News that makes me ask myself if I’m in the band Sugar Ray and I just don’t know it yet

Seriously, am I that guy Mark from that band?

Whenever I think about trends where the bottom is dropping out in economics, I think of the music industry around the year 2000, and I think about the band Sugar Ray. I feel like they were some of the last pop/rock musicians that rode the final wave of $18 CD longboxes. They hit a sweet spot in their career while music was still expensive, so when they were at their peak, they got the maximum benefit all before it came crashing down for everyone else.

The thing is though, Sugar Ray never knew they were the last of a dying breed during that time. Not only that, but for a decade afterwards I feel like every time I turned on MTV to watch some fantasy wealth lifestyle show like Cribs, a member of Sugar Ray or Blink 182 or a similar band of that era was showing off their 8 brand-new luxury cars in the driveway, walking through their 15 lavish bedrooms, and touring their ginormous pool in the backyard.

There’s lots of dreadful economic news these days about millennials, and how they’re “ruining” everything. Golf is dying. Casinos are dying. Luxury cars are going away forever soon. What those stories miss is when economic futures are uncertain, people don’t splurge on stupid purchases, so yes, opulent lifestyle items and brands are going to suffer, and young people are the least likely to afford them, so they can’t be counted on as future customers.

But the long-term economic uncertainty facing millennials goes deeper and gets worse. I honestly don’t know if my young daughter is going to have a regular job with a salary from a single company when she grows up and finishes college in about ten years. I don’t know if that is a thing that will still exist, or if the world will have turned to freelance or “independent contractor-only” by then, or if automation will eliminate every job but programmers.

So these days I keep reminding myself that I lucked out and had a pretty good run of normal-seeming jobs for much of my life. I’m also still asking myself in terms of economics, if I’m currently in the band Sugar Ray during the final heyday of an industry, but I just don’t know it yet.