Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Generation Entitlement and Delusion

Yesterday there was an article in the New York Times called “American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation.”  The gist of the article is – again – about the difficulty the younger generation (22-23 year olds) is having in finding jobs in comparison to their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. The article focuses on Scott Nicholson, a 24 year old graduate of Colgate University who is currently unemployed and living on his parents’ dime. He had been sending off four to five resumes a week, until…
“Over the last five months, only one job materialized. After several interviews, the Hanover Insurance Group in nearby Worcester offered to hire him as an associate claims adjuster, at $40,000 a year. But even before the formal offer, Mr. Nicholson had decided not to take the job.
The emphasis is mine. Why did he decide not to take the job?
“Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.”
Essentially, rather than work, gain some experience, and make a paycheck, he is going to sit around on his ass, and allow his parents to pay his bills until a more prestigious job shows up. Are you kidding me? I’ve seen this attitude in some of the new law school grads I interview. They think they are so brilliant, that they are going to walk in the door and immediately sit first chair at trial. They think they are too good to do document review and draft subpoenas. The reality is that they know nothing about the real world and they know nothing about working. Scott, rather than take a job with a pretty decent starting salary, turns it down because it isn’t good enough for him.

But wait, it gets better:
“Going it alone,” “earning enough to be self-supporting” — these are awkward concepts for Scott Nicholson and his friends. Of the 20 college classmates with whom he keeps up, 12 are working, but only half are in jobs they “really like.” Three are entering law school this fall after frustrating experiences in the work force, “and five are looking for work just as I am,” he said.
They also have to have a job they “really like.” There is a reason jobs are called work. I think you’d be hard pressed to find many people who “really like” their job. Yet this is an expectation now. Rather than take a job, it’s considered okay to turn down the offered job in the hopes that a job you “really like” comes along. Scott sure is lucky his parents are willing to foot the bill until that day comes.
And then:
“[Scott’s brother, who graduated from college in 2006] is earning $75,000 — a sum beyond Scott’s reach today, but not his expectations. “I worked hard through high school to get myself into the college I did,” Scott said, “and then I worked hard through college to graduate with the grades and degree that I did to position myself for a solid job.” (He majored in political science and minored in history.)”
This unique boy worked hard in college! He got good grades! Isn’t that what is expected? Do you think he understands that he is competing against people who did the exact same thing? The article doesn’t go into detail about what type of corporate job he hopes to get with a major in political science and a minor in history. Perhaps he would have been better off majoring in business or finance if he wanted to get into the corporate world. The best part about this, though, is that he seems to think that he is entitled to the $75,000 a year salary that his brother is making after four years of working.

I don’t understand how this generation got to be so deluded and so entitled. In this economy, this kid should be happy he got offered a job – any job – that paid a living wage. But, he’s just going to wait it out for his dream job. Good luck with that. While you could have been getting some real world experience aside from sitting on your parents’ couch and earning a paycheck, which would actually be something to add to your resume, you now will have to explain in every future interview why you aren’t working.

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