Millennials Talking Recession

April 30, 2009

I have completed a number of interviews with Millennials (aka Gen Y, those under 30 years old) that have been laid off either this year or since the beginning of 2008.  Even though the topic is somewhat depressing I have found the conversations to be interesting and found hope that this generation is taking their current situation in stride (for the most part).

As a generational consultant I am often asked my opinion on how the recession and subsequent layoffs will affect the Millennial generation.  Well I think most of what is written about this generation isn’t always based on what they have to say so I think it is important to ask them.  So the first phase is the one-on-one interviews and then phase two is an online survey which will follow in late May/early June.  I am also considering a third phase to survey Millennials who are graduating (or recently graduated) and having a hard time finding work.  There needs to be quantitative data on how Millennials who have been laid off feel about the recession, being laid off and their view on their future plans and working for Corporate America (or working for anyone for that matter).

As I wrap up the interviews this week there have been two comments from two different Millennials that struck me that I want to share.

The first is Kristin, a former consulting firm recruiter in the Southeast.  She may be only 27 but this experience has taught her to be reflective.  When asked what do you talk about when discussing the economy with your friends she answered, “Our generation has never experienced this before.  We graduated and jobs were available left and right. We’ve never had to realize what it’s like to not have it all.”  And Adam, 24 years old, who worked for a financial services company was quick to answer the question Do you think this layoff will impact you when you are 45.  He said, “Absolutely. This will always be present in my mind and I expect it will stay with me for a long time.”

Now these are just two comments and certainly may not be representative of the entire Millennial generation but I believe they do speak volumes of what is going on in the heads of Millennials and will impact the decisions they make in the future regarding career choice, company choice and who to look out for first.  I heard more than once that this experience will force them to “look out for number one.”  Other comments were “companies aren’t loyal to employees,” and “management made a series of poor decisions and we paid the consequences for it.”

But as a 24 year-old from New York City who was laid off from Crain Communications stated, “I’m lucky to be young and to have more flexibility to deal with this.”

Stay tuned for more on ‘Millennials Talking Recession’ and if you are a Millennial that has been laid off and would like to participate in our upcoming survey please send your name, age, city and email address to stacey@sbrconsult.com

[Each Millennial referenced in this blog gave their permission.]



  1. I agree with Adam’s take that this will have an impact on us throughout the rest of our lives, but I don’t see that as a negative.

    I’m trying to take this time to reassess and figure out what I want to do. Going through college, I don’t think there’s ever the right time to figure it out, you’re being pushed in one direction or another for a major or minor or concentration.

    I’ve been in the workforce for a couple years and have had a chance to gauge and document what I like and dislike, and I think it will give me a better view of what I should look for in the future now that I have a chance to look around.

  2. I hopped over to read this after taking your survey. I’m really interested in seeing the results.

    I agree with Adam as well. I was laid off two years ago after attaining quite a bit of success at my first post=-college corporate job. The whole experience has made me extremely distrustful of relying on a corporation for my livelihood. After getting laid off, I started my own freelance writing business. At least now, if something horrible happens, it’s my own fault rather than company higher ups deciding to outsource for cheaper labor.

    I think a lot of us Millennials are learning the hard way that we need to invest in ourselves and building our own skills rather than relying on an employer to guide us. I believe it will make us stronger in the long run.

    • Hey Jennifer. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. Your feedback is important. I will be blogging about the results so please consider subscribing to my RSS feed (a new blog specific to the results goes out this week) and I will have the results available on my website, http://www.sbrconsult.com. Please feel free to check back in mid-to-late August for the results. Thanks again for your feedback and for your survey participation. Best of luck with freelance writing and all your future endeavors. ~ Stacey

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