Five reasons I should be professionally scared, but am (usually) not

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Americans aged 24 or younger could be part of a “lost generation,” says a new cover story from Business Week.

For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.

It’s the latest stylish trend piece at a time when general stories on an economy that might not return for two or three years are already old hat. A lot of the numbers are fuzzy and the effect may be questionable, but there’s no questioning that it’s daunting for many 20-somethings.

We graduated and walked into perhaps the worst economy since before our grandparents were our age. A few more distinctions this author has taken on has made those statistics seem even more frightening, but outside of the occasional sobbing, I try to remind myself that there’s no better time or place in the world than where I am now.


First, how about five reasons why I should be professionally scared:

I am a (1) male (2) 20-something in the (3) Philadelphia (4) news industry with a (5) decimated bank account.

That’s a lot (5) stacked against any young professional, but there’s balance to be had.

I am blessed with great privilege and a great country of opportunity. I have been put in a time and a place in which I can experiment quite easily with new media models, relatively risk free. I have been forced into a state of entrepreneurship that I probably never would have executed otherwise. I am a thousand-times stronger manager and developer than ever before.

Lots of people are saying just these same things for the news industry specifically and shouting really loudly about what to do.

If I have to bus a few tables, make a few photocopies, talk a bit about social networking now for the opportunity to build a business, make my own schedule and choose what I want to do, can there be any hesitation about this time being a great opportunity?

If what I’m doing now is “sacrificing,” I’ll happily do that to build what I want to build. ….Now, if this whole ship is going down, well, then, damn.

At least when you fail, it helps knowing your entire generation is trying to figure this out.