instead of just dunking on i'll say that one of the several reasons this mindset is so prevalent is because america's cultural perception still hasn't caught up with the destruction of the 'traditional' career path that had been building for years and then really collapsed in 08
i've told this story, before, but it remains really relevant to me and i think others too, helps keep perspective. i'm a one year college dropout. after i dropped out, i bumbled around some, ended up living in rhode island for awhile.
while i was in rhode island, the '08 crash happened. jobs were scarce and ESPECIALLY scarce in rhode island. i ended up applying to be a go-go boy at a gay club - and this isn't some "oh how far i've fallen" thing. i was a young twink, i could dance, good job fit.
i didn't get the job, and it wasn't even for not being good enough or hot enough which would've made total sense to me - the owner of the club straight up told me that a bunch of FORMER dancers were coming back because they just lost their CURRENT jobs, their more 'stable' jobs.
they had the pre-existing experience and the connections, they got the work. it didn't bum me out even as i was struggling to pay rent, it made a bunch of shit click in my head: the whole 'traditional' career path had been destroyed. it wasn't in my or anyone else's hands at all.
people who had been former strippers and moved onto other careers, for whatever reason, couldn't keep those careers. there was no way to build up and rise in the ranks and there was definitely no loyalty from the company, even if they showed that company endless loyalty.
where before your 20s would seem naturally like you'd really build your future, our generation truly had the killing blow of that path being closed off to us. the way it 'used to be' had been already narrowing hard since 70s, 80s, but '08 truly crushed it.
the standard reaction to this sentiment is often listing off people making their most influential work in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and that's an important bit to remind people, that 20s are not the be-all end-all, but i like to keep in mind *why* we thought they were.
not being able to get that stripper job did make paying rent a motherfucker, but on the plus side, it really took a HUGE weight of feelings of shame and guilt and failure out of me for being a dropout and thinking "why am i not (x) at age (y)?!?!"

it wasn't in my hands at all.
people smarter than me, harder working than me, and previously more succesful than me, the ones who 'did everything right' got kicked back down the ladder just as hard and were sitting right next to me, the college dropout.

it wasn't in my hands, or theirs.
i'm now in my 30s. i'm not where i 'wanted to be' when i was fresh out of high school, and sure, there are places where i still wish i was doing better now. but i'm not beating myself up over not accomplishing certain things at certain ages.

that path is long dead.
before, you might've been able to make a somewhat convincing argument that you *have* to get into certain things, do certain things, at a certain age or you're fucked, when moving up the ladder at a job was actually possible.

now it doesn't matter. so don't beat yourself up.
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