Millennials: Dream Big or Dream Downsize?
While at a family barbeque this past weekend a topic came up: "How would you define your generation?" When this question was posed to the group (filled with individuals of different ages and life experiences) I was left with no immediate answer of what defines the Millennials. What themes define my generation?
If you had asked our generation the above question five or 10 years ago, members Millennials might have said something along the lines of "Dream big" or "Reach for the stars." Personally, I thought that hard work would ensure that I could have everything I desired in life: a successful career, a family, a comfortable home and, most importantly, freedom from financial worry. Following the economic meltdown, it has become clear that our idyllic expectations of the future appear at best naive, at worst completely unrealistic.
According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, American Millennials "are downsizing expectations in the face of an economic future that is anything, but certain. Career plans are being altered, marriages put off and dreams shelved."
When we went off to college we did so with the expectation that a degree and the financial obligations that came with it, would guarantee a career and a lifestyle to follow. But for many recent graduates, our large debt load meant compromising the career they had chosen, simply to have paycheck. Still others are among the unemployed all together. Last month this percentage stood at 17.4% for the 16-to-24 age group.
With many careers on hold and massive college loans to pay off, it leaves me wondering whether our generation will be able to overcome theses obstacles. For those out of college and facing these challenging prospects, I turn it over to you. Do you still 'dream big' despite the obstacles we now face? Or have you downsized your dreams along the way?