You don't get to be middle class anymore.

There are bigger things than ourselves ar happening all the time. I can summarize 10 or more current things happening that would certainly affect me now or in the future. The problem is that most people are terrible seeing incremental changes. It is more literal than the ‘butterfly effect’ than anyone would think of. It is the subtle shifts in main thinking and acting patterns in key decisions in individuality. The point is that they are happening all the time. These are the things that makes great cities wither away to be forgotten, churn out older professions or make things go out of fame over time. What made cities like detroit a shell of their once great selves? Bunch of personal life choices happening around the same time; accelerated by policy changes. We needed the time between the great detroit and the new detroit to form in order to understand the phenomena though, one need to steep back to garner an analyzing perspective.

This kind of change is happening around my circles recently and I thought of equating the change as a worldwide sensation because I tend to see the common elements everywhere. The world is changing and it is sweeping young people’s demands and plans for how a life after college should look like. I am not sure if I fit snugly into a description, yet, though.

Before you spend time on my take, please take a step back to look at two other writeup that encouraged me to produce mine. I just presented an establishing shift in the expectations on the young and educated trove of people from my own POV, nothing more.

First article

Second article (more relevant)

Most of the first world spent a nice portion of the last millennia with the ability to promise a sizeable portion of their educated population with a stable and comfortable middle class living. That is arguably replicated for 20 or so years in my home country Turkey and other, late converters to service sector, countries. Arguably, we are out of new entries to this sensation around some time in 2010s. This era was generally populated by genx’ers because they were the most suitable demographics to hold jobs at the time. Other generations that followed where either too young to hold stable jobs or just did not existed yet. I’m talking about around 90s and even as early as late 80s where a lot of educated genx’ers are finishing up their education to be the holders of a poor man’s american dream in Turkey. The economic boom that enabled new entries to middle class did not happen yet, that was generally the groundwork. Around late 1990s early 2000s, services sector jobs have expanded and enabled new entries to while collar jobs with their much sought-out prestige, that was a new sensation at the time that a lot of cool stuff happened around those circles. The most popular Turkish comedy shows or tv series were situated around the concept of ‘office work,’ comedicization of office politics and everything that surrounds the life of istanbul, middle class, young and university educated people. It was somewhat sure way to follow that trajectory in life. The finest details was that the trajectory was generally attainable. You needed to follow a laid out path to success through standardized education, get into one of the couple universities to study a desired field until you are employed in a white collar job. Genx’ers at the time was a portrayed success story for that transformation, they had the opportunity to begin working around the most expansionary period of the Turkish economy. So, a lot of them encouraged the coming generations to follow that defined path to success.

Then, a lot of things went wrong to topple that dream. More people decided to hold bachelor and master’s degrees, corporations discovered the power of outsourcing, more and more people decided to immigrate. It was imperative for this lifestyle to hold humble ‘exclusivity’ anyone just cannot hold more degrees otherwise the system would lose its shine in terms of total compensation offered to the median worker. Managerial staff resorted to groupism in some portions of 2000s, around 100 or so universities in Turkey, a handful of those graduates were given preferential treatment to keep the balance.

A mocking culture soon ensured to lash out at the average white collar lifestyle. Middle class lifestyle choices in general are also subjected to mockery. Middle class generally works hard, stays of out of politics, likes to be left alone in private, spends money on post-material things like diplomas from better institutions than the state university or high schools. This culture fell to mockery after the exclusivity around white collar lifestyles crumbled in 2010s. Now you are a sucker as a male to be working white collar, you better port your knowledge elsewhere and be your own boss or hustle at the side. As a female, you are out of material to be working white collar jobs, you better be original and not submit yourself to the whims of the corporate culture and have balanced life. Status symbols of a bygone era is now mocked to death; taking trips to Europe to blow your monthly salary is less exquisite if the working class migrant Turk in Germany seems to be having more fun than you do.

I have a baseless theory, It is largely unsustainable for states to hold a growing and comfortable middle class. Turkey’s case lasted around 10-ish years, most welfare states in the nordics have it better; but there is a definitive struggle around the world. In 2020’s we are watching another wave of middle class downturns in established economies and literal crash of middle class dreams and values in lesser developed countries like my home country. Every sure way to basic financial security and freedom have around 10-ish years to fruition and then overutilization. They should not be promised to the future generations. Doing that is just lack of oversight.

It has become really hard to imagine the newly educated genz to imagine a similar future as their parents had. More less people today looks forward to structured white collar jobs not just because it has become a not so neat deal economically but they have observed the mocking culture around middle class values, loss of prestige around those jobs, the toll that their parents had to endure just to keep mortgage and credit card payments going through just to afford a comfortable middle class household, practice that has been sinking continuously since early 2010s. What do their parents have to show for it? Pretty unimaginative stuff it you think about it. Alternative ways to attain success have become outside of the middle class realm. Hustling or ‘making it happen’ is an American export to foreign cultures and is pretty much not middle class, seeking ways to change countries for work is not middle class I can pretty much confidently say that there are very little middle class left in my home country at this point. Anything with that little representation is subject to disapprovement.

Why the Z generation then… Unimpressed and unmotivated to work and changes jobs like clothes? Hear it.

Corporations never stopped to cut corners on worker benefits, you get less and less holidays per year, expected to overtime, have to endure office politics etc. A large portion of what made while collar lifestyle so shiny in Turkey was the worker benefits. You were the guy who work-trips to Europe while rest gets to spend off-time in grandma’s village or never sees holidays at all, you get to speak English in the work, eat, spend, drink, exercise and see what is western and foreign to the most of the population at the time. Nowadays, what is western, foreign and trendy is just as accessible to a middle schoolers with a tablet as it is to a white collar worker; the accessibility hike has eroded.

Part of the problem is that corporations likes to hire a bunch of consultants to make the most meager conclusions at any levels of thinking. Genz likes to play mobile games, likes to have memorable, important but solid experiences, spends time on social media. So, we need to babysit their way into the corporate and structure work as play! No, they are not demanding anything radical if you look at the basics, most of them would like a job with solid basis on worker security with reasonable hours, room for growth etc. They do not need anything to be gamified they are not game avatars but people. What is different about them versus genx and geny can be found in the way they look at their future prospects. Can one really argue that they look at their trajectories the same way older generations would have looked. I would argue that they are more panicky in terms of money and security in a world that they are at so much risk of losing both in short notice. But I guess if it is not in powerpoint format it cannot be true to corporations. They simply don’t get the same benefits attached to being productive members of their societies as the older folks did and they are anxious all the time about it. It is more than the responsibility of corporations, basic amenities required for living like housing, transportation and quality city dwelling has been on downside too. How do you expect them to be just as ready and serious about leading stable relationships when they need to room with 4 other randoms while working consulting just because rent is expensive? Is it really that odd that they took lessons from their parent’s trajectories in life and now all they talk about is mental health work-life-balance stuff? They don’t get to be middle class anymore.