Obligatory "I spent 4 months in Ecuador and didn't spend anywhere near that much money" comment.
@zou bisou Well the problem (as with, say, FEMINISM) is not that you don't "have" to have chandelier tents, it's that there's a ton of social pressure to have chandelier tents. This is what the Wedding Industrial Complex is for. You have parents who will tell you (as mine did!) that a food truck is a shitty thing to feed people at a wedding. You have friends who get real uncomfortable with you not having a bigass diamond ring, or a boss who says you'll realize the error of your diamond-less ways on your second marriage. You have teevee shows devoted to glorifying expensive-because-they're-expensive weddings. That's the problem!
I hate, I just hate, I really really hate, the dehumanizing disdain for people who have made different choices and more money than you. Phrases like “incredibly rabid disaffection toward the rich,” “a veritable ant farm of yuppie proclivity,” “I have no respect for stories like that, that play out so predictably,” and “generations’ worth of cautious and highly selective breeding” are easy to throw around if you don’t think about them, but have no place in a supposedly thoughtful essay. You’re an NYU grad and Bed-Stuy gentrifier for Chrissakes; *this* is how you write about your local college? *This* is how you write about people who love their families enough to go work with them in a small business? You write eloquently about the shame of having less money than other people (though your claims of “poverty” seem specious – an NYU grad publisher is not my mental image of the late-capitalist proletariat), and about your wish that others would treat you as a human and an individual. But just imagine someone saying something as cruel and essentializing about you as the things you say about others. Describing the poor as the result of “generations’ worth of reckless breeding” would get you instantly and rightly bounced from any self-respecting publication. But you have no problem tossing aside a lot of no doubt well-intentioned, hard-working, family-loving teenagers – many of whom will major in dramatic writing and grow up to be small-press journalists and lazy Marxists! – without a thought just because their parents have more money than you currently have. Sorry, I get that you feel sorry for yourself, and that you want to express it; I even get that you are grasping in your own way for self-knowledge and reflection. “I would classify my disdain as unhealthy” suggests to me that you’re trying to become a thoughtful person, not just a mass of ill-expressed resentments. Try harder.
I never get tired of responding to these condescending articles. First of all, I'm pretty sure that an entire generation can't actually be "wrong" about their approach to life and careers. We're responding to the world we were raised in and unfortunately that's a world in which a lot of expectations were fostered which would turn out to be false. However, I think the most frustrating part of this narrative is this recurring argument that young people thing they're too good/creative/winsome/charming to climb a career ladder. To start in the mail room as it were. Listen, point me toward the mail room, no problem. The issues is that sorting the mail doesn't pay enough to support any lifestyle other than living at home. As a matter of fact, sorting the mail is probably now the job of the unpaid intern whose parents can afford to to support him while he climbs the first few runs on the old corporate ladder. It's not the work I take issue with. It's the lack of potential. I don't mind starting at the bottom but I can't stay at the bottom indefinitely because there are boomers parked in every other position unwilling to make room. Work is one thing, but i'm not convinced that investing in this system is going to pay any kind of dividend in the future.
@AnnieNilsson The Venice Symphony Orchestra, and it's still in its infancy. It's kind of a misnomer as we're going for more of a genre-fusion thing a la the Silver Lake Chorus (Google 'em). If you play an instrument, especially strings, let me know! ALSO, I'm happy to say, as of today, I have gotten an interview with Coffee Bean. The universe heard my cries.
One of my dear friends said something that I will never forget for the day in the (distant) future when I have kids: "Babies just need food, warmth, and love to survive. All the STUFF is to make your life easier, not theirs. If it won't help YOU, don't get it."
@Mike Dang Having worked from home for two jobs, I think just having one space where everyone can meet can cut the isolation factor by a LOT. Both were jobs for state-wide companies that had offices in the bigger cities, but those of us out in the boonies had to work from home. Even just going to the Jacksonville office once every couple of months for one of the jobs was way better than the one where I literally never met my boss or any of my coworkers in person. That said, for a job with lots of flexibility to work from home, I can understand why the company wouldn't want to pay for dedicated office space that most people won't use, or don't really need to use. This is why I wish that shared office spaces where you can have a membership that allows you to use meeting rooms, cubicles, office equipment, etc. were more successful, or at least popular enough to take off where I live, because I would start that business in a SECOND.
@Aunt_Pete Such good tips! I also like to have my laptop with me so I can Google anything confusing that's happening during the phone call (and look at calming pictures of baby animals, have supportive friends on GChat urging me to make the call, etc).
I used to be really nervous about business phone calls. My loans got super effed up for a while because I kept putting off making the necessary calls. For those of you with similar anxieties, it helps to be prepared. Sit down at a table or at least stand in front of a clear counter. Lay out all of your correspondence and circle relevant information like your account number and any important dates so you can find them quickly. Have a pad of paper to write on and a pen (or two) that you KNOW work. A calculator is great too if you have one so you don’t have to do calculations on your cell. Take notes while you’re talking and make sure to get names and confirmation numbers when necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
@gidge Well, I do see your point that no, parenthood should not be reserved for rich people only, but I get pretty annoyed when people give me the ol' "You'll never be ready! You'll never have enough money! Have a baby whenever! Cowabunga!" song and dance. To me, it's like saying, "Hey, man! You don't need money to go on vacation. You can hitchhike, and live by your wits." It may be factually true, but it is pretty inappropriate advice for a lot of people in this time and place. I don't think most people who are deferring having kids for financial reasons are doing it so they can scrape up enough money for polo ponies and infant violin lessons. They are doing it because of stuff like loss of income from unpaid leave, childcare expenses, and wanting to have a somewhat less fragile living situation if they're going to make some baby be a part of it. I've been in a stage of painfully wanting kids for a couple of years now, and yeah, it may "never" be the right time, but that doesn't actually mean that it's always the right time.