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‘The Onion’ Confirms What Facebook Leads Us To Believe: We’re In A Rut

'The Onion' Confirms What Facebook Leads Us To Believe: We're In A RutTake a stroll — well, a scroll — through your Facebook news feed.

Seriously — go. Go do it.

If it looks anything like mine, it’s full of wedding engagements, photos of squeaky little babies, and old classmates who hold job titles like “Director of Planning and Strategic Somethingoranother at Awesome Company, LLC”.

Facebook makes me feel…well, behind. Behind in some way. Socially and professionally.

Let me qualify that statement before my husband get angry — I’m most definitely married (to a really amazing guy, in fact — one who “gets” the panic thing), but…

I have no kids. Yet.

I have three part-time jobs.

None of those jobs have “director” in the title.


The logical half of my brain soothes me like this: by reminding my less-than-rational half that this isn’t high school.

There are no grades. There are no uniform levels. It’s not like having to complete Geometry before you take Trigonometry. This is life, and there’s no set order to things here. There’s no institutionally-imposed structure.

People don’t all get married at 28 like I did. People don’t all have kids by 30. People don’t all rise to the top of their profession by 32.

And what’s more, job titles mean very little — these days, cashiers are called sales associates. Subway employees are called sandwich artists. And I even had a student last semester who taught me that the official job title for Hollister employees is model.

There’s even a term now — “job title inflation” — to describe the rise of fancy-sounding job titles that put a top hat and bow tie on mundane, middle-wage jobs.

This is real life, and you can do any of those things (kids, job, marriage) in any order that you want.

Or not do them at all, of course.

Still, that pesky Facebook news feed serves as a daily reminder of what we haven’t yet accomplished.


Ironically, this incredible story from The Onion popped up on — of all places — my Facebook news feed today:

NEW YORK—A new 400-page report released Monday by the Pew Research Center confirmed that everyone—absolutely everyone—other than you is starting new, exciting phases of their lives and careers.

Usually, The Onion will just squeeze a passing giggle out of me here and there. But this humor hit home. The story continued:

“Our results indicate that those around you are all turning a new leaf, moving forward to face a fresh challenge, and embarking on periods of immense personal and professional growth, while you on the other hand are in a phase of total stagnation, if not regression,” said head researcher Dr. James Messemer, adding that the data also suggests that everyone sees the clear contrast between those who are really blossoming by moving on to meet a new opportunity and you, an individual perceived as being stuck in a rut, left behind, or simply someone who has already reached their potential.

I guess this is proof that I’m not the only person who feels behind when I’m mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Should I give up Facebook, or should I give up my less-than-rational brainhalf’s skewed perception of the information I get from Facebook?

I vote for the latter. If I were to quit Facebook altogether, I’d miss the cute animal pictures.

And, okay — I’d miss the baby pics, too.

(You can read the full piece of satire here: Report: Everyone Starting New Exciting Stage Of Life Except You)

‘The Onion’ Confirms What Facebook Leads Us To Believe: We’re In A Rut

Summer Beretsky

Summer Beretsky enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She had her first panic attack as an undergrad at Lycoming College and plenty more while she worked toward her M.A. in Communication from the University of Delaware. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral and has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky.

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APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2013). ‘The Onion’ Confirms What Facebook Leads Us To Believe: We’re In A Rut. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Dec 2013
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