Good News Bad News

Turns out those of us young folk who are employed are happy! Well not exactly, but  we’re happier in the workplace than old people are, according to a survey reported in the WSJ and made fun of in Gawker. 20-somethings are also more likely to ditch a lackluster job and get packing before the going gets tough.

Younger workers tend to be happier with their employers than their older counterparts-but they are also more likely to be looking for an exit…

Does this mean young people are content because we have great jobs? No, probably not — We’re just not quite as sad and worn out as the middle-aged guy in the cubicle next door who’s been working in the same office for 30 years.

The relative happiness of the younger workers may also be a reflection of how unhappy the older group is, says Colleen O’Neill, a senior partner at Mercer. The report defined younger employees as those under 34 years old.

Which brings us to yesterday’s NY Magazine feature: A 20-something-year-old wrote a piece on the plight of privileged, confused young people! In bad news, we’re narcissistic, pampered, and over 40 percent of us are unemployed.

Nearly 14 percent of college graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2010 can’t find full-time work, and overall just 55.3 percent of people ages 16 to 29 have jobs.

Even the likes of John Rawles’ grandson can’t make it — He’s a friend of writer Noreen Malone, and he’s a bearded, wood-chopping hipster who spends his time doing yoga and odd jobs.

But it’s sort of OK, Malone claims. Thanks to the Internet we have a million outlets to turn to when we’re sad about the real world. And maybe it’s also fine that we’ll never be as financially solvent as our parents … because having nice things isn’t so important after all??

But there’s evidence to suggest other members of our cohort believe they’ll live a more fulfilled life, have better relationships, even if they don’t live in larger houses or drive fancier cars than their parents. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me, says the most prominent shift she has seen so far among young people in this economy is an apparent decrease in materialism. We are less interested in stuff, but still very interested in self.

— Arielle

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