How students become yuppies

(U-WIRE)-I suspect a lot of seniors are now wondering, “What am I going to do when I graduate and enter the ‘real world’?”

Here are some thoughts on the yuppie path too many take after college. There are two basic patterns to everyday life in the “real world” for most college seniors turned young urban (or suburban) professionals or yuppies.

The first is obvious and widely recognized-the second far less so. First, unlike college, life becomes organized around a monotonously regular schedule: 9 a.m. or earlier to 5 p.m. or later, five to six days per week.

This first yuppie life pattern contributes to the second: what economic sociologist Juliet Schor in her recent book “The Overworked American” calls “the insidious cycle of work-and-spend.”

For the sacrifice of most of the yuppie’s waking life to a job, in return most expect to make a good income. The longer the job hours and the greater the responsibility, the more the yuppie expects to get paid. The harder the yuppie works, the more the yuppie makes, the more the yuppie spends, the more the yuppie has to work to keep up with the new expenses (e.g., SUV, new clothes, pricey restaurants, ski trips, scuba lessons). In some yuppies’ lexicon, this work-spend cycle means “work hard, play hard.” Most college seniors who make this conventional transition from the relatively frugal college student’s life to the life of the work-and-spend yuppie embrace it, no matter how much they occasionally grumble about being overworked.

The speed and ease of this embrace is not too surprising when we consider the vast armies of corporate advertisers and marketers dedicated to keeping young professionals running on the treadmill. It’s not until the marriage-home-kids nexus eventually develops, though, that most yuppies become fully ensconced in the work-spend cycle-whether one parent stays home or not.

This nexus (usually settled in suburbia)