Toss out your econ books and get your nose out of the financial section, because the best real-world lessons for surviving a recession aren’t in any textbooks or newspapers. They’re staring you down on Jersey Shore—the MTV reality series about eight 20-somethings struggling to find their true selves while living in a world awash in recession.

Okay, so the actual focus of Jersey Shore might not entirely be on educating people about the recession, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned from watching it. After the jump, five recession lessons we’ve picked up from watching Jersey Shore.

Start performing at work or you will be replaced
. Slacker employees may have had more leeway in the past, but employers have the advantage in a recession where the unemployment rate is hovering at 10.4 percent. Take it from Angelina, who got fired from her gig at a T-shirt shop for failing to show up and was subsequently booted from the show…

True friends are there for you through both good times and bad, and when the chips are down, you find out that dog is indeed man’s best friend.

In a recent study of 400 Americans, a majority stated that their pets’ emotional support and non-judgmental attitude are key to helping them survive challenging times. Whether it’s financial struggles, job loss, or general anxiety, your dog’s got your back:

Provides structure: In an uncertain economy, the steady presence of your dog is invaluable. You may not have a job to be at every morning, but your dog still has to be walked and won’t let you wallow the day away in bed. Your best friend brings out the best in you. Not only will you get some exercise and possible human interaction, but you’ll be more likely to stay on track with your job search efforts…

So Cynicism is Dead

by Sara Clemence on February 26, 2010 in Culture

Aloofness is out, warmth is in. Flaming is out, gushing is in.

A story in this week’s New York Observer proclaims that we’re faceing the New Nice, even — perhaps especially — in nasty old New York. Entered into evidence: Tina Fey on the cover of Vogue, the Academy Awards including more best picture nominees, Lady Gaga expressing gratitude to her fans.

That’s this attitude shift due to? In part, the recession…

If obsessing about unemployment figures, market drops, and inflation rates hasn’t helped improve your financial situation over the past year, it might be time to try something else. Like, say, ignoring the recession entirely and pretending it doesn’t exist.

It’s not hard to do. With the swipe of a credit card and the purchase of a $2,500 Swarovski-embellished handbag, you can be right back where you were before the recession began—deep in debt and surrounded by shiny luxury goods.

After the jump, a round-up of our favorite ridiculous items and goods that might help take your mind off of the country’s financial crisis, at least until your next credit card statement arrives in the mail….

Is this the most depressing (or recessing?) story to come out about the downturn or what? We’ve all heard sad tales about lost jobs and lost homes, but Don Peck’s feature for The Atlantic is about a lost generation.

Citing a litany of statistics, studies and observations –mostly about past generations — Peck argues that this stretch of deep unemployment will shape the character of today’s young adults for the worse. They’re likely to earn less and drink more…

After emptying our wallets to see Avatar we got to thinking that there must be a cheaper way to see movies. Sure, going to movies early in the day and avoiding the concession stand will save you money. We know that. But, there are other tricks to seeing movies–even on opening night–on the cheap.

Buy Many At A Time.
Regal Entertainment Group offers Super Saver tickets for as low as $6.50 each. These tickets carry some restrictions, but you can get a ticket valid for all movies and show times, for just a dollar more per ticket. We recommend going in with friends: If you and four friends bought a pack of 50 tickets together, you could each see ten movies at about 40% off. If you don’t want to buy quite as many at a time, there are options for you, too.

Harness Social Media For Movie Rewards.
Fandango offers chances to win free movie tickets to its followers on Twitter. Those who participate in Movie Review Monday – in which Fandango followers tweet movie reviews with rhymes in them – are in the running for two free tickets…

The American Dream is dead– and it ain’t a bad thing.

In a recent survey by Context-Based Research Group, a Baltimore consumer anthropology firm, 78 percent of respondents said they believed the AD was kaput. But they also agreed that it should be, because the dream has become defined by what you can buy, rather than by freedom and ideals.

If there’s one thing we learned in the past few years, it’s that lots of things are more important than money. So here’s some more good news: Those surveyed said they had taken steps to spend less (85 percent) and had de-cluttered their homes (61 percent). Well, now that all that stuff is gone, what’s taken its place? People…

n./ a memoir or novel about losing a job, a house or your life savings to the recession

Well, you know it’s been a long downturn when the book publishing industry has time to put out recession-themed fiction before the economy recovers. We read the recent New York Times story about forthcoming books…

The first time John Wells had his script about corporate layoffs ready to go, the timing was less than ideal.

He’d been inspired by a brother-in-law who lost his job in the dot-bomb, but the economy got back on its feet pretty swiftly, and there didn’t seem to be an appetite for his movie, The Company Men.

You can see where this is going, so I’ll spare you the transition.

The mancession movie, which stars Ben Affleck (yay), Tommy Lee Jones (double yay) and Chris Cooper as smug executives who lose their jobs, finally started shooting in 2009 and is being screened at Sundance right now…

There was no mistaking the recession’s influence at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. Although the crowds have returned since last year’s somber affair, the cars themselves were a far cry from the gas-guzzling behemoths that once covered the floor of the massive convention space.

Yes, it appears change is afoot in the auto industry. Blame it on the recession, the high gas prices, or the growing eco-consciousness of society, but this year’s show featured an endless stream of hybrid, electric, and generally eco-friendly cars with lower price points than before the economic collapse…