Update: For a similar take on what I talk about here, read Derek Thompson at the Atlantic. I particularly enjoyed when he mentioned how it's not our generation that wrecked the economy, we're just the ones who are paying for it. And I say that fully aware that in terms of socioeconomic class I am incredibly lucky (as I type on my netbook from Costa Rica)
There was an interesting article in the NYT Magazine about twenty-somethings and whether or not they are in a previously unrecognized stage of development. The article is good and I'm definitely following some of the paths outlined in the story. If I had not been accepted to WorldTeach, my next option would have been City Year, an organization mentioned in the article. This one is also less depressing than some of the others I've read such as the Atlantic's or this one in the WSJ.
While the article is good, I do agree with both Matthew Ylgesias's criticism and Jamelle Bouie's criticism . They both point out how the article focuses on people in their 20s with college degrees. The majority of people in their 20s have not finished college; More focus on them would have fleshed out the article. The one anecdote is good, but not much else is made of it beyond that.
As a somewhat aimless 23 year old, the part that bugged me was the lack of attention on the recession. This is what I found annoying, "Parents are helping pay bills they never counted on paying, and social institutions are missing out on young people contributing to productivity and growth." As my parents can attest to, I did not do the most intelligent nor comprehensive job search before deciding to do WorldTeach. However, when unemployment for college graduates was over 7 percent, even my friends who knew exactly what they wanted had trouble finding jobs, never mind jobs which allowed them to move out and pay the bills.
Add to this the sharp drop in employment in manufacturing and construction, two job sectors which traditionally employed 20-something year olds without college degrees, and its no wonder we're not moving out as fast as some say we should.