Veel kord noorte ameeriklaste hädadest
Kuna mul on hinge peal see, miks Justini nii paljudel kolledzhikaaslastel kehvasti läheb ja miks mind selle märkamise pärast lolliks peetakse, kes Ameerika elule pihta ei saa ja kellel on mingid ebatavalised luuseritest tuttavad…
…siis otsisin netis. Leidsin oma Postimehe looga päris mitmes osas sarnase loo ajakirjast Time (jaanuarist 2005). See räägib noorte ameeriklaste põlvkonnast, kelle sotsioloogid on ristinud “twixters”. Noored, kes ei saa, mõnes mõttes ka ei taha suureks kasvada.
Panen sellest artiklist siia katkendid.
Matt Swann is 27. He took 6 1/2 years to graduate from the University of Georgia. When he finally finished, he had a brand-spanking-new degree in cognitive science, which he describes as a wide-ranging interdisciplinary field that covers cognition, problem solving, artificial intelligence, linguistics, psychology, philosophy and anthropology. All of which is pretty cool, but its value in today’s job market is not clear.
“Before the ’90s maybe, it seemed like a smart guy could do a lot of things,” Swann says. “Kids used to go to college to get educated. That’s what I did, which I think now was a bit naive. Being smart after college doesn’t really mean anything. ‘Oh, good, you’re smart. Unfortunately your productivity’s s___, so we’re going to have to fire you.’
College is the institution most of us entrust to watch over the transition to adulthood, but somewhere along the line that transition has slowed to a crawl.
Swann graduated in 2002 as a newly minted cognitive scientist, but the job he finally got a few months later was as a waiter in Atlanta. He waited tables for the next year and a half. It proved to be a blessing in disguise. Swann says he learned more real-world skills working in restaurants than he ever did in school. “It taught me how to deal with people. What you learn as a waiter is how to treat people fairly, especially when they’re in a bad situation.” That’s especially valuable in his current job as an insurance-claims examiner.
There are several lessons about twixters to be learned from Swann’s tale. One is that most colleges are seriously out of step with the real world in getting students ready to become workers in the postcollege world. Vocational schools like DeVry and Strayer, which focus on teaching practical skills, are seeing a mini-boom. Their enrollment grew 48% from 1996 to 2000. More traditional schools are scrambling to give their courses a practical spin. In the fall, Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., will introduce a program called the Odyssey project, which the school says will encourage students to “think outside the book” in areas like “professional and leadership development” and “service to the world.” Dozens of other schools have set up similar initiatives.
As colleges struggle to get their students ready for real-world jobs, they are charging more for what they deliver. The resulting debt is a major factor in keeping twixters from moving on and growing up. Thirty years ago, most financial aid came in the form of grants, but now the emphasis is on lending, not on giving. Recent college graduates owe 85% more in student loans than their counterparts of a decade ago, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
In TIME’s poll, 66% of those surveyed owed more than $10,000 when they graduated, and 5% owed more than $100,000. (And this says nothing about the credit-card companies that bombard freshmen with offers for cards that students then cheerfully abuse. Demos, a public-policy group, says credit-card debt for Americans 18 to 24 more than doubled from 1992 to 2001.) The longer it takes to pay off those loans, the longer it takes twixters to achieve the financial independence that’s crucial to attaining an adult identity, not to mention the means to get out of their parents’ house.
Meanwhile, those expensive, time-sucking college diplomas have become worth less than ever. So many more people go to college now–a 53% increase since 1970–that the value of a degree on the job market has been diluted. The advantage in wages for college-degree holders hasn’t risen significantly since the late 1990s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To compensate, a lot of twixters go back to school for graduate and professional degrees. Swann, for example, is planning to head back to business school to better his chances in the insurance game.
Twixters expect a lot more from a job than a paycheck. Maybe it’s a reaction to the greed-is-good 1980s or to the whatever-is-whatever apathy of the early 1990s. More likely, it’s the way they were raised, by parents who came of age in the 1960s as the first generation determined to follow its bliss, who want their children to change the world the way they did. Maybe it has to do with advances in medicine. Twixters can reasonably expect to live into their 80s and beyond, so their working lives will be extended accordingly and when they choose a career, they know they’ll be there for a while. But whatever the cause, twixters are looking for a sense of purpose and importance in their work, something that will add meaning to their lives, and many don’t want to rest until they find it. “They’re not just looking for a job,” Arnett says. “They want something that’s more like a calling, that’s going to be an expression of their identity.”
Still, self-actualization is a luxury not everybody can afford, and looking at middle- and upper-class twixters gives only part of the picture. Twixters change jobs often, but they don’t all do it for the same reasons, and one twixter’s playful experimentation is another’s desperate hustling.
James C??t?? is a sociologist at the University of Western Ontario and the author of several books about twixters, including Generation on Hold and Arrested Adulthood. He believes that the economic bedrock that used to support adolescents on their journey into adulthood has shifted alarmingly. “What we’re looking at really began with the collapse of the youth labor market, dating back to the late ’70s and early ’80s, which made it more difficult for people to get a foothold in terms of financial independence,” C??t?? says. “You need a college degree now just to be where blue- collar people the same age were 20 or 30 years ago, and if you don’t have it, then you’re way behind.” In other words, it’s not that twixters don’t want to become adults. They just can’t afford to.
One way society defines an adult is as a person who is financially independent, with a family and a home. But families and homes cost money, and people in their late teens and early 20s don’t make as much as they used to. The current crop of twixters grew up in the 1990s, when the dotcom boom made Internet millions seem just a business proposal away, but in reality they’re worse off than the generation that preceded them. Annual earnings among men 25 to 34 with full-time jobs dropped 17% from 1971 to 2002, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Timothy Smeeding, a professor of economics at Syracuse University, found thatonly half of Americans in their mid-20s earn enough to support a family, and in TIME’S poll only half of those ages 18 to 29 consider themselves financially independent. Michigan’s Schoeni says Americans ages 25 and 26 get an average of $2,323 a year in financial support from their parents.
The transition to adulthood gets tougher the lower you go on the economic and educational ladder. Sheldon Danziger, a public-policy professor at the University of Michigan, found that for male workers ages 25 to 29 with only a high school diploma, the average wage declined 11% from 1975 to 2002. “When I graduated from high school, my classmates who didn’t want to go to college could go to the Goodyear plant and buy a house and support a wife and family,” says Steve Hamilton of Cornell University’s Youth and Work Program. “That doesn’t happen anymore.” Instead, high school grads are more likely to end up in retail jobs with low pay and minimal benefits, if any.
Vaat selline lugu ajakirjalt Time. Nii et pole need Justini sõbrad nii erakorralised luuserid midagi, eksole. Hoopis tviksterid on nad.