And it somehow gave me direction
Ah, my childhood.
According to a Washington Post article entitled, “Aughts were a lost decade for the U.S. economy, workers”:
The U.S. economy has expanded at a healthy clip for most of the last 70 years, but by a wide range of measures, it stagnated in the first decade of the new millennium. Job growth was essentially zero, as modest job creation from 2003 to 2007 wasn’t enough to make up for two recessions in the decade. Rises in the nation’s economic output, as measured by gross domestic product, was weak. And household net worth, when adjusted for inflation, fell as stock prices stagnated, home prices declined in the second half of the decade and consumer debt skyrocketed.
Now, full disclosure: I was born in 1986 — in the middle of the Reagan administration and during a period of great economic growth. I was 13 when the “lost decade” began and 23 when it ended. So my formative years were defined by two recessions and, most recently, the most constricted economic climate since the Great Depression. I graduated college and began my job search at a time when talk of layoffs and unemployment (especially in Michigan, where I was living at the time) evoked feelings of terror and panic.
People my age have never experienced great economic prosperity and we entered the job market at the worst possible time, so we don’t know anything other than the bloodbath that is the “lost decade” job hunt.
But, in the end, for all the doom and gloom, I like to think it made it made me stronger (and dare I suggest my generation as a whole) — much the same way the Great Depression made our grandparents stronger. We don’t take employment for granted and we learned to work for what we have.
The decade may be lost on some, but I sure as hell learned a lot.