The Opt-Out Generation
Source: Christian Science Monitor (via Yahoo)
Five years after collecting an Ivy League undergraduate degree, I look around at my crew of brilliant and promising young friends and see only a few of us who are willing to slave away 12 hours a day for the security of a 401(k). It isn't that we're impractical - I'd give my pinkie finger for the comfort of health insurance - or adverse to hard work. It comes down to this: We have watched our parents waste away in drab cubicles and count the days to retirement. We have heard them whine about the work/life balance. And we're not having it.
Call me idealistic, but isn't work supposed to be part of life? In other words, a vital, joyful activity? Do I have to accept the idea that "real life" begins when I punch out at 8 p.m. each day? Am I supposed to settle for being alive only on the weekends?
I don't mean to say that my peers and I are spoiled brats who don't want to pay their dues. We do want to contribute to society, but we want to do it in a way that doesn't drain the life out of us. That is why the majority of my friends have gravitated toward self-employment, freelancing, consulting, and part-time work. According to Working Today, a national nonprofit that advocates for these outside-the-box thinkers, 30 percent of the current workforce is independently employed. I predict that this number is heading nowhere but up. [Emphasis added]