Tips for jobless grads, with advice to see the upside of surviving the lean years

by Grace

20130919.COCLivingAtHome1Megan McArdle, who moved back in with her parents when she was 29, gives “13 Tips for Jobless Grads on Surviving the Basement Years”.

I like all her tips, which include some practical suggestions as well as some ideas to help lift a disconsolate spirit.

Even if they can’t find a job in their field, dejected college graduates should get a job and start supporting themselves.

Don’t say you can’t work a lesser job because you won’t be able to focus on your job search. After the first few weeks, your job search is not taking you 60 hours a week….

Don’t forget relationships, especially family ties.

Enjoy your time back with your parents. …

A potential upside to surviving the basement years

McArdle compares this crop of recent college graduates to the Great Depression kids.

12. That afraid feeling you have is never really going away. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but folks who were raised in the Great Depression were kind of neurotic penny-pinchers who fretted about financial security far more than the prosperous generations before and after. (Ask your parents about the older relatives who collected tin foil and rubber bands in big balls so that you could reuse them. I kid you not. That was a Thing Grandparents Did when I was growing up.) The bad news is that I, too, am also an obsessive penny pincher — after two years of massive job uncertainty, followed by more years of earning much less money than my student loans would suggest. The good news is that your fear will end up having surprising upsides: there’s a reason that the U.S. household savings rate peaked right along with the earnings of the Great Depression kids. When they retired, savings went off a cliff. So instead of letting your fear ride you, use it constructively, to make you thriftier and more careful.

Since I sometimes consider myself a “neurotic penny-pincher”, I can attest to the upside of surviving massive job uncertainty.  In my case, after a few golden years of a booming career in the oil business, the bottom dropped out and layoffs decimated the ranks of geologists working in that field.  Subsequent years of a dramatically downsized lifestyle taught me valuable lessons in thriftiness and the importance of saving.  If the same effect applies to today’s struggling generation, then a few years of basement living will not have been such a bad thing.

And let’s not forget that frugal people are more attractive.

Related:  No shame in living at home after college (usually) (Cost of College)

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2 Comments to “Tips for jobless grads, with advice to see the upside of surviving the lean years”

  1. I graduated into the recession of the early 80′s, which was every bit as bad for young people. There was a lot of hand wringing about limited prospects for young people, and whether college was worth it. The theory then was that the baby boomers had taken all the jobs. No one I knew found a job right out of college. We were all in basements. And yet, I see little longterm effect on that generation (the beginning of generation X).

  2. Our current recession/recovery is different in terms of jobs and GDP from the most recent ones, and probably more similar to the Great Depression. So it may end up having a different impact on young people.
    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/comparing-jobs-in-recessions-and-recoveries-2/

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