard working that you will come out on top.

    Successful people are pieces of shit. They have to be that way because they are in competition with many others for very few spots. The more successful someone is, the bigger the piece of shit they needed to be to get that way. If you really want the big house with the white picket fence, that is what you'll need to become. Do not believe them if they claim otherwise.

    So those are your choices in a shitty economy: Be as pragmatic as fuck. Or just be a fuck.

    Hope that helps.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2011 edited

    Hmm, well, just can't agree with that, except in the broad terms of "stop daydreaming and get practical, your dreams won't most likely pay your bills" (and that to actually succeed you'll have to be an arsehole of some degree, or at least it helps). I don't believe in selling your dreams, especially after busting my ass for years and years I'm starting to get them realized now. You can very well think something as your shitty day job, something you need to do just to keep food on the table and the rain out, while keeping your dreams in your back pocket. Unless you are living in an actual third world country, life is not just about survival and existing, and that's where the dreams come in. Sometimes your dreams are incompatible with the house and the picket fence, and if you are in a position where you can say "fuck you" to the house, why not do it? Life is full of choices.

    I'm an asshole enough and there's no doubt that I could've chosen a more lucrative life. As a matter of fact I shut down my company because I had too many clients and made double the amount of money the people in that area usually do. As a side effect I had very little free time and very little mental energy to do things I genuinely like - stretches like two weeks of 18 hour days don't really leave much time for realizing your dreams. I chose an interesting, stimulating and fulfilling life over filthy lucre - now I'm so broke can't even pay attention but at least I'm doing stuff I like on the side. Bust your ass enough, and that's a choice you may be able to do later on the way. Not when you are in your early 20's most probably, but unlike we all thought at that age, life doesn't end at 30. At that point you're slowly stopping the aimless trashing around and life is just starting to get interesting.
  7.  (10289.20)

    Took me a moment to figure out why that message provoked me somewhat, but then it hit me - it was the kind of advice I've heard from people in my parents' generation, and especially the women. "Forget your silly dreams, get a proper job and quit with the pipe dreams." Quite a bitter lot, that, and ready to spread the bitterness.