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Mar 26, 2019 02:45:07

Generational patterns

by @vickenstein | 254 words | 🐣 | 218💌

Victoria Maung

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As an Asian kid, I've commiserated with my other Asian-American friends about the parental push for us to engage in high-security professions, like medicine, law, or engineering, as I've thought aloud in a previous 200WAD

My brain thinks there is a relationship between the socioeconomic background of a parent and this particular desire for their children to do well in school and choose more practical career paths. (Of course the reality is much more complicated than that.) A Chinese-immigrant-PhD friend once shared her anecdotal observations with me: first-generation is typically blue-collar, second generation is STEM, third-generation is leadership/creative. (So naturally, she may be self-selecting for only people in education due to her status as a PhD candidate.)

But still, that observation reminded me of the common saying among wealth advisors: the first generation makes it, the second generation spends it, and the third generation blows it. Maybe the closer truth is that the more comfortable your security net is, the greater the career risk you allow your children to take. So the second- and third- generations are not just blatantly depleting their families' wealth, but are statistically diminishing that wealth because their risky career decisions (a gamble?).

And I think that's not a bad thing! Lots of liberal art and art majors I know come from comfortably middle-class or upper-class families. Maybe they learn to be happier with less money. Maybe they don't come from parents who think life is a zero-sum game who feels that it is crucial to aggrandize wealth intergenerationally. 

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    @vickenstein "first-generation is typically blue-collar, second generation is STEM, third-generation is leadership/creative." - this observation is generally quite true!

    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Mar 26, 2019 18:17:40
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      @jasonleow that's interesting that you also notice this! I do know personally know people who break that mold with in countries where it's easier to start a business, where blue collar workers are also entrepreneurs, but I wonder what the actual statistics would say!

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Mar 27, 2019 11:54:52
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      @vickenstein yes there’s always the exception to the norm. If anything, that narrative is certainly more prevalent than actual reality I feel. But the whole narrative of STEM jobs as “iron rice bowl” (have you heard of the phrase? ie stable for life kind of jobs) is slowly but surely changing, because what was deemed as good lucrative careers are changing...maybe now it’s banking, finance and tech?

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Mar 27, 2019 19:51:56
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    @vickenstein - Very interesting topic. It's amazing how much we are alike when we look deeper into our thoughts and psychology.

    Keni avatar Keni | Mar 26, 2019 00:41:19
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      @keni thanks for reading ^_^ I've always been wondering about this, and 200WAD is a great place to map out my thoughts, which is sometimes fruitful with the diversity of people here.

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Mar 27, 2019 11:56:44
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    @vickenstein Agree with you on this "Maybe they learn to be happier with less money."

    Another observation, being first or second generation, you are trying to prove (who ever that is) that you can make it (what ever that is).

    Abhinaya Konduru avatar Abhinaya Konduru | Mar 26, 2019 04:02:28
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      @itsabhinaya yeah! I'm sure there's a strong historical context to this trend, that being a lot of people are moving up into the middle class from poverty in many parts of the world. And maybe status symbols, like luxury goods and cars, are part of that poor man's mindset after they've "made it." I don't blame them!

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Mar 27, 2019 11:59:11
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