The McJob Generation

“You can’t just pick up a gun and become a gunfighter, or go off and explore for a new world, or pull a sword out of a stone, or rescue a damsel in distress, or — so we play games and we read books because the world isn’t the world we thought we were supposed to get, the world we thought we’d been promised by somebody. Because things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. So we go someplace else.”

― J. Michael Straczynski

“A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”  

― Jane McGonigal

I know it’s a generalization, but every generation since the end of the so-called Dark Ages (which followed the fall of Rome and its golden era), has had a higher standard of living than their predecessor through that of the Baby Boomers.

Recently I’ve read that the generation known as Generation Y (or variously The Millenials, or Gen Next), now 17-36, will find themselves the first generation to actually be worse off than their immediate predecessors.The accepted belief that every generation will be better off than the one they follow is no longer true.

Even though the Y’s are the most highly educated generation in history, there are few well-paying jobs, even for college graduates who, before they even get a job, are often deeply buried in debt from financing their education (the cover of the August issue of Consumer Reports quotes Jackie Krowen, 32, $152,000.00 in student debt, “I kind of ruined my life by going to college.” The inside article addresses the costs of college and raises the question that for many, they may have been financially better off not going.) 

So many work a series of McJobs with no security, no benefits, with only the hope that Social Security will still be solvent and paying something to help keep them above water as they work through their senior years. Retirement? Not likely.

The world isn’t turning out for them the way it was suppose to, as it has for most of us, their parents and grandparents.

Is it any wonder so many of them escape into – and become addicted to – video gaming where they can become the hero, explore new worlds and all the rest, where they can find a kind of fulfillment in the fantasy world that is denied them in the real one?

Depressing. They haven’t failed. We’ve failed them.

Where did we, the Boomers who have been running this country for the last 30 years, go wrong? 

And why?

–  Bill


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