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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
At least SOMEONE knows where to lay the blame. 
25th-May-2006 09:40 am
Accordion
The more that I read of her columns, the more I respect her opinion. Quindlen is liberal, feminist, and, best of all, oh so very RIGHT.

A Cubicle Is Not a Home
Maybe this younger generation is populated by those who are willing (or able) to trade slightly less money for slightly more contentment.

By Anna Quindlen
Newsweek

May 29, 2006 issue - Creeping codgerism is an inevitable effect of getting older, a variation of memory loss. When I complain that my daughter's skirt looks more like a belt, or that my sons keep vampire hours, those are the churlish carpings of a woman years removed from the days when her own dresses were sky-high and her idea of a good time was sleeping until noon. "Turn down that music," I have been known to yell, and my only saving grace is that I hear the words through a filmy curtain of generational déjà vu.

Perhaps that is the kindest way to explain why Hillary Rodham Clinton veered off the grid of common sense to complain in a speech recently that young people today "don't know what work is." As she talked of an unfortunate sense of youthful entitlement and the good old days when there was only a single TV in her own home, it seemed as though any minute she would soar to the rhetorical heights of codger deluxe and describe walking five miles through the snow to school.

The senator was indulging in a time-honored tradition, the older generation's complaining that the younger one is not like them, and therefore somehow not as good. Maybe there is anecdotal evidence of absurd indulgence on television: teenage girls' being gifted with BMWs at lavish birthday parties or peevish brides obsessing over ice sculptures. But for every one of those you can find plenty of young people waiting tables to put themselves through college or waking before dawn to get to the construction site or the firehouse.

If it's anecdote that tells the story, consider this: In 1974, I graduated from college. I'd paid my own way the last two years with jobs as a resident assistant and a newspaper summer intern. I rented a small, cheap one-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan and started work as a reporter. I still have the Royal typewriter I used to write my stories.

Only a fool would think that experience had any resonance for the class of 2006. To earn the money to pay for a year at a fine liberal-arts college today, a student would have to have a summer job robbing banks. There are no cheap one-bedroom apartments in lower Manhattan. In fact, the monthly rent today on my former apartment is probably about the same as my total annual tuition was in 1974. And the use of computers means that when these students begin working, they are essentially at the office every hour of every day.

What lesson have they learned from watching their parents leave for the office early, come home late, check e-mail at midnight? If they've seen their elders laid off from a company to which they'd given the best years of their lives, young people may have concluded that loyalty to the corporation is a historical artifact. If they've watched marriages buckle and work tasks displace family time, they may vow to find jobs that accommodate their own kids. If they've been listening to the drumbeat of burnout, downsizing and stress, the tom-tom of modern existence, maybe they've decided that they intend to try to have a life life as well as a work life. I, for one, can't argue. My father traveled constantly on business. Is it coincidence that I've somehow finagled a job that allows me to work at home?

An executive at a group that looks at law firms said recently that the rate of attrition among young lawyers at big firms is now greater than ever before. Some newly minted attorneys wanted more of a sense of serving the public weal than a corporate practice provides. This makes sense because the younger generation in this country has done more volunteer work than any other in history. When you're watching girls gone wild in Cancún, don't forget kids gone philanthropic in New Orleans, where some students spent spring break helping out post-Katrina.

But many associates just don't value the life of a big-firm drone, which in countless articles and books has been portrayed as a cross between being an indentured servant and a prisoner of war. Sure, the money's great. But maybe this younger generation is populated by those who are willing (or able) to trade slightly less money for slightly more contentment. I'm part of the generation that said it wanted to change the world, and it did. We let the 40-hour workweek morph into the 60-hour workweek and even the 80-hour workweek.

Senator Clinton was jolted out of the codger cul-de-sac by a well-placed, highly educated source: her daughter, Chelsea, who is 26, and who reprimanded her mother with this news flash: "I work hard. My friends work hard." The mystery is why Hillary didn't run her ham-handed remarks past Chelsea before she pandered to a Chamber of Commerce audience with stale old stereotypes, and why more of us don't listen to what our kids say about what they've learned from our mistakes. If the experience of their exhausted, insomniac, dispirited elders makes them decide they'd prefer not to go straight from the classroom to the cubicle to the coffin, it doesn't mean they're lazy. It means they're sane.

END

Ah. Men. Get over your "Let's Blame the Victim!" syndrome and take a moment to recall who made the rules that young people these days must either abide by or ignore in the first place. And, though I can only speak for myself, I for one refuse to sell my soul to any employer that would sooner sell me down the creek than give me job security.
Comments 
26th-May-2006 11:57 am (UTC)
Hillary really annoyed me with that comment, I don't know what the hell she was thinking.... At the very least, she's living in a fantasy that following the Protestant work ethic will get you promotions, higher pay, loyalty, and a comfortable retirement.....
26th-May-2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
a fantasy that following the Protestant work ethic will get you promotions, higher pay, loyalty, and a comfortable retirement.....

You know, if it actually WORKED, I'd (and I imagine, the bulk of the rest of my generation) would be game. But NOTHING these days suggests that it does...look at how many thousands and thousands of people those Enron guys screwed over. Sure, we've got the two scapegoats at the top, but all of the other people who were complicit got off with disgrace and a wrist slap... *sighs*

At least Clinton's daughter told her off. XD
26th-May-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
The guy who drove me home last night was telling me his mother in law worked for Kroger for ages and then retired, and Kroger is now cutting off her prescription benefits >_< Even for the older generations that actually bought into it, the ideal doesn’t work.. Of course, if you’re in Congress, you’re set for life >_<

I’m still waiting to hear the little details of Bush’s guest worker program, I half expect to hear that minimum wage requirements won’t apply to these people, or social security taxes, etc.. But that’s just me being cynical (realistic) ^_~
26th-May-2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Even for the older generations that actually bought into it, the ideal doesn’t work..

A poignant lesson to their children/grandchildren, I'm sure. *growls*

I’m still waiting to hear the little details of Bush’s guest worker program,

And I'm SOOOO sure slaving away in this country for five years and then being told to get the Hell out is an appealing prospect. Worker programs that don't provide a path to citizenship for those who might decide at some point that they want it don't deserve to exist, period.
26th-May-2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
Worker programs that don't provide a path to citizenship for those who might decide at some point that they want it don't deserve to exist, period.

*nods*

The creation of a legally defined subclass of people who are not really wanted here.. It all irks me, aside from this, the reason business loves this program is because it waters down the labor supply, weakening labor’s bargaining position and driving wages and benefits down... Kiss your middle class lifestyle goodbye >_<...
26th-May-2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
weakening labor’s bargaining position and driving wages and benefits down...

Which of course wouldn't happen if we'd just raise the minimum wage/benefit bar high enough for all people employed in the US--but God Forbid we actually take good CARE of the people we "invite" here.
26th-May-2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
*sighs*

It’s all basically about diverting wealth upwards and concentrating it, this country is moving backwards..... People don’t seem to understand that pure capitalism affords no guarantee of any kind of equitable distribution of wealth or opportunity...
26th-May-2006 11:17 pm (UTC)
And this isn't a purely capitalistic society, anyway. Racial/ethnic/gender etc. prejudices prevent that.
27th-May-2006 12:47 am (UTC)
Well the closest we’ve gotten to true capitalism was probably during the Industrial Revolution.. And of course, the market was very efficient at providing for a good distribution of wealth >_<...
27th-May-2006 01:21 am (UTC)
That period also inaugurated the "family wage," which insured gender wage disparities (not to mention disparities of power) that persist to this day. :P
27th-May-2006 01:48 am (UTC)
I’m just waiting for Bush to come out in favor of child labor.... Though I guess really US corporations employ children in other countries to get around those laws now ^^
27th-May-2006 01:54 am (UTC)
You know, I actually had some Kathy Lee skirts at one point. Probably assembled by malnourished little girls... *sighs*
27th-May-2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, rights groups often forget that children in these countries are working because they have to, to survive.. I wrote about one rights group that went to Cambodia, I think, to put an end to children working in some factories there. They managed to get the company to do away with child labor, declared victory, and went home.. Unfortunately, the children still needed money to survive, and no longer being able to work 15 hours a day in a factory most of them resorted to prostitution >_< I did apply for one job with a group that combines an anti-child labor advocacy branch with a charity to support and educate kids thrown out of work...
27th-May-2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
That's well-known, too, I think. *sighs* Did you ever see Kristof's series on Cambodian prostitutes?
27th-May-2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
No, I've never seen it ^^;
28th-May-2006 02:34 am (UTC)
He tried "buying" and then "rescuing" two, returning them to their families and setting them up with jobs. One made it (kind of); the other went back.
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