With her MFA in Creative Writing and restaurant job, GOOD magazine writer A. Wolfe is well-qualified to tell Gen Y to stop feeling sorry for their misguided choices: “The fact is, we can no longer tell someone’s financial reality by what they eat, how they dress, and where they grew up.
“While I’ve technically surpassed my parents in terms of education and advantage, I am still dependent on a restaurant job, and my peers are now considered the first generation of youths to do worse than their parents.
Suddenly, we’re all on a level playing field shaking cocktails side-by-side, and my own burdens of privilege-jealousy have come to a dizzying halt, because even the middle class, of whom I had been previously so resentful, are my coworkers and low-income housing neighbours.
At this point, I wish I had never attempted to transcend my class with education; it would make life that much neater. For those of us who have taken the leap to maintain or jump our classes—the interns, graduate students, and college-bound—and who’ve come out disappointed, we’re not alone. The permanent poor are right there with us, and this is a good thing.
Recently, Charles J. Sykes, senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, told the Fiscal Times he fears that young Americans are becoming a generation of takers. Perhaps Wolfe could change his mind?