In the second episode of Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, Nora runs into an old high school friend, Melanie, on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Melanie went to Emerson on a full-ride scholarship, and Nora recalls hearing she was working in video production — at BuzzFeed, Melanie confirms, but she was laid off. Melanie then proceeds to recite allll the jobs she’s held in the interim, before she took up braiding tourists’ hair on the boardwalk. To comfort her, Nora marvels, “You’ve lost more jobs than I’ve ever had!”
It’s a laugh line, but it’s also a gut punch. For millennials, anyway, Nora’s perceived dichotomy is familiar; for many of today’s 20- and 30-somethings, adulthood has meant unemployment or a laundry list of dead-end gigs.