Disposable Teens

The comments on this Dealbook piece about how Wall Street has reconstituted the notion of employment as bottom-line cyclical churn are 100% mean, as you’d expect. (“I can’t help but wonder if any of these laid-off wunderkinds ever ask themselves whether they contributed to the current economic situation,” for example. And: “My God these people are pathetic. Even when they’re laid off and collecting unemployment, they still sound like insufferable snobs.”) But the sheer numbers involved in the way financial firms chew up and spit out young people are pretty bad. These are the very kids who were the children of the subjects of New York magazine parenting articles: we cared about them when we worried they were probably autistic, and then when their young parents were striving to get them into the best preschools, and then again when the kids spent the next sixteen years trying to beat each other on the SATs and the GPAs and the extracurriculars, so why shouldn’t we care about them now that they’ve entered a workforce where they regularly get kicked to the curb because some dickface in management has to sack a quota of analysts to make his now-regular layoff goal? When you’re laid off twice by 28, that’s rough! And that’s tens and tens of thousands of young people who were sold a dream and an expectation about merit, performance and success, and now they’re figuring out one by one that it was literally all a lie. Probably half these kids will turn out bitter and evil and scheming, but, if we’re lucky, half the kids will figure out that the prevailing corporate system of doing business is utterly screwed. Maybe a few will even do something about it.

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