Author: Anne Helen Petersen
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This was an informative, engaging history of work, but mostly it was cathartic to hear that I’m not alone.
I have to say, I really enjoyed reading this book about the systemic issues leading to millennial burnout. I didn’t relate to quite everything here. I think I may have a healthier relationship to social media than the author (of course, it’s not part of my job!). I’m also fortunate to be dealing with pretty low precarity in my life in terms of jobs and finances. I related to almost everything here though. It was incredibly cathartic to hear about other people who feel the way I do about life, work, and relationships. It was also affirming to see all the ways the system is stacked against millennials laid out so clearly. The author does an great job mixing memoir, interviews, and history together to give a complete picture of where we are and how we got here.
While the main thrust of the book was the experience of white, middle class Americans, the author mixed in a much broader range of perspectives. The millennials she interviews represent people of many races, genders, and sexualities. They also span the country in terms of geography, class, family situation, and occupation. Although this didn’t shift the focus of the book, it allowed the author to give a more complete overview of millennial experience. She also devoted at least a section of most chapters to talking about how people with marginalized identities and/or with lower income may be even more affected by systemic social issues.
I appreciated that the author didn’t wrap up with too specific a prescription for our problems. This is a large issue that will need many specific policy solutions. That would be a bit much for this slim, engaging read to tackle. Instead, the author highlights the important paradigm shifts she hopes this book will facilitate. Specifically, before policy change can happen, we all have to recognize that their are systemic issues and be willing to fight to make things better for everyone, not just ourselves.