This chapter presents a cross-national qualitative comparison, examining the extent to which the narratives of young Europeans experiencing unemployment and job insecurity have commonalities across nation states. Our starting point is interviews with men and women from three birth cohorts (1950–55, 1970–75 and 1990–95) in seven European countries. Using the concept of big-N narratives, we interpret common themes found in our data. We focus on subjective consequences, using the capability approach to understand how individual actors perceive their challenges, what they are capable of doing and what might help them. The chapter expands on previous work by proposing seven conversion factors as lenses for our analysis: institutional, social, economic, familial, cultural, political and personal. Reading the data through these lenses, four overarching narratives of unemployment emerge: the Stumbler narrative, the Stigmatized narrative, the Great Crisis narrative and the Messy Life narrative.