OMG, We Have Really Hit Bottom - Young People Forced to Work to Support Themselves

Back when he was blogging, TJIC had a nice little animated gif with people running around yelling "Oh Noz."

 [update:  sent to me by by the folks at finem respice]

I wish I had it for this chart and the accompanying text  (via Kevin Drum)

Many young adults have felt the impact of the recession and sluggish recovery in tangible ways. Fully half (49%) of those ages 18 to 34 say that because of economic conditions over the past few years, they have taken a job they didn’t really want just to pay the bills. More than a third (35%) say they have gone back to school because of the bad economy. And one-in-four (24%) say they have taken an unpaid job to gain work experience.

First, this study is great evidence of my "what is normal" fail.  There is no baseline.  OK, 24% moved back in with their parents.  How many did this in good times?  How much worse is this?

But the real eye-catcher to me is that somehow I am supposed to be shocked that people have to find a job to pay the bills.  Even a job that, gasp, they really didn't want.  I have a clue for you.  A lot of jobs 22-year-olds have to take are not that compelling.  Mine were not.  Despite what colleges seem to be telling them, the world does not offer up a lot of really cool jobs to inexperienced young adults.  Long before you are closing deals with CEO's, you are probably writing sales literature in some cubicle.

And by the way, I am struck by how wealthy our society is when I look at this chart.  Look at answers two and three.   In both cases, people are saying that in tough times, they chose to forego income and build their skills, even perhaps paying for the privilege.  What other time in history would people have this luxury?  How many countries today would have so many people with this luxury in hard times?  Even in the Great Depression in this country I don't think we saw the same phenomenon.  Obviously the economy sucks and it would be great for everyone for it to improve, but in most other times and even in many other countries in the world today, a significant bar in bad times would have been "I starved to death."


  1. TJIC:

    > Back when he was blogging, TJIC had a nice little animated gif with people running around yelling “Oh Noz.”

  2. TJIC:

    Tried to include an img tag. Failed.

    Here, copy this to your server and use it in good health:

  3. Samrobb:

    If this isn't a copy of TJICs animated gif, it's amazingly close:

  4. Samrobb:

    Ah! Beaten to the punch... at least it was by the man hisself.

  5. Dave:

    tjic, when are you going to start blogging again?

  6. aeronathan:

    Let me tell you, I haven't actually wanted any job I've ever had, but I keep taking them to pay the bills too. If I could kick all the bad habits I have, like eating and sleeping someplace warm and dry, I'd go fishing every day instead of in to the office...

  7. aczarnowski:

    I'm behind the curve as usual, but Blunt Object has often nailed the GIF inclusion. Including that Oh-Noz you mentioned.

    And I would also really like to see TJIC back blogging. I miss hanging out there.

    Finally to this post, yes, WTF? I'm going to that place where I start thinking a solid plague or war might help clear up the gene pool a bit despite logically knowing all the wrong people would take the brunt.

  8. Goober:

    Holy crap on a stick. What a load of malarkey.

    The only job - the only job on earth - that I've ever WANTED to do was to be a marine biologist studying effects of dams and human developments on anadramous fish runs. That's it. When I started college, I started college witht he full intent of getting a degree in marine biology and doing that for the rest of my life.

    The biggest difference between me and the occupy generation, who got their boondoggle degree in "whatever-I-want-to-do-ology" is that I realized that there are no jobs in marine biology, and that if I ever wanted to actually have enough money to get by, I'd have to do something else (I, unlike the occupy generation, was smart enough to realize that no one was going to make a job especially for me in whatever career patht hat I wanted once I graduated). I got a degree in Construction engineering, and the rest is history. My job (a project manager for a huge construction firm) is one of the top ten most stressful jobs on the planet (according to the impecable source of the Discovery channel). I really hate going to work some days. But it pays the bills.

    I guess I am the 99% or something.

  9. TJIC:


    > tjic, when are you going to start blogging again?

    When I pay off the $15,000 in legal fees and get the cops to hand over my illegally-seized-with-out-a-warrant firearms.

  10. TxJim:

    I spent many years telling myself I was foregoing material wealth while I built my skills. Haha! Now it is my kid's turn. They are already getting a taste of what it is like and the reality check is entirely predictable.

    tjic - Miss ya bro. I'd be willing to kick in a buck or 2 to revive the tjic. Let us know where to donate to help.

  11. Benjamin Cole:

    Obviously, this is better than the Great Depression. In WWII, many draftees were turned away 4-f due to malnutrition and related defects. Now we are a nation of fatties.

    That said, I wish the Fed would get this economy going again. By Divisia's measure of money, the USA money supply has actually been contracting. We are doing a Japan.

    Welcome to the United States of Nippon. Deflation and recession, followed by recession and deflation.

  12. Benjamin Cole:

    "In 1940, 40% of draftees were rejected, most of them because of malnutrition, bad teeth and eyesight--all results of the Depression. Many new soldiers came from farms in rural America where a familiarity with guns was necessitated by subsistence hunting. Audie Murphy, America's most decorated World War II soldier, was a sharecropper's son."

    From The Real World War II:

    Fear on the Home Front
    Terror on the Front Lines

    Kenneth W. Rendell made the previous remarks
    to the American Enterprise Institute in May 2002.

  13. Fred Z:

    TJIC: I enjoyed your blog. To the point of paying. How can I contribute? Why don't you re-open with just a tip-jar? If not, we traded emails once. Dig me up, send me a bank reference or a snail mail address and I'll send you some spondulix.

    $15,000.00? Man, you got off lightly.

  14. Capn Rusty:

    Speaking of taking a job you didn't want, let's bring back the draft.

  15. Thomas Molitor:

    For two hundred years the pessimists have dominated public discourse, insisting that things will soon be getting much worse. But in fact, life is getting better - and at an accelerating rate. At least this is the premise of a provocative book by Matt Ridley named "The Rational Optimist."

  16. marco73:

    When I left the warm, friendly confines of college at 22, I got my commission and played hide and seek with Ivan in the North Atlantic. Mind-numbing boredom for weeks on end, occasionally punctuated by being scared shitless for a few moments.
    Snotty, coddled recent college grads need to grow the hell up. Back then, I knew plenty 18 and 19 year olds who were real adults, compared to these whiny brats.

  17. Smock Puppet, 10 Dan Snark Master:

    >>> they have taken a job they didn’t really want just to pay the bills.

    Wow. It must REAALLY REALLLLY suck to be them.

    I mean, to be a whiny ass useless buttwipe of a punk and have to actually WORK for a living!


    I vote we all give them free housing and board so they don't have to do this...

    No, wait! I'm not a Democrat, so no, I don't do that.

    Whew, that was close! I almost channeled Joe Biden, there.

  18. BrendaK:

    Your Oh Noes gif --

    I feel so badly for those po', po' pitiful chillen. Bless their sad and oppressed hearts. Why, what is the world coming to when an American Dance Studies major has to work at an (entry level) job at Denny's?!

  19. Zach:

    My first job out of college was in my field. My current job is in my field. Since I graduated college in 2003, I have changed employers once, and was unemployed for...a weekend. But my degree (computer science) required a lot of math. It's too "hard". I'm the wrong kind of white person:

  20. rg:

    I've done all of the above at some point. Except for the waiting to have a child thing. Now I know where they come from. oops.......

  21. TJIC:

    @Capn Rusty:

    > Speaking of taking a job you didn’t want, let’s bring back the draft.

    I dislike slavery in all forms, especially slavery to the State.

  22. Don Cox:

    " I realized that there are no jobs in marine biology,"

    There certainly are. I have known a number of marine biologists.

    But you would need to get a good degree to be eligible to do a PhD, and the PhD would have to be a good one too.

  23. Sam - sent here by her Dad:

    Ok... I am a college kid (admittedly a little later in life, but under 30) I take a little bit of offense to these comments. I am not stating that the stereotype doesn't exist. However, I see plenty of people work to pay the bills and go to school to better their lives, all the while NOT WHINING ABOUT IT. I am one of them, so I know. We are not all whiny little brats, much like all you are not middle aged cynics I am sure. Now... if you want to talk about specifics, I can go all day, because there are plenty of things about my generation that is a little off, but the generalizations need to stop. Oh... and I do agree with my father who sent me this link and all of you; the gif is really funny. ONOZ!!!

  24. Goober:


    If you aren't whining then we obviously aren't talking about you - I thought we'd made it pretty clear. BTW, we are the same age, so don't assume too much.

  25. Ted Rado:

    Being a depression kid, I am in a way very lucky. I NEVER had the idea that I was entitled to anything. I worked all my life and never bought anything I could not afford. I am now comfortably retired in a modest paid-for condo. I could live higher off the hog but choose not to so as to avoid money worries.

    I don't see why I should bail out or subsidize those who choose otherwise. Run your life any way you want, but be man enough to accept the consequences.

  26. IGotBupkis, Three Time Winner of the Silver Sow Award:

    >>> I don’t see why I should bail out or subsidize those who choose otherwise. Run your life any way you want, but be man enough to accept the consequences.


  27. brad hart:

    Funny, but true to a point. I see a lot of 20-30 yo posts about being unemployed or cant find a good job, to include some who blame previous generations for their plight. If you make the sacrifices and are truly determined you will find a job and make a career. I've worked 38 years so far and have always found meaningful work by sure determination. I can even remember a time when I was 20 and applied for a job at companies HR in 1979 and stayed for 5 hours and interviewed 4 times until I was finally hired.