Thursday, July 8, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

See what the East Village streets were like in 1993. [EVG]

Billy's Antiques adds a farm stand. [BB]

Shepard Fairey releases spray-can man collectible toys. [LM]

What's great about America? Ray's Candy. [EVG]

American Dream is "elusive"...for adult children who live at home yet turn down $40,000 jobs. “My parents are subtly pointing out that beyond room and board, they are also paying other expenses for me, like my cellphone charges.” [NYT]

Zelig Blumenthal's move to Brooklyn as his LES landlord gets too tight. [TLD]

BP lives like a troll in Queens. [Restless]

So, the controversial TGI Friday's in Union Square--it's already doing a brisk business, packed upstairs and down with New Yorkers who inexplicably say to themselves and their friends: Hey, I worked hard today, I deserve some Sesame Jack Chicken Strips washed down with a coupla Pink Punk Cosmos, and there's no better place in the whole darn city than Friday's!

15 comments:

Goggla said...

That NYT article about the unemployed adult son is infuriating. Wouldn't we all just love to nail a top-rung job without having to work our way up the ladder? Where did this attitude of lazy entitlement come from? My first thought was to blame the parents, but the father and grandfather in the article seem not to have spoiled the kid. I just don't get it. Idiocracy, here we come.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Goggla, it is infuriating. especially since he turned down a job making approx. what i make, and i am not just out of college.

if i were his dad, and he turned down a $40k job so he could continue to work at home, i would tell him to move out and get into therapy, it's time to grow up.

sorry kid.

Goggla said...

When I left college, I had 5 part-time jobs to pay my rent and what ever else. I never thought of it as a hindrance to my career, only a step in the right direction. If there is a bright side to this, I guess it's that there will be plenty of job openings for those who really need them.

Anonymous said...

jeremiah, this link is right up your alley...

http://www.psfk.com/2010/06/urban-outfitters-creates-a-fake-neighborhood-block-for-new-york-city-store.html

Jeremiah Moss said...

i did see that, Anon. totally nuts.

5th Gen. LES Millenial said...

Sorry Jeremiah, Goggla, you have betrayed your generational cognitive bias with these comments. This young man is lucky to have wealthy enough parents that they can support him while he holds out for a better position. All the social science research shows that, for individuals who enter the job market during a recession/depression, those who accept jobs at wages/positions below what their credentials would justify during typical economic times, have lifetime earnings at least 8-10% lower than their counterparts who enter the job market under normal conditions. Not to mention the effects of entering a field you have no interest in. In my field (law), if you take a job at a sub-par firm so that you're not just sitting at home, you will never be able to re-enter the lucrative world of "Biglaw" (where starting salaries are 160k), no matter your excellent credentials or work performance. The NYTimes article was about the American Dream: that if you have talent, and work hard, you can chose your profession and be successful. This dream no longer exists for most of my generation (and one can argue, only existed during a brief post-war period). Society has broken its promise to the millenials, and we're not "entitled" for wanting society to hold up its end of the bargain. Boomers have pulled up the ladder to success after them, and millenials who give in and start on a lower rung than their ability/work ethic/credentials/experience dictates won't find a feasible climb.

Goggla said...

Well, if money is the only important thing in life, then there is nothing wrong with this situation.

Jeremiah Moss said...

it's hard for me to get my head around this idea of people expecting to land the perfect job right out of the starting gate. it takes time to climb, that's why they call it a ladder, and a lifetime often involves career change.

also, being lucky enough to have wealthy parents to pay all of your living expenses is not as lucky as it looks. it's actually quite damaging to a person's maturational process.

while some support from parents can be helpful, total support produces the opposite of its intended effect. it hamstrings people, often for life. i remind myself of this reality whenever i wish to be financially taken care of. it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Millenial said...

Goggla: of course money isn't the only important thing in life. My point is more about how the arc of an entire person's life, who enters the job market in 2010, NOT 1945-era of boomer ascendance, is affected by taking the only offer you've gotten, a job as copy bitch for xyz mega-insurers. Maybe the majority of millenials will be forced to do so. It's something to bemoan, not belittle.

Jeremiah: I don't think there are many millenials - whose real unemployment rate is 37% - that are turning down decent jobs in hopes of getting a perfect one. 23% of the real unemployment rate consists of "discouraged workers", those who have given up on finding work. The 24-year old in the article, who might fall into that group, isn't holding out for a perfect job, but one "on the bottom rungs of a career ladder". Businesses don't promote from within much anymore, and the meritocracy has ossified over time. Turning down what you look at as a decent job for a decent wage has different implications for the current generation than those before it. There are so many more truly dead-end jobs nowadays.

I agree with your point about being coddled, for some people, but the guy in the article doesn't seem particularly vulnerable to external forces affecting his internal ethic (i.e. tried to enlist, volunteers and does odd jobs).

Ed said...

Jeremiah, different times. Not much upward mobility. If you start in a low end job now, you are pretty much going to stay in a low end job your whole life. No "working your way up."

Millenial, the problem is the same thing I said above. We are actually a much poorer society, and we are entering a period where "just getting by" is doing better than most people. And 40K per year as an insurance adjuster (office work which take some skill) is nothing to sneeze at, its about 80% of median household (meaning with kids) income in this country. And I don't make much more than that. But then I don't have kids. But I'm not sure if I should be having kids, college costs have gotten to the point where that alone is a dealbreaker.

I agree more with Millenial, but the economy is crappy enough that we have reached a point where the best course is just muddling through. I'm just not very judgmental these days, everyone is faced with a menu of bad choices. I only get angry at the people who refuse to recognize how much things have deteriorated.

Goggla said...

I think we all agree that the economy is bad. This leads me to ask - and I ask this seriously - isn't the worst response to this economic climate to sit back and wait for it to rebound? Isn't this the time to take initiative, stop behaving passively and show some creativity, ambition and drive? As an employer, I would never hire anyone who has sat around for two years doing nothing because they'll probably also sit around at their desk doing nothing, waiting for their paycheck. If anything, the bad economy has forced many people to become independent and think much differently about what defines a career.

Isn't the American Dream based on ideas, hard work and persistence? Those who came through Ellis Island had next to nothing, yet they made enormous efforts to start businesses and create the lives they wanted for themselves and heirs.

Bruce Campbell gave a talk a few years ago in Union Square where many young screenwriters asked him for advice on making it big. They said something similar - sending out screenplays every week wasn't producing any feedback and they didn't want to take other jobs for fear they'd lose their chance at a big film career. He actually got pretty angry, probably because he'd heard this complaint a million times. He yelled at the crowd, "If you want your movie to be made, YOU MAKE IT!" After much protesting from the audience, he continued, "Don't have any money? You raise it. Don't know any people? You get out there and network. YOU make it happen."

I think this can be said for any industry. The job market is not going to come to you, you have to make the effort. And, in this time when jobs are scarce and there is so much competition, only the strongest, most creative, determined and ambitious people are going to succeed.

Maybe I'm just out of touch, but I still don't buy the strategy of turning down a paying job when that can be used as a stepping stone to something better.

Goggla said...

We all agree that the economy is bad. So, I ask this seriously - isn't the worst response to this economic climate to sit back and wait for it to rebound? Isn't this the time to take initiative, stop behaving passively and show some creativity, ambition and drive?

Isn't the American Dream based on ideas, hard work and persistence? Those who came through Ellis Island had next to nothing, yet they made enormous efforts to start businesses and create the lives they wanted for themselves and heirs.

Bruce Campbell gave a talk a few years ago in Union Square where many young screenwriters asked him for advice on making it big. They said something similar - sending out screenplays every week wasn't producing any feedback and they didn't want to take other jobs for fear they'd lose their chance at a big film career. He actually got pretty angry, probably because he'd heard this complaint a million times. He yelled at the crowd, "If you want your movie to be made, YOU MAKE IT!" After much protesting from the audience, he continued, "Don't have any money? You raise it. Don't know any people? You get out there and network. YOU make it happen."

I think this can be said for any industry. The job market is not going to come to you, you have to make the effort. And, in this time when jobs are scarce and there is so much competition, only the strongest, most creative, determined and ambitious people are going to succeed.

Maybe I'm just out of touch, but I still don't buy the strategy of turning down a paying job when that can be used as a stepping stone to something better.

Jeremiah Moss said...

you're not out of touch. you remember things prior to 10 years ago. only in the past decade has there been this widespread expectation that a big job with a big paycheck will be there the moment you graduate college.

when, before about 1999 or so, did anyone (except maybe corporate lawyers and Wall Streeters) really expect that? in the scope of history, excepting the past decade, it would be quite delusional for most young people to think this way.

those of us who entered the workforce in the early 90s got the same story about the end of the American Dream. only then it was "there is no job security, and don't expect a pension like Grandpa got."

it's the past decade that was exceptional and out of whack. the "new" normal really is back to normal, in which you build on your skills, you mature, you change jobs like stepping stones, and you create your life one day at a time.

it is meant to be exponential, not instantaneous.

Jeremiah Moss said...

that said, i do feel empathy for the Millennials. they were told from the get-go that the world was their oyster. of course they expect that. so i understand that the current situation comes as a great shock, a reality that they were not prepared for--their parents and the culture at large failed to prepare them.

but, as everyone knows, it's mostly by being challenged that we grow as people. hopefully, they can rise to the challenge, be creative, and do interesting things that might actually make them happier in the long run.

Anonymous said...

The guy has no debt and a place to stay. As long as he can get by without NEEDING to take that $40k job, he can continue to hold out. Will he benefit in the long run? It depends on how skilled and motivated he really is.

Also, the idea that Europe has "surpassed America in offering opportunity for an ambitious young man" is laughable.