A note to graduates moving in with their parents

We’re moving in with our parent, yeah!!!

(via flickr The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Screw ‘em!

No, not you class of 2011, you’re so sensitive, but screw all of the folks who write about the Great Recession producing the Lost Generation, and how you all are just going to move back home and play videogames and file e-resumes while mooching off of your parents’ 401K.

Do you know what the Great Depression produced?  The Greatest Generation, that’s what.

Tough times make us better.

I was reading a piece in the Huffington Post about the Lost Generation and it made me pissed off for you Class of 2011.

“Millennials were raised the way Bill Cosby told parents to raise their kids — set rules, show encouragement, don’t use physical discipline, build up a child’s self-esteem,” explains Winograd. “If you tell someone from zero to 13 that they’re always doing a nice job and that they’re really special and wonderful, they’ll wind up believing they are.”

Self-confidence breeds optimism, according to Winograd and Hais, even when times are tough. “The millennials don’t have a sense that everything is wonderful, because obviously it isn’t, but they believe as a country that things will get better and their lives will also get better,” says Hais. “In part, it’s because they’re young and they actually have time to accomplish this. But it’s also because generations like the millennials feel they’ve accomplished good things in the past and that they will again in the future because their parents told them so.”

So the stereotype is that you, Class of 2011, are a bunch of everybody-is-a-winner, ego-fed kids who think you’ll succeed in life because your momma thinks you have a nice smile, so you are just going to sit around and wait for the world to bless you with a life as nice as your perfect dentistry your pappa paid for by working overtime at the factory.

Seriously? Are you pissed yet?

This isn’t racism or sexism this is a whole other –ism…generationalism.

Generationalism (noun) – hatred or intolerance of another generation of people.

Don’t give up like this girl profiled in the article:

Her dream for the future used to encompass a well-appointed and comfortable life — a farmhouse, two artist studios, a husband, and several children. “But it’s not worth dreaming so big anymore,” says Malik. “My plans now are far less extravagant. I guess I’m learning to dream on a much smaller scale.”

Screw the scale!

Do you know what the scale is?   The scale is to graduate with debt –check you probably got that covered – get a job that you don’t particularly care for but has “nice benefits,” none of those benefits allowing you the time and resources and energy to pursue that thing – you know what I’m talking about – that you’ve always wanted to do.

Dream bigger

I was a “Boomerang kid. “  For a two-year span in my mid-twenties I lived with my parents.  I was such a loser, or was I?

I graduated college with a degree in Anthropology, which the generationalists would say was impractical, and traveled the world gathering stories that I now get paid a living to re-tell in writing and in person. Of course, the naysayers at the time thought I was a loser.   That I wasn’t making use of my college degree – regardless of how impractical it was.  But the funny thing is that I went to college for more than just a piece of paper that occupied four years of my life and one line on my resume.  I actually learned stuff.  Stuff that helped shape the way I look at the world.  Stuff that made me ask questions like “Where Am I Wearing? What is life really like for garment workers around the world?”  Stuff that eventually launched my career as a writer and speaker.

I also worked as a dive instructor in the Florida Keys, which the generationalists would label a dead-end job.  In the two years I worked as an instructor, I learned more about life and death and leadership and fish and myself than I would’ve ever learned at an entry-level job in some office or going to grad school.

I worked hard pursuing impractical things and between my days as a dive instructor and my career as author/speaker, I lived with my parents for 20-months.   I worked a day job at the family business, but my eye was always on the prize: find a way to do what I love to do.

I was a man living with his parents.   I knew what people were saying, “Kelsey, the vagabond, Kelsey, the beach bum, moved in with his parents? Surprise, surprise.”

Do you know what I had to say?

Screw ‘em!

They had no idea where I was going, and trust me I was going.  I love my parents dearly, but past a certain age it is damn near psychologically impossible to live with your parents.  Really, what better motivation is there to go somewhere, anywhere, than your mother asking you – twentysomething YOU! –  when you’re going to clean your room.

So class of 2011, be reasonably impractical.

No job is a dead-end job, unless you allow it to be so. Got a degree in art history and a job as a sandwich artist?  I know and you know that your career aspirations don’t involve asking “white or wheat?” or “would you like to make that a combo?” but there is nothing wrong making sandwiches on the path to that thing you want to do.

It’s reasonable to work a job, any job.  It’s reasonable to move in with your parents for a bit.  It’s impractical not to learn from both experiences. It’s impractical to not move beyond both.  It’s impractical not to pursue your dream.

Work any job, live in your parent’s basement, and pursue your goals with a focus and passion that the generationalists in all of their 9-to-5 comforts have never known, and you’ll never be lost.

Lost Generation? Ha!

Screw ‘em!



Love your standing in your brilliance tenacity. The funny thing is all those folks who are critisizing you have never done anything brilliant with their lives, which is why they spend it tearing down others.

Keep your focus, see the beauty in gather life experiences and (go clean your room giggle)

Kelsey says:

Thanks Michele. Annie asks me on occasion to clean my office. She keeps me grounded.

Cathy Shouse says:

Bravo, Kelsey! I recently saw a column in a finance magazine pretty much saying that the only wise college tuition investment was to get an engineering degree. Ridiculous! First, not everyone has an engineer’s mind (thank God). Second, there are only so many engineering jobs. Hurray for the anthropology majors, and the oboe majors, and the film production majors! Your thoughts on what we really learn in college are dead on. It’s more than getting a piece of paper or we’d all get online degrees.

That’s pretty much what I’ve told my granddaughter, who will enter Columbia College this fall to pursue a degree in fashion design. Learn what you enjoy learning, then see where it takes you. And never quit learning, because your interests and needs will change as the world changes.

Let your voice be heard!