[04.25.11] 8 Sobering Reasons for Youth Unemployment [Featured]

8 Sobering Reasons for Youth Unemployment

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Youth unemployment is at approximately 25%. This is even higher for recent grads in the “soft” subjects, such as psychology, social work, etc. So why am I hearing from my friends and business colleagues they are having a hard time hiring, especially for entry-level positions? I think there are, from my research and observations, a few answers.

1. Unrealistic salary expectations. Many who are graduating college believe they should be paid $50K or higher to start… with no or little experience. This is just not realistic. Dues must be paid, and one of those dues is to earn a lower salary for a while to get experience and actually be worth being paid at all.

2. The B.S. from colleges and training schools. Colleges, universities and training schools are over-inflating the worth of their training so they can charge their obscene and exorbitant tuition. They’re telling these younger workers that they’re completely trained and ready to hit the road running. In fact, most of what kids learn in school is completely useless. Don’t get me wrong, an education is a vital and valuable experience. But schools have got to stop peddling the B.S. that kids are ready to be CEOs upon graduation. Again, dues need to be paid in terms of real world experience.

3. Unrealistic duty expectations. The entire job isn’t going to be fun, fun, fun. Every job, including mine (sometimes especially mine) involves some “cleaning the toilets.” No job is going to be non-stop valuable and non-stop fun. You get to do the “grunt work,” too. If you’re not willing to start pretty close to the bottom of the career ladder, expect to be unemployed for a long period of time.

4. Universities again. More of the B.S. coming out of academia is, if you can’t get a job with a Baccalaureate degree, go get more education. This is why there are so many people with advanced degrees that are still unemployed. So the schools tell them they need certificates, or a PhD, or some other “credential” that universities or other schools can give them. Employers want experience. By getting more and more advanced degrees, without starting at the bottom and getting experience, you’re just pricing yourself further out of the market. I strongly suggest a few years of work before going on for more degrees or certifications unless such are required for your field. Another point. Most of the very best universities, such as Harvard, look for someone who is well-rounded and can bring something to the table, rather than a snot-nosed kid who has gone from high school to college, and college to grad school.

5. Evil parents. Parents — your kids are never going to stand on their own two feet if you keep carrying them around. Insist your kids work, even if you have to help them for a while. Tell them to put up with the everyday give and take of a work environment, including long hours, office politics, and jerk bosses, rather than telling them they’re too good to have to experience this, even though you do every day. Make them pay a bit of rent if they’re living at home. No one should ride for free, especially your children. You have two jobs. When they were younger, you had the job of giving them a nest. Now it is your job to give them wings!

I hear too many kids (and I’m even talking “kids” up to their 30’s) who say they don’t really have to work because their parents will either pay for them to live, or that they can live at home. This is really, truly dysfunctional!

6. Social lives. No one has told most youth workers their recreational and social lives must, especially in a difficult economy, take a back seat to actually earning a living.

7. Over-scheduling. We would love to hire someone to be trained as a career coach. However, we are finding that many of the younger people we’ve interviewed have such packed lives that they don’t have time for the job and the training that must take place. One person was more interested in her yoga and pole-dancing classes than in being trained for an exciting (and potentially lucrative) career. I could give many other examples, as well. I blame my generation for signing these kids up when they were younger for soccer, piano, ballet, softball, dance classes, and everything else under the sun that kept them busy 24/7. But constant busy-ness does not allow for the learning and mentoring a career takes.

8. Entitlement attitude. I see many younger workers feel entitled to be treated “special,” and to be appreciated for just doing their job. This may have happened at Ben Franklin Elementary, and even through high school and college, but the work world requires some actual accomplishments.

I welcome your comments, both in the comments section below, or to me, personally, at jheckers@heckersdev.com.

John Heckers has over 30 years of successfully helping people with their careers. He has consulted to executives from Fortune 500 companies, 5 person companies, and everything in-between.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

John Heckers

John Heckers is president of Heckers Development Group, LTD, a consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado, specializing in Strategic Executive Coaching.

96 comments

  1. Tick Tock - Tick Tock

    Minimum wagers can not and will not pay for the boomers social security and medicare. Generation X and Y will be the ones who pull the plug on their parents. This isn’t a hate comment, this will happen.

  2. Screw this guy. I graduated with a 3.9 gpa from a solid state university with a B.S. Thought maybe I could get an entry level job making a livable 25-30k. The best I found was working 14+ hours a day earning about 1k/month (12k/year) except only temp work so I ended up making more like 8k/year. I worked hard, never complained, worked sick (no sick time for hourly), and saved money by not eating. After 4 years I finally made 21k for the first time with a retail job I could have had in high school. They said it to me themselves that I was the best they had in my reviews but they weren’t allowed to give me a bigger raise and didn’t have any better positions than $10/hour. Finaly decided I might as well go back to school and screw myself with more loans. Still have a brand new 3.9gpa and no one (internship or otherwise) wants to pay more than $10/hour while I continue my job search. Thinking it might be better to just put myself in jail and not have to worry about the basics of food and shelter.

    • Naw man, you’re clearly just a lazy, entitled whiner. It’s like you think you are entitled to food, shelter, basic healthcare and a liveable wage just because you work hard and have excellent job performance. Every day, you should get up in the morning elated that you aren’t dead of starvation. Kids these days…thinking they have a right to food and shelter just cuz they work hard…

  3. Youth are unemployed because they are in the 99% and the 1% like Heckers want to rape them for everything. So why would the 1% give the 99% anything like jobs. The elite prosper at the expense of the lower classes.

    P.S.
    Heckers is a business parasite feeding from corporations that leach off a government which prints its nourishment through the mint.

  4. The Boomer versus Millennial job issue is a symptom of a bigger causes. Both sides have some truth and biases. However, I believe the root of this has been caused by shipping jobs (along with our know-how and technology) overseas for so long. Now, we are faced with competing globally with low wage countries. The younger generation in USA will not have a better standard or living than their boomer parents, even though they may expect it. I fear for my children’s future.

    The other issue, the “leave no child behind” campaign has brainwashed us all in to believing a University degree is like a belly button, everyone should have one – and that is just about what the average one has become worth (nothing). In today’s world, your better off as a Plumber, Electrician, Carpenter or other skilled trade. My brother took this route and now he is rich, and I am an unemployed boomer with two degrees.

  5. This article is total garbage, and it’s a sad contrast to Hecker’s very insightful column on why Boomers can’t get jobs. The reason for that contrast is simple: Heckers is a Boomer, and like most Boomers, he associates with – and is most sympathetic to – the culture of his contemporaries. A big part of that culture is egotistical Boomers patronizing younger people to “roll up their sleeves” and “make something of themselves” when the Boomers never did.

    I for one would like to know just how many toilets Mr Hecker has cleaned and how much he knows about the myriad uses of rubbing alcohol.

    So that said, getting to the substance of the article. Salary requirements. $50k is too much to ask, says Heckers. Cool. No recent grad seriously looking for a job is asking $50k. They’re asking for $10/hr and failing because most firms in urban areas have hordes of kids willing to work for FREE to build their resumes. Scratch that reason off the list.

    2, 3, 4. Blaming skill or attitude on the part of workers. Garbage again. You know why so many kids with BAs/MAs can’t get jobs? BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE THAN JOBS. As in, like, 2-3x more. This is a phenomenon Heckers has no firsthand experience with (other than the smug Boomer sitting across the table spinning yarns about how hard he had it back in 1972).

    5, 6, 7, 8. All garbage too. So Mr Heckers wants someone half his age, to work twice as hard as him, for twice as many hours, for one quarter the pay? Who really has the entitlement issue here, Heckers?

    What the last bit is really about is the furious Boomer jealousy of the young (most of whom are, in fact, far less wrapped up in their “social lives” than Boomers, especially since many are avid video gamers which is an effective and economical substitute for banal Boomer socialization, e.g., expensive BBQs, golf, and communal gorging).

    Yes, people are busy. If you want people to work overtime then you need to pay them accordingly. If you expect to pay peanuts that barely meets cost of living then expect them to live for their jobs then you have no place being surprised or offended at the inevitable “are you fking serious” response. Again, I don’t need a time machine to know Heckers didn’t have to work half the hours recent grads do to make ends meet – and pay off their loans.

    Reliance on Mom & Dad. Again, get off it. Housing today consumes as much as half an urban grad’s income. Power, telecom, food, fuel, are all much, MUCH more expensive today, and jobs are more competitive and pay less in real terms. Millenials have nothing to prove to you. Mom & Dad are a means of life progression like any other and you have no place tut-tutting about recent grads reaching for any bat in arms’ reach. Even if it comes from Mom & Dad.

    So Mr Heckers, here’s my closing question. Do you find yourself following up this sort of patronizing, pedantic nonsense (and let’s be honest, it’s addressed not to the employment seeking grads, but to smug Boomers looking to justify their smugness) with sermons on “How To Motivate Your Unmotivated Employees” or “How To Cut Down On Workplace Incompetence” or “How To Build Rank-and-File Loyalty”?

    Only the desperate or inept would work under the disrespectful conditions you seem to expect – the job owns you, and you work for beans, because I’m older than you. So should we be surprised when your workforce is a bunch of sappy, self-serving individuals who will steal your lunch as soon as your back is turned? I mean, why shouldn’t they?

    You want all that and respect too? Your entitlement is disgusting. Get out.

  6. One of the sobering reasons for youth unemployment, can be found at/close to one of our borders. Immigration. The world, outside the United States, has changed. Dramatically. While the US population has only doubled from 1960 to 2000-ish, the (say it with me) GLOBAL population, has more than doubled. So, enter the teeming huddled masses of foreign-born, college-educated freshmeat, yearning to breathe the 401k. And, employers that love them. (Next Jerry!) Coupled together with mega-outsourcing and a complete and total departure from our shores by various industries sick of various aspects of doing business in the United States, and the accompanying outward migration of associated capital and profits, and you have a situation where there’s a lot of people trying to scrape along on vacuum, basically. And, after what’s left gets vacuumed out by the oil business, power company, tax structure, interest rates, slumlords, and so forth, that doesn’t leave much left over for people, young people especially with no job training or much in the way of formal education, to find any kind of opportunity. Well, there is drug sales, but that bears with it the constant risk of apprehension and incarceration. Or, The Military, which is also constantly raising the performance/acceptance bar, especially in the light of the fact that eventually, there’ll be more drawdowns, which takes more chairs out of the game. And, Con Me is a game. If you don’t know the rules, or see fit to follow them, you’re likely to lose. Can kids still make up for lost time/opportunities? Sure, but there is one philosophical hurdle to overcome, and that is the temptation to bask in the rhetoric of counterculture, which is just as anti-system as it was ‘back in the day’ in the 1960′s. Come to think of it, though, maybe there’s a shred of wisdom, a grain of truth in some of the words, given the simple fact that the regular system has been a let-down, for a lot of people. All jobs are temporary, you can be replaced with the click of a mouse, and offer not valid in all states. See store for details. Job seekers: Keep an eye peeled, ear to the ground, scent what’s on the wind, and let no grass grow. Probably don’t want any in your pocket, either, because a lot of employers are pretty stiff about the ‘drug free’ stuff. It does NOT mean they hand out free samples at the jobsite. Brave new world, 21st century, time waits for no one. What are YOU doing, today? What, indeed….

  7. I don’t know about too much social life but I do know work is work and play is play.  If you want to be able to play you must work and to work you must learn on the job.  This may mean after hours training which you don’t get paid for but which will help you in your career.  I don’t bash Gen Y or X or whatever it is.  I do know some whose expectations are way to high for some of the reasons given especially related to what educational institutes tell their prospective students.  I have heard the claims of complete this certification and you will make $150K minimum.  What they fail to tell students is that the folks making the $150K minimum with the certification is that they also have 15 years experience in their field.  Go figure.  

  8. John. Your article is very insightful, but a bit misguided.
    Speaking as an Economist who recently completed his graduate degree (Masters), at some
    point in our “soft sciences” education we begin learning skills rather than information.
    The skills I acquired during graduate school heavily outweigh the ones I
    learned as an undergrad in economics and are highly demanded in my field.
    However, your 8 answers don’t really fully describe the unemployment problems
    that the youth have in every state, especially mine which is the State of
    Oregon. A couple of my peers and I are willing to take jobs that are at the bottom
    of the barrel in our field. We’re willing to start at the bottom, be underpaid,
    and probably a little mistreated for a few years. However, in the midst of our
    desperation, these jobs simply don’t exist. Most job postings in the field of
    economics currently are mid-career level or higher and require at least 5 years
    of experience. Out of the few interviews I’ve had, I’ve been told that there
    are up to 5 times as many applicants for the job than has been in the recent
    past. Youth unemployment in Oregon is very scary, I think higher than 25%.
    Survival is a serious problem for some of us. We can stop applying until we get
    work or some of us will be on the street. So don’t think that all of us
    graduates are spoiled rotten by our parents and want to be treated “super
    special” in order to refuse handouts from our parents.

     

    • Yah, but why wouldn’t you research what is in demand before going to school for a job that is apparently in no need of new applicants?

      • Because hindsight isn’t 20-20. If you picked your graduate program in 2007 and the entry-level jobs were gone in 2009…

        Also, Shae said that they are looking for positions at the bottom of the barrel; not just perfect-fitting positions. It’s almost like having a degree (or two) makes you unqualified for something that high school and college dropouts were doing in 2005.

      • lmao…im sorry but your comment…in the time it takes to get said degree alot will change and simply put…when people who are scoring top grades in their fields are working at walmart or gas stations or just straight up unemployed with those kind of marks…then it doesn’t matter if you researched or not…big business has a choke hold on the economy and until corporate personhood has been gotten rid of as well as re-regulating the banking industry, nothing is going to get better…

    • Wrong again. The job YOU want isn’t available… you believe since you have a graduate degree that you deserve more. The only thing you deserve is a reality check kid… take what you can get and make the most of it. Stop being a punk, roll your sleeves up, and get to WORK son.

      So your next step in life is to give up, move back in with your parents, and then vote Democratic in the hopes that the government will forgive your school debt and provide unemployment for you so you can sit around and weep and whine about how no jobs are available.

      Get over YOURSELF… YOU’RE misguided.

      • I have 2 bachelors and a masters and cant get a job at mcdonalds. you really have no perspective, boy. sleeves are rolled up… ready to work, but no ones hiring. to then have to listen to jokes like you make this about us vs. them politics. get a clue, boy.

      • Robert, I would beat the life out of you if you ever said that to me in person. I promise that to any inflated egotistic person that dehumanizes people in their time of hardships.

  9. And the fact is, there are too many jobseekers in the market and very less jobs, and in some countires, like the one I live in, influential candiates get preference, and attention.. when i tried but failed to even get calls from any places I applied that were related to my study field (Accounting), i started applying for other areas such as Call Center, Sales, etc.. but the interviewers are hardly interested in viewing my resume (for a walk-in interview) because you are over- qualified for the job (a Bachelor’s degree with no experience), your intention is short-term and it would not be beneficial. in fact, the interviewer is hardly interested in hearing my side because he is satisfied with his own analysis and is looking for an ending to the interview.

    When i asked another candidate, who had experience (when the job post clearly mentioned “looking for fresh graduates”) he said he was responded favorably because he had a four year experience in the same industry.

  10. it’s true.. i’m a gen Y, and  I have recieved such behavior from employers and it’s terrible.. yes, we like to be appreciated for doing our work, but the fact is, we want to actually be appreciated to know that the work done is correct and we can continue to do so in future without causing some blunder.. my employers were, honestly speaking, a little jealous and frustrated in their behavior and this article actually has the guts to say somethings right.. mostly in favor of the employers but true nonetheless. this is how the employers percieve us and when your in Rome, you have to do what the romans do..

  11. Excellent article!  I am from Gen Y and I worked 5 years cleaning hotel rooms (with a masters in Chemistry) until something entry level opened up. After 3 years entry level, I got a promotion and I’m doing ok now. But, it took 7 years of back breaking work. My cousin just graduated (with a BS in history) and has only been  applying for 100k + jobs. I suggested security and even janitor work that paid 25k and he turned up his nose at it. He told me, “I can’t do that kind of work.”

    He is still unemployed.

    Honestly, I feel many young graduates (not all) need to be much more realistic.

    • Many do, I agree.

      One suggestion to help your cousin: find a way to cut off the financial support he’s receiving from whoever is providing it. As a fellow recent college graduate and “Millenial,” I know he’d appreciate a lesson in how feeble his grip on a “normal” lifestyle is when he loses his enablers and is forced to lower his expectations in order to survive.

      Trust me, he’s being done a major disservice and will thank you 10 years in the future when he can stand on his own two feet. He’ll need to as the weight of the federal debt and the portfolio of similar accomplishments his parents and grandparents ensured our generation will inherit.

  12. unemployed ivy league grad

    You forgot reason #9:

    There are very few available jobs.

    There are far more job-seekers than there are jobs.  Someone will end up unemployed, and that someone will be the person with little to no experience on the market.

    I know that you think you went through something similar in the 70s, but you didn’t.  Things are much harder now than they were when you were a kid.  When adjusted for inflation, ages are lower, the cost of living is higher, and there is very little full-time work available.  Many paying jobs are eliminated or shipped overseas.

    Your generation pretty much ruined America.  You took the most prosperous era in centuries and pissed it down your legs, then you stand over us blaming us for the mess you’ve made.

    When you people finally die, the healing can begin.

    • Agreed.

      The baby boomers had a great idea for the world they wanted for their children… they just forgot to make a doorway for us to get in through.

  13. I think perseverance is probably the most important element of any job search. You can have no(that’s: NO) education whatsoever, but if you exercise a little of the old due diligence, bring some motivation and the professional attitude with you to the interview, you might find that people will still consider you for at least an entry-level position. I think the real question people need to ask themselves is, “Do I want a job, honestly”? If that answer is not an authoritative ‘yes’, then you need to go spend some ‘happy time’ in the personal happy place of deep thought, and ponder on that before you bother making someone else have to evaluate your employment application paperwork.   They say life is like landing an airplane, it’s all about the approach.(Now, let’s see your departure)

  14. This article only focuses on unemployment among the college educated. You don’t cite any sources for your reasons or statistics, but if you do some research, unemployment is a bigger problem among youth without a college education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ”
    The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in school was 33.4 percent.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, 9.3% of college graduates under age 25 are unemployed. I’m not sure where you are getting your 25% number, because the EPI says that the number of 16-24 year olds unemployed is 18.4% in 2010. The rate of general unemployment in the US is 9.6%.

    Conflating age with lazy college graduates doesn’t quite work. Obviously unemployment among youth is a bigger problem among those with only a high school diploma. And given that the unemployment rate among recent college graduates is lower than that of the general population, I’m really looking forward to your article on high unemployment among Gen Y and Baby Boomers. I’m sure it has nothing to do with larger systemic influences of a poor economy, but rather the individual personality flaws of those generations as well.

    Again, I’d love to hear your sources. (Or are these just opinions?) I don’t know anyone who has turned a job because “I’d rather hang out with my friends.” Is this personal experience of yours? Unemployment has gotten significantly worse in the last few years, and I sincerely doubt it is because large numbers of college graduates just decided they were too good to work. If you have any facts to back up your claims, I’d love to hear them. Though, I don’t think “my coworker’s daughter’s friend” is a legitimate scientific source.

    • I am an employer and as a part of my job I am doing recruiting for both office and sales positions. I am not saying that all Gen Y are self-absorbed and lazy but frankly I have given up on wasting my time interviewing them.

      To answer to you when you wondered if someone refused the job because they prefer to ‘hang out with their friends’ happened to me many, many times. I get young graduates coming for an interview for an entry level marketing and of course entry level pay. I tell them this over the phone interview part and I also tell them the location (which is located close to the subway station), but I get ‘I want to save money for the house so I live with my parents, and if I take this job it will take too much of my time’ ??? When asked what money if they are unemployed they just stare. Then a had a few that started telling me how great they are, how they have life going on for them, and how they expect that the work will wrap around their schedule, e.g. girl said she can come to work (as if she is doing me a favour) but she will tell me on hour notice if her mom can give her a lift otherwise she will not come; the other one said she will work but if someone wants her interior design service (she is not a graduate, just a wannabe) she has to leave immediately, or ‘this is too much work, I want something simple’. For a few that slip though the interview and got positions, none worked out: they were late, texting, spending time on social media and complaining that they are not appreciating, where they did not understand that they should have been fired long time ago and by still keeping a job was a kind of effort on our end, however if they need to make 3 phone calls in a day and to sort 50 applications alphabetically and at the end of a day only one phone call is done and they give you a puzzled look and telling you the task was ‘too difficult’ (that is from a Master in Economics) then yeah, have fun in unemployment line.

      I think Gen Y needs to stay with their parents and enjoy their greatness. I will hire any immigrant with willingness to work hard and grow over Harvard phd who is telling me what he needs to do in his job. (BTW I have a phd as well).

      I am sure that they are good young people with good working habits but I have never seen such large number of unrealistic, unskilled over over-expecting spoiled bunch. I cannot imagine a workplace with such individuals. I am looking forward to a day when gen y comes up with a system that pays the bills while only having fun and not working.

      • And don’t get me started on Gen-Y’s run-on sentences! It’s like they don’t know how to use proper punctuation and proofread! Keep them out of the workplace until they learn how to effectively communicate!

      • I am guessing you work for a temp-to-hire firm? Well, I’m a Y’er and I don’t talk to you guys either, because you’re a waste of my time too. Whenever I get a call from a temp-to-hire firm I just hang up.

        Here’s why:
        First, temp-to-hire firms take a big chunk of my paycheck for the supposed service of finding me a job, in an employment market in which there are more people than jobs. This doesn’t improve the employment situation, it’s just another way of forcing take-home wages even further down. The real funny part is that these same people b—- about taxes when in reality it’s just the same thing, a cut out of my income.

        Second, temp-to-hire firms are more interested in getting personal information on as many applicants as possible rather than getting any or all of them jobs. To this end they will waste your time with surveys, interviews, lead-ons about supposedly specific jobs (they are also serial and shameless liars), and, of course, make you sit and wait 20 minutes before the interview is to begin, just to show you how little they respect you. At the end of the day, they got your information so they can sell it, and you’re no closer to having a job.

        Third, companies that use temp-to-hire firms are invariably sh—-. Yes, many of them are big companies; bigger doesn’t mean better-run, it just means they are too big to fail. If a company feels it can’t or shouldn’t filter its own incoming employees, the implication is that they don’t really care about doing it right, they just want the cheapest and most controllable workers they can find. If a manager doesn’t want to review applications himself, what does that say about his managing skill?

        Fourth, as pointed out by others, temp-to-hire firms go for the worst types. The managers at temp-to-hire firms are usually former prostitutes who got their cushy jobs by giving Boomers BJs at the golf course or company party and continue to play on their core skills of being skilled liars and manipulators into the HR field. Usually they look for young women who are willing to be whores or idiots who will question nothing.

        Fifth, let’s talk about the real reason you prefer immigrants. You want someone who will put up with anything, any wages, any conditions, any lack of respect. What you really want is someone who is fixed firmly in the third-world mentality. You bitterly resent the idea that people in this country should actually live better than third-worlders and have the same expectations for their lives that you do for your own.

        You say you want people who are willing to work, but what you really mean is, you want slaves.

  15. You know who gets the proverbial shaft in all of this? Us GenXers, that’s who. Smooshed right between the tug of war between greedy boomers and self-centered millennials. Oh joy.

    • how do you guys get the shaft exactly? I mean more so than us millennials or anyone else not saying you don’t have any problems. I’m 25 and have a lot of friends around 35 though and they are sympathetic to me but have been at their jobs for ten+ years and just do not understand whats going on now. they aren’t mean or condescending they just don’t get it cause they graduated at a time when there were jobs to be had, and decent ones at that! so yeah i just don’t see how you get the shaft any more than anyone else. i get upset i wasn’t born ten years earlier then this wouldn’t be my problem. 

      • It’s like we’re running a race. But some people got to start 5-7 hours earlier. Now that it’s our turn to start running, (Gen Y) it’s started raining very badly. We’ve got people calling us slow.

  16. I think the problem starts with the lack of mutual respect. Articles like this one certainly don’t help the cause — but they do get people incensed enough to spew vitriol.

    The lack of mutual respect keeps us unemployed or at the bottom of the pile much longer than Gen-Y should be. Certainly we don’t speak of Gen-Xers as drug-addled Man-bashing rocker rejects…though if you watch Celebrity Rehab, that seems to be all there is. Nor Baby Boomers as peace-loving flower-power hippie doofuses (or, for that matter, assume they got too much exposure to Agent Orange to be anything but senile), so I’m not certain why it’s considered stylish and pithy to bash Gen-Y with some of the ridiculous, rehashed, and tired cliches you’ve mentioned above. I hear this is a common thing – older generations bashing on the younger ones, but it seems particularly vogue now (though you hear very little about Gen-Z).

    I totally disagree with the premise that “dues must be paid” to work for The Man; that may have been true when there was something to work towards. A retirement, perhaps. Meaningful work, autonomy. Those things are largely absent. It’s illogical to pay dues in perpetuity with no clear return on investment.

    There’s going to be a Grey Ceiling and it’s not going to go away until the boomers die at their desks (because they certainly aren’t able to retire). And when the meagerly-sized Gen-X is too overworked to care what demands we want to make, I think the game may change in our favor. That’s when real modifications in work/life balance will be made.

    Without significant shifts in the way the workplace operates, the trend will continue that we’re going to do things that make you bitter. We don’t care if it’s always the way it’s been done. Those 30-year-old “kids” you mention are perfectly content to play Mario Kart in the basement allowing you to work yourselves to death while they wait for that shift to come.

    In the meantime, for the rest of us not content with that kind of lifestyle, it’s much more rewarding to pay your own dues to yourself – by starting your own business. I’ve done this and I’ve had less stress in my life – financially and professionally – because I’m driven to succeed for myself and on my own terms. I’ve done this with work practices that my former employers would have considered insane and surely fireable offenses, but with results that make them envious.

    I removed myself from the nonsense of the current workplace reality. I substituted my own and am thriving.

    Having graduated from college with a dual degree and landed four straight $50k+ jobs in the middle of the down-turn, I don’t think your premise is entirely correct that we have unrealistic salary expectations. We want to work smart. Part of that is doing salary research before we jump into a working relationship. If you’re not up to par, you’d better be flexible on almost everything else. This is almost doubly true in terms of work-life balance, benefits, vacation time, and reporting structure.

    I was irritated by what I saw in the workplace. So much wasted time, so little reason or ability to be proud of the work you were doing. A cog is just a cog; it spins in place until it breaks and gets replaced. It never becomes anything else, it never gets a chance to take initiative.

    That’s the point of failure that I’ve seen most often: initiative is not seen as initiative, but young-buck rebellion or entitlement or unrealistic expectations. The unfortunate attitude from the other side is less than thrilling: it’s like we don’t have anything to add or contribute to the conversation.

    If you want to connect positively to a Gen-Y, help them plan out the course. Give us a clear reason to bend over backwards for you, and we will. Show us the path from paying dues to autonomy, meaningful work, and beyond. It’s not enough to say, “this is the way things have always been done” to a generation that has been, from birth, conditioned to build things better than they were before and chart our own courses.

    Here’s something that’s *really* sobering: Your time is running out faster than ours. Seems like you might want to blink sooner than we will. No reason we can’t work together except for mutual stubbornness.

  17. It’s sad, but the points you bring up are often true. One point you neglect to add, however, is that the job market is incredibly competitive. Entry-level positions expect 3-5 years experience because companies know there are plenty of experienced people out of work. Shoot, it’s not uncommon for experienced people to take on internships. New grads need to stand out in the masses and take the opportunities that come their way (because there are a whole lot less).

  18. To me this really hits home. Majority of my roles I recruit for are entry level positions. I see many resumes that show they graduated a year ago, but still haven’t found a full time job. I always ask them why they haven’t found a position to see their reaction. I mostly hear the economy. Yes indeed sometimes it is the economy in certain areas, but not in Pittsburgh. There are tons of entry level jobs in Pittsburgh. I have several companies network with me to send candidates their way if their not a fit for my jobs or the candidate is not interested etc… After doing a complete phone interview and really getting to know them I know why they haven’t had a full time job and it isn’t the economy. This week I have encountered at least one candidate from each bullet above. Ex: Evil Parents/unrealistic salary expectations…I had a candidate yesterday disclose that he hasn’t been working very hard to find a job because he lives at home and his parents pay for everything. But yet he wants to find the right opportunity?? If he keeps on the unemployment track because he think he should make 70k out of the bag and won’t accept that he needs experience. I can guarantee there are plenty of other recent college graduates that want to work and I will fill the job with candidates that want to get a jump start on their career. It’s sad because he probably has a lot of potential, but managers don’t want to hire someone that thinks everything is going to be handed to them. Sometimes you can’t sugar coat it and that’s why I think this is a great article! To note: There are a lot of great recent college graduates and I happy to speak to them about opportunities that we have with our company and get them hired of course! I am the youngest/least experienced person on my team by a good mile. Prior to this job…I worked two jobs to gain experience and pay my bills, took initiative, taught more senior peers how to use social media and technology, joined projects, and all with a positive attitude. I believe this is why I was hired and why I am being looked at for a promotion. For those of you that are doing everything to leverage your career…keep it up because hard work and a positive attitude does pay off!

    • My friends here in Denver tell the same story. There are plenty of entry-level jobs. At my company, we offer a decent (but not exorbitant) salary, full benefits (including fully paid health, dental and vision insurance), stock after one year, and STILL aren’t overrun with applications, though we’ve advertised through Craigslist, LinkedIn, and at the colleges and universities. I hear the same thing over and over. Don’t want to work for $25K – $35K. Don’t want to work evenings. Don’t want to work more than 35 – 40 hours a week. Want to negotiate everything to my favor and none to yours, etc., etc.

      Having said that….I have talked with some truly wonderful Millennials. My tech guy is the absolute best. (He reminds me of myself at his age with his drive and customer service attitude.) We’re about to hire a career coach who seems fantastic (and is a Millennial).

      But we also had someone we interviewed today who wouldn’t stop arguing long enough to get through the interview. We had one who wouldn’t work a required evening (we don’t start work ’till about noon each day) because she had a pole dancing class and yoga. We had one who would only work out of our office in Cherry Creek, and not our home because our home was “too far to drive” (it is 15 minutes from the office, and we do at least half of our work out of our home office)….and so on.

      Those Millennials who have the attitude of the ones I’ve had the privilege to work with will go far. Those who have the entitlement attitude will probably NOT get very far in life. If that’s OK with them, fine. But I worry about what will happen to them when their parents die. As, sadly, they will.

      • nothing wrong with that. Look. I cannot work evenings. I’m a graduate school. I can work from mornings until 5pm.. that’s fine. If a company doesn’t have the shift you are looking for then it’s perfectly fine to push for negotiations until you get turned down.. sorry but I do value my education and I’ll get the work experience regardless, but then again I’m in a strong position and have tons of international experience. something that most in my generation are lacking but are quickly building up because the job market in america is ridiculously obtuse.

    • My friends here in Denver tell the same story. There are plenty of entry-level jobs. At my company, we offer a decent (but not exorbitant) salary, full benefits (including fully paid health, dental and vision insurance), stock after one year, and STILL aren’t overrun with applications, though we’ve advertised through Craigslist, LinkedIn, and at the colleges and universities. I hear the same thing over and over. Don’t want to work for $25K – $35K. Don’t want to work evenings. Don’t want to work more than 35 – 40 hours a week. Want to negotiate everything to my favor and none to yours, etc., etc.

      Having said that….I have talked with some truly wonderful Millennials. My tech guy is the absolute best. (He reminds me of myself at his age with his drive and customer service attitude.) We’re about to hire a career coach who seems fantastic (and is a Millennial).

      But we also had someone we interviewed today who wouldn’t stop arguing long enough to get through the interview. We had one who wouldn’t work a required evening (we don’t start work ’till about noon each day) because she had a pole dancing class and yoga. We had one who would only work out of our office in Cherry Creek, and not our home because our home was “too far to drive” (it is 15 minutes from the office, and we do at least half of our work out of our home office)….and so on.

      Those Millennials who have the attitude of the ones I’ve had the privilege to work with will go far. Those who have the entitlement attitude will probably NOT get very far in life. If that’s OK with them, fine. But I worry about what will happen to them when their parents die. As, sadly, they will.

      • I’m not entirely convinced you know what the word “entitlement” means. It seems like your thoughts are convoluted by far right political talking points, that really have no basis in the real world. For instance, you seem to be suggesting that we destined for destitute because we have the audacity to want a job.

      • … I know you in person John. I can’t believe you said that. You”re a real a–, I’ve sent you my resume before . Do you know I have a job that I worked 55 hours a week on there for 5 years while I was in high school and DU, for peanuts? When I managed to find an entry level job I started at $8/hr (less than I was making at the pawnshop) filling out tax returns and worked my way up to $40k after 2 years with no expectations along the way. Do you even know how hard it was to get that job and how long I had to wait to find an entry level opportunity? 2 years, that’s 2 years of my life spent applying and waiting to hear back for anyone willing to employ me! Now I’m looking again because my boss is actually set to retire I can guess you would be a waste of time to send my resume to.

        Your parents would be ashamed of your behavior. Expect for me to spit in your face the next time I see you at a charity event. Maybe people like you need to spend a little less time b—-ing about my generation and a little more time opening up doors for us so that we don’t end up stung out for cash and mugging you on the streets. Whatever though, you reap what you sow, as the saying goes.

        You know what the real problem is your generation had it too easy, maybe if you had had hard times you would have learned a little empathy.

  19. Why, internet, why?

    Another article by a Boomer complaining about Gen Y? How novel.

    Boomers have taught Gen Y some valuable lessons about work, but not the ones you’re thinking. Gen Y has seen their parents submit to a belief that work, above all else, is the most important thing there is in life. To what end? Here’s a quote from one of the many discussions on the same topic, which says it better and in a more clever way that I ever could:

    “The halcyon days of the United States were in the 1950′s and 1960′s and it was during this period that the work ethic handed to us was inked. Given the world we live in today it seems hopelessly outdated. Job security today is an illusion. Gone are pensions and dwindling are decent benefits packages. Fewer and fewer companys are matching for 401ks, and many of the 401ks offered are limited to small baskets of tax and fee inefficient mutual funds. In my work experience, health care has been either shitty or non-existant (and this is coming from someone making a high income).

    Adding to that, our generation is more aware than ever of the health related consequences of endless work. Gen Y are the benefactors of new research, and study after study demonstrate that my health suffers from sitting in a cubicle. That working more than 55 hours a week (which I do regularly) lowers cognitive ability, could cause dementia, and is bad for my heart. Meanwhile, the cubicles we work in are actually shrinking, and in this context we find that a bad job is just as bad as no job at all in terms of mental health.

    In that context, US workers are putting in MORE hours than ever before (perhaps exacerbated by the recession).

    Looking to Europe – countries like France, Germany and the Scandanavian countries, we see stable flourishing democracies with more social benefits and fewer working hours. These countries that work less harbor people that are happier and healthier. In light of this, many of us see that the American type-A “work, work, work / get the job done / team spirit!” ideology that gets trotted out is bogus. What, then am I working towards? A house I can’t afford to fill with things I don’t need? We already know that buying things won’t make us happy. So what is the end game, exactly?

    It can be hard to keep up appearances and be a “team player” when work output booms while wages practically stagnate. Trickle down doesn’t work and more money is going to the top while people at the bottom or in the middle do progressively worse. The income disparity in this country has done a good job of breaking me out of the American Pathology that “I too can be rich!” Especially since if you were lucky enough to start work during the recent recession you will be working just as many hours for 10 percent less on average income after 15 years of work.

    So while I don’t think todays youth are particularly lazy, I do think the prospects they face are less rosy than they were before. The promises made to incentivize us are ringing hollow.”

    Given this context, it seems that it’s you who feel entitled: to have young people work hard for you for little to no pay, to sacrifice their time and energy to an untenable model which they have already seen played out, via their parents, to its undesirable end.

    The worst part is, you’re maligning the people with privileges that help them stay afloat, whose families can support them and send them to college and take them in again. How do you feel about the majority of people, who don’t have access such luxuries? The people who would LOVE to bust their humps with any job they can scratch together, just to survive?

    For what it’s worth, Socrates complained about the same thing 2500 years ago:

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

    Instead of complaining like every generation does about its youth, why not write an article about the incredible perseverance of young people today, people who are trying to find jobs in a system that has none to offer, that can’t keep up with today’s technology, or that can’t give you pensions, healthcare, 401k matching, wage increases or job security?

    • Well said. Let’s hope this generation learns from their experience and changes the system. I’ve lost all faith in mine.

    • Look. Here’s the reality. Unemployment among youth is 25% plus. You can gripe all you want to about lousy wages and benefits. I agree. Your generation got the short end of the stick. So did I when I graduated in 1977. Waaah. Your generation STILL needs to get out there and work and get experience, so you’d better get off of your high horse and stop griping and stop being resentful and entitled and get some experience. MANY of your generation are doing just that. But the mama’s boys and daddy’s little girls who JUST let their parents support them are going to have a very hard time finding work in the future. There is nothing wrong with parents HELPING their kids to stay afloat. But supporting them full-time so they can play video games, hang with their friends and live like billionaires on their parents is just plain wrong….on the parents’ part. It isn’t your generation’s fault. I blame my generation for coddling you, telling you that you “just had to be you” to be a star, and making you think that every opinion you had was a gift from the gods. But now it is time to grow up, get any job you can so that you have work experience, and stop thinking you’re entitled to ANYTHING, because you’re not. No one is.

      As for those of us who are employers. Fine. We won’t hire you. There are plenty of unemployed 30-somethings, 40-somethings, 50-somethings and so on who WILL work hard and WON’T try to bust our chops with unreasonable demands. There are ALSO a great many Millennials (Gen Y or Gen WHY?) who WILL bust their butts and who will get the job done if you won’t. So….enjoy long term unemployment. I hope that the parents of the kids who think as you do have a really good estate to leave their kids. Because they’re going to have a very hard time finding work in the future.

      And let’s be clear. I have nothing against Millennials. My tech guy is a Millennial and is the best tech guy I’ve ever used. I’m about to hire a Millennial as a career coach. My beef is with the MINORITY of Millennials who, like you, seem to feel entitled and resentful and want to have things THEIR way in a world that has been around for a long time before them….without paying their dues. Pay your dues. That means hard work now. Or, be realistic and understand that you probably WON’T be hired in the future. Plenty of your peers are out there unemployed and looking.

      • What in my post indicates that I’m one of the Millennials you referred to (the lazy ones) and not one of the ones I referred to (busting my hump)? I’ll give you three guesses as to which one…and the hint is that you get the same number of guesses as the part time and freelance jobs I currently hold in the field I am making my career in.

        Being one of the hump-busters and not knowing a single person coasting on their parents as you suggest is so common a practice, is what makes articles like yours so unbelievably frustrating.

      • What’s with the “just” live at home with mommy and daddy bias? Would you hire someone who was out on the streets homeless? Because THAT’S the alternative, buddy. Graduate from college into homelessness because your own family won’t take you back if you can’t pay them RENT. Then try to get a job from the streets, living in your 20-year-old car or a womens’ shelter. Take that ultra-picky-about-who-we-hire attitude and go suck it.

        • Yeah, it makes no sense to make fun of someone for living at home. There must be a bunch of landlords who are upset that young people aren’t renting from them or something. It’s financially responsible to live at home.

      • my tech guys a millenial therefore i don’t hate them

        thats like saying i’m not racist i have 1 black friend…and i notice the only time you reply is when you can get on your soapbox and complain about people’s lack of effort

        Im 27 you stupid man child. In the last 18 months I haven’t had a gap in searching for a job, and roughly every 3 weeks or so in those 18 months I’ve had interviews. I’m curious john, how about instead of posting your rantings…lets see some numbers…post what your company makes a year, what you make a year, etc. Let’s see rather then your blow hard opinion, some factual information that we can verify via an outside source other then your word. That would make me more inclined to take you seriously, otherwise, your just a loud mouth telling people who are almost at the point of needing to panhandle not because they are not trying to get a job, but because of your over expectations, even at entry level. In a recession it takes a collective effort, meaning you need to do your part as well. Telling people “tough s— if you don’t want to do the work and get paid what i think you should get paid” you’ve been deregulated and if this happened in my country, you would either be fined up to your neck or be in jail right now (as per your stance on refusing to hire people with tattoo’s or mental disablities in other articles) you discriminate with the worst of them and hide behind “corporate rights” a corporation has no “human” rights, its not a person, its a collection of people. So sick of people like you hiding behind Bush era f— ups.

    • Look. Here’s the reality. Unemployment among youth is 25% plus. You can gripe all you want to about lousy wages and benefits. I agree. Your generation got the short end of the stick. So did I when I graduated in 1977. Waaah. Your generation STILL needs to get out there and work and get experience, so you’d better get off of your high horse and stop griping and stop being resentful and entitled and get some experience. MANY of your generation are doing just that. But the mama’s boys and daddy’s little girls who JUST let their parents support them are going to have a very hard time finding work in the future. There is nothing wrong with parents HELPING their kids to stay afloat. But supporting them full-time so they can play video games, hang with their friends and live like billionaires on their parents is just plain wrong….on the parents’ part. It isn’t your generation’s fault. I blame my generation for coddling you, telling you that you “just had to be you” to be a star, and making you think that every opinion you had was a gift from the gods. But now it is time to grow up, get any job you can so that you have work experience, and stop thinking you’re entitled to ANYTHING, because you’re not. No one is.

      As for those of us who are employers. Fine. We won’t hire you. There are plenty of unemployed 30-somethings, 40-somethings, 50-somethings and so on who WILL work hard and WON’T try to bust our chops with unreasonable demands. There are ALSO a great many Millennials (Gen Y or Gen WHY?) who WILL bust their butts and who will get the job done if you won’t. So….enjoy long term unemployment. I hope that the parents of the kids who think as you do have a really good estate to leave their kids. Because they’re going to have a very hard time finding work in the future.

      And let’s be clear. I have nothing against Millennials. My tech guy is a Millennial and is the best tech guy I’ve ever used. I’m about to hire a Millennial as a career coach. My beef is with the MINORITY of Millennials who, like you, seem to feel entitled and resentful and want to have things THEIR way in a world that has been around for a long time before them….without paying their dues. Pay your dues. That means hard work now. Or, be realistic and understand that you probably WON’T be hired in the future. Plenty of your peers are out there unemployed and looking.

      • How do you not see that your attitude, is shared by your generation and is part of why 20 somethings cannot find a job. Your generation institutionalized stigma into our political and economic system, you all think you can judge people based on what you hear in the news about a group they may belong too.

        :Let me give you a heads up, the news is almost always wrong IN EVERY COUNTRY ON EARTH. CNN for instance has cults and cult leaders on frequently pitching their cults (ie Stefan Molyneyux, Occupy). I would question everything they say since their editor is obviously an older entitled brat that doesn’t do his job and will eat any story or push any person put on RT without so much as a fact check. These are the people telling you my generation is lazy, oh and not to mention the myth originated on the channel RT which is owned outright by Putin. Can anyone guess that he might have a secondary motivation in trying to keep immigration into Russia higher than the US as it has been since the last market crash?

        Seriously I can’t wait for your generation to die off. You have your heads so far up your a– but have not any common intelligence nor the skills necessary to be critical of any information, most of you leap from sectarian belief to sectarian belief your entire lives and expect everyone around you to believe the same way.

        BTW I’ve worked on the dark side of the career stream too. I know a lot of prostitutes with no qualifications that took a secretarial job by using their oral skills. It’s not my generation that’s doing this.

        Here’s a little advice grow up, you’re probably like 50, grow the hell up already.

      • “Look. Here’s the reality. Unemployment among youth is 25% plus. You can gripe all you want to about lousy wages and benefits. I agree. Your generation got the short end of the stick.”

        But now you’re going to profit at our expense and THEN tell us about how it’s all our fault. Right.

        ” So did I when I graduated in 1977. Waaah. Your generation STILL needs to get out there and work and get experience, so you’d better get off of your high horse and stop griping and stop being resentful and entitled and get some experience.”

        No, you fking didn’t. The labor market now is far worse than then. “Waaah” is YOUR OWN sense of resentful entitlement speaking. You think you are entitled to what you want, and screw everyone else.

        “But the mama’s boys and daddy’s little girls who JUST let their parents support them are going to have a very hard time finding work in the future.”

        Explain to me how relying on your circle of buddies and corporate sponsors is somehow more better than relying on your own family? Is it because you resent the idea that people should actually be bound to each other by something other than self-interest?

        “As for those of us who are employers. Fine. We won’t hire you.”

        You don’t want hires, you want slaves who will be elated to take home your half-eaten leftovers at the end of the day.

        “There are plenty of unemployed 30-somethings, 40-somethings, 50-somethings and so on who WILL work hard and WON’T try to bust our chops with unreasonable demands.”

        No, because they’re old and tired, don’t have computer/internet skills, and don’t know how to work hard because they grew up in easier times. And weren’t you just writing a bunch of columns about age discrimination? GG

        “And let’s be clear. I have nothing against Millennials. My tech guy is a Millennial and is the best tech guy I’ve ever used. I’m about to hire a Millennial as a career coach.”

        ‘Used’. Interesting choice of words. And this career coach… I am guessing he hangs on your every word and thinks your droppings smell like Cinnabon?

        Your initial paragraph made your feelings towards Millienials pretty clear. You resent them because they remind you of your own privilege and the limits of your vision. You resent them because they remind you of your own entitlement. You won’t respect them, so they don’t respect you, so you prefer to hate them rather than challenge your own attitude.

      • Just finished reading your Boomers article, and to be completely honest I feel better about the whole thing knowing that you are, as you say, an equal opportunity chop-buster. There really is a huge anti-Millennial pile-on happening lately, and while I can’t help but feel that most of those issues can be blamed on the Boomers as well, it’s nice to know that there is at least some balance on the part of those doing the piling-on. (I will add though, it’s rare.)

      • Except that the Boomer article is premised on Boomers deserving jobs and the Millienial article is premised on how they don’t. The Boomer article makes apologias for even your admission that they can’t or won’t work by arguing it doesn’t matter, and treats the Boomer propensity for litigation as merely a stigma and not a reason to stay well away from these people.

    • I think the point of the article is more that expectations are set by those who are making their livelihood off students etc.  We all did the grunt work and took the low pay and some stayed at that level while others decided to move on with more education and or certifications that bolstered their career.  No one starts at the top and only those who don’t continue to learn and expand their knowledge base typically stay at the bottom.  Some rise to the top only to find the rug pulled from under them but start over.  Does that mean you should work long hours and trust your company to look out for you.  No way!  You are correct there is no reason to give so much of your time to a company who will downsize you without a thought given to your past contributions.  You should work to get the most you can at the lowest cost to yourself which includes your time.

      Gone are the pensions and benefits that would keep a person at a company long term.  

    • So, let me get this straight.  America should pattern itself after Europe where the workplace is concerned which means more time off, higher wages, and less hours.  This is the “something for nothing” attitude that is bringing our society to destruction.  Why shouldn’t an employer expect your best if he is paying you a salary?  You work 55 hours a week.  So?  You have a job that 6 million Americans would love to have.  You say your mental health is at risk because of the long hours.  I wonder what our ancestors did about mental health issues when they had to work from dawn to dusk to make a living and provide for their families.  Whine or do it?  My husband in years passed worked two jobs per day to provide for us, and not once did he have “mental problems” because of his long hours, nor did he ever complain.  He is blessed for his hard work with three sons with the same work ethics.  As far as the youth today is concerned, we are seeing the perfect example of their job worthiness on our television every night on the news.  Their parents should be so proud.

      • In Germany, you work short hours, but when you are at work, you are quite literally at work. I have worked in America, Germany, Japan, and Turkey. Germany and Japan highly productive. Japan overworks their people, but provides great employee benefits. Germany provides short work hrs, great benefits. employees are highly highly and I mean HIGHLY productive. US employees are highly productive, work long hrs, but a lot of those hrs are really unneeded and are only taken because employers underpay their employees. Now medium sized to small companies may not be able to afford nice packages to their employees, but a multinational corporation is struggling? my ass, they’re off paying some PMC to wipe out a village in Africa or south american right now. to start exploiting new markets. I’m sorry to say, but the game has changed, and it is about control now more than ever. This economy is the new norm considering the conditions that exist. Considering you have a lot of corporations making record profits, but somehow can’t provide a job at home… This is very much different. Atleast during the first great depression the economy literally stopped. Meaning very little economic activity. This great depression the economy merely tiered itself and very few Americans are able to participate in the first tier as they use to. Though being black myself, I have more opportunities than my grandparents did. With that being said, I take my experience and education overseas Because other countries sure as hell aren’t complaining about us young kids being entitled. They’re out making $$$$ and will reward you according to your productivity. If you’re lazy they frown upon it, but rarely are people lazy.

      • “So, let me get this straight. America should pattern itself after Europe where the workplace is concerned which means more time off, higher wages, and less hours. This is the ”something for nothing” attitude that is bringing our society to destruction. ”

        Europe has a trade surplus, lower crime, and less public and private debt. Whatever it is they’re doing, it’s working better than what we have. What is REALLY driving our society to destruction is YOUR entitled attitude.

        “Why shouldn’t an employer expect your best if he is paying you a salary? You work 55 hours a week. So?”
        And why should I not expect the best from my employer? 55 hours a week? “So?” I guess it’s easy to say that if it’s someone else’s time, right?AGAIN: YOU DON’T WANT WORKERS, YOU WANT SLAVES.

        “You have a job that 6 million Americans would love to have.”
        No, I have a source of income. Again, you don’t want workers, you want slaves, people who are totally under your thumb and will be elated to take home your half-eaten leftovers.

        “I wonder what our ancestors did about mental health issues when they had to work from dawn to dusk to make a living and provide for their families. Whine or do it? My husband in years passed worked two jobs per day to provide for us, and not once did he have “mental problems” because of his long hours, nor did he ever complain.”

        There’s an interesting disjunction here. You first talk about “ancestors” then talk about your ex-husband (who is dead, how about that?). Why does your initial premise of removing your views from your personal experience somehow lead me to believe your entire story is a lie?

        “He is blessed for his hard work with three sons with the same work ethics. ”

        You cannot raise three kids on current incomes. You are a fraud. Period.

    • While I do agree that these inequalities need to be fixed, many youth use that mindset as an excuse to slack off in life.

      The fact is people need to support themselves by working in our society or leave it.

      *I am 23 and have been constantly employed since get my work permit at age 15. Have moved/lived in 4 different cities since I was 18 – It’s not hard to find a great job if you actually look and are motivated to work.

      • Interesting how you actually bothered to upload a professionally taken photo just to pitch for Heckers.

        You begin by saying there are “inequalities”…but we shouldn’t slack off. So, the slaves shouldn’t mind the chains, we should just keep working harder until they loosen a bit? If I’m not being treated “equally” why should I give it my all?

        Oh and a cute personal anecdote! Funny how everyone who reads this knows many, many able people who are willing to work but can’t. You are a FRAUD.

  20. Another perspective in regards to point #1 about salary is not that my generation has ‘unrealistic expectations’ but that we have ‘unrealistic debt’ which demands a higher-than-entry-level salary. When we were graduating high school and in the early stages of college the economy was different and there was still a cultural push towards college education at all costs, and so, being the smart and responsible young adults that we were, we moved forward under the guidance of our parents and educators. The problem with our underemployment is deeper than my generations apparent refusal to work hard (it is true that we are not willing have terrible lives that don’t involve the things we value like yoga and a reasonable paycheck, can you blame us?), the problem is that the corporate model of working your way up from the bottom isn’t a reality anymore (you do realize we are seeing our parents laid off after 30 years of dedicated service) and that we are in a job pool up against our parents generation of people who do have the decades of experience while we only have education and a few years experience. It’s a big mess, one that cannot be blamed on the youth.

    • I agree. Great solutions are to start a business or begin a career that is commission based.

      When I decided to become a Realtor it was the best choice of my life. I’m 23, fully supporting myself (since age 18), have an associates degree, set my own hours, have great job security, happy & soon to be married to the love of my life, and make great money based off how hard I work.

      The point I’m making is that life is what you make of it. I never got special help.

      SO many young people have no plan for their life. So much is obtainable if you are focused & willing to work hard.

      Unfortunately collage can sometimes be a trap. Many people do college with no true plan. (Spend ~4 years of your life to get locked into a career you have never done…how do you know your really going to like it after 1-2 years?). But the truth remains, once your an adult (age 18) you are responsible for your choices. You can’t go to college for 4 years, have $40,000 in debt, then be unemployed for a year after graduation and blame it on others. Yes – others suggested it, yes – society makes it the easy choice, yes – it is funner than starting work right away, but it was always your choice.

      Anyone looking for a job – I wish you the best of luck! But, if I have to hear one more excuse from someone that is unemployed I will probably punch someone in the face. (I’m just kidding about the punching part, but you know what I mean.)

      There are many possibilities… make them realities!

      L.Michetti sorry for the rant. Not directed at you, there are many good points in what you wrote.

      • Oh, life is what you make of it. So all complaints are the complainers’ fault.

        “But, if I have to hear one more excuse from someone that is unemployed I will probably punch someone in the face.”
        “I Got Mine.”

        So let me ask you. How bad do you think things would have to get before people have the right to complain?

        “LET THEM EAT CAKE!!!!”

  21. Posts like this irritate me. I’m nearly 28 years old, have two bachelors degrees I earned simultaneously, and have been unemployed for a year. I get lumped into the “ungrateful, useless, lazy youth” category constantly though I worked my butt off at school, during summers, and worked retail nearly a year before I landed a job somewhere close to my fields of study. After two years, I changed jobs to a job much closer to my education, but the company was crooked and on the verge of bankruptcy. Instead of going under, I decided to leave even though I had no other job to go to. When you work 80 hours a week, I’d like to see you find time to hunt for another job. I then found a poor paying job nearly 2 hours away. It lasted a month because all my money was going towards gas rather than saving up for an apartment closer to work. Between work and commuting, I was pulling 80 hour weeks again.

    Please explain to me how after all this hard work it’s still my fault I’m unemployed. I’m either under qualified or over qualified for any opening so no one looks twice if my resume doesn’t fit their opening exactly. If further school isn’t the answer, how am I supposed to get a job that will allow me to move out of my parents’ house? And yes, I do contribute to household expenses even though I have no income. I’m willing to pay my dues, but no one is willing to give me the time of day.

    • Rebecca, I empathize with you. It is very difficult for most people to find a job these days. That is the corporate reality these days. Is it fair? No, but it is the reality. I applaud you for taking jobs that were not directly related to your education and for your willingness to take a job with a long commute. I think that the comments above are mainly directed at the young person who is NOT willing to do those things. I have been working for a loooong time and one thing I do agree with in this article is that the young people today have been sold a “bill of goods” by colleges, parents, and society at large. It used to be that a bachelors (or even a master’s) degree would guarantee a decent job, but that clearly is no longer the case. What you have to offer potential employers by way of experience, character, AND education is increasingly important. Taking low level jobs and some that bear no relation to your degree may be one way of building up that experience and character. That is what some young people seem unwilling to do.

      • Well said!  As the parent of two ‘twenty somethings’, I can attest to the fact that many in their generation lack the work experience which, combined with a good education in a relevant field of study, would make them attractive to prospective employers.

        Both of my ‘kids’ started working in their teens and both changed their college majors midstream to fields which would offer more in the way of job opportunities.  My daughter actually dropped out of school for a year, worked in menial jobs and realized that in order to succeed in today’s world, she needed a degree which could get her a job.  She graduated in spring with a degree in math, with education minor, and is now teaching high school math.  Starting salary $40k plus incredible benefit package which I can only dream of. 

        My son is on his third college, and went from wanting to go to law school to being an accounting major.  At his school, accounting firms WEEKLY come to pitch to the accounting honorarium members, there is actually competition amongst employers for the top students.  My son has been working since he is 15 at so called menial jobs, but has noticed that many of the top firms (Deloitte, KMPG, Pricewaterhouse, etc) actually are more interested students with real world ‘smarts’ than they are in the pure academic students.

        Building a work ethic is something that starts in childhood, and unfortunately many of the kids today never learned that lesson.   The result of this lack of work ethic combined with a poor choice of college field of studies, makes them essentially unemployable in today’s world.

    • Rebecca —- I don’t know where you live, so I can’t address your concerns completely. If you’d like to email me your resume at jheckers@heckersdev.com, I’d be very happy to take a look and see what I can do to advise you.

      For every person who has your great attitude, though, there are 3 who don’t, I’m afraid. I also might suggest looking at smaller companies. Try to get to an angel investors group or venture group and meet investors in small companies. Small companies hang out there, too, looking for funding. The salary won’t be high, but the equity upside might be great. We’re making an offer to someone (about your age, I imagine), and the starting salary, as we’re a small business, is not much to write home to, but she gets equity share in a year….which is unusual for someone 30ish to have.

      Don’t even try to go to the larger companies. They aren’t hiring, and they’re going to lay people off sooner or later. If you’re working 80 hours a week, it is, indeed, almost impossible to find time to find another job. In that case, if the job really sucks, you might well want to quit and look full-time.

      These articles are written with limited space. They’re also written to address a problem. If this stuff doesn’t apply to you, don’t take it personally. I, at least, and I think most employers, look at the person, their history and their presentation…..not an age or a race or a religion or a sexual orientation or…..etc. And, look, if all a prospective employer looks at is your generation, you really don’t want to work with them anyway, do you?

      • Oh, Angel Investors. I like that. We don’t tell people “Jesus Loves You” anymore, now we tell them that “Angel (Investors) Walk Amongst Us”. So, because “Angel (Investors) Walk Amongst Us”, the rest of us have license to be selfish douchebags.

        Can’t find an Angel? You’re LAZY!

    • I like the BS responses. People play the game and get screwed over repeatedly, but if they don’t play, they’re lazy. Get screwed? You’re doing it wrong…or just need to get screwed again…right? Stop playing? LAZY.

      Heckers and his ilk are the ones with the sense of entitlement here. They think they are entitled to everyone else working hard for their enrichment.

  22. Advanced education, e.g., college or grad school, provides a valuable experience in self-reliance, goal accomplishment and time management. While the subject matter itself, I concede, may not be crucial, the environment is a good training ground, particularly if one must work part-time during the process.

    • I certainly agree @Cwr. I found my graduate school (in Theology and the Philosophy of Religion, no less) a peak experience. And I was working the whole time full time. What I was saying was that simply going back to school isn’t going to solve the job problem. It may very well be highly valuable in and of itself. But schools are billing everything now as “come to school and get a job.” THAT is simply not realistic. If someone is going to go for the broadening, knowledge and educational experience, I wholeheartedly encourage them to do so. If they’re going to “get a job,”….well, that is the wrong reason to go to school. Go to vo-tech instead, unless you’re training for one of the classic professions.

      • I am currently a graduate student that is also a PCV. I was told I was lazy for joining the peace corps by many many many people. Do employers look down on former peace corps volunteers?

      • No, a lot of us go back to Grad School so we can live off Student Loans so we can stay off the streets because no one will hire us with “just” a Bachelor’s degree, not even a crappy call center. Even call centers are demanding you have whole years’ worth of recent work experience verifiable with reachable references….and perfect credit meaning no debt from college. Or the call centers that might give us a chance are in areas so remote we’d have to move there and as “new in town” wouldn’t be able to get a roof over our heads because we were fresh out of college with no rental history and again, bad credit from drowning in student loan debt.

        • I left the city where I attended university after I couldn’t even get a job at a call center. I knew it was time to go home and stop spending money on rent.

  23. You make excellent points. However, you delved into just one layer of this cake. For each element you explore, there is at least equal forces unmentioned. You mainly address youth who “should” be employed, but need to buck up and earn it. What about the youth who have no or little potential. The ones no decent business would ever hire. Or the ones who do work the entry level jobs thinking the can earn the step up only to be sent laterally across dead end positions by lousy managers that couldn’t coach a hill of ants to a picnic basket. This is not just a pick yourself up by the bootstraps problem.

    • No, of course it isn’t a simple problem. The problem for me, of course, is that none of my venues will let me write a 20 page dissertation on the subject and, if I did and they published it, no one would read it except (maybe….not likely) my wife. But I’ll take your comments and weave them into another article in the future. Thanks for reading my posts!

      • Lol… You amuse me John. Keep complaining how we’re all lazy. I’ll keep pointing out that there are no jobs. We’ll go round and round. And eventually all of us lazy good for nothings will somehow become very hard workers as we bring down the establishment that has failed us.

        I have a bachelors degree that cost me $90k, after scholarships (that fell to me out of my laziness I suppose) I now owe $45k. In order to pay this loan and live I need to earn $7k to pay my loans and roughly $10k to pay rent. Working the only job available to me, a minimum wage Wendy’s Job, after sending out over 700 applications (not a made up number John), I earn roughly $15k for the year. This would be great if I had only rent and a loan to pay, but then there’s these things called cars, car insurance, gas, and illness that requires money I don’t have. So forgive me for “assuming” so naively that all the hard work of 4 years of college would allow me to be soooo very blessed as to make something around $30k.

        Your generations mismanagement of this country has screwed me and my friends. For this, I hate you. I find your ramblings condescending and ill informed. And even after I have informed you of the above, I fully expect you to still claim I’m a lazy idiot who should be happy that he’s blessed with the $15k in this great country. If you say “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean people like you.” I will still hate you, because ALL of us are “people like me.” The lazy young people you imagine don’t actually exist. If they have burned out it is because YOU and the government YOU created have failed them. I, unlike them, chose not to burn out and give up. I didn’t make this choice to “better myself” or to “live the dream” or to “show how awesome I am for being the only one who worked for nothing.” I do it so I can bring people like YOU down. So I can vote democrat and spread liberalism and push socialism. I am your enemy John. I am extremely liberal. For you, see I care about my fellow young and poor. And I blame YOU for their plight. YOU who would blame us for not having jobs after YOU allowed governments to rise to power that deregulated banking practices that brought the people of this country to their knees and destroyed all the jobs you say we should be racing to take. It was YOU who sent my friends desperate for $30k to war to die for nothing. It is YOU who burden us with debt while lowering our wages.

        I don’t pay taxes John, because I don’t make any money. YOU will say that is my fault, that I am lazy, and that I am killing America. But YOU did this to me John. And YOU are writing articles like the one above that continue to do this to me.

        I am just a 23 yr old lazy college grad who works at Wendy’s, John. Write me off. But know that while I flip burgers, I think about all of this. When I go home, I read about all of this. I understand exactly what has happened to me. And there are millions of young people just like ME, John. You wonder why we vote for Change and Hope. Why even as you fight to derail that, we still vote Democrat.

        It is YOU John. YOU are the problem. YOU are the road block to our future.

          • Oh, you mean the article above where you listed 8 reasons for why young people don’t have jobs, none of which referenced the worst global economic collapse since 1929? Yeah, I read it, John. I also find it ironic to hear a lecture on hate from a man who just published an article about how young people are:

            1. Dumb for wanting to join the middle class after college.
            2. Dumb for thinking they should be happy to work, when they can do what you do and you make 3 times their pay.
            3. Lazy and unwilling to work.
            4. Dumb for going to college again out of desperation to find ANY job.
            5. Lazy for being broke and choosing to save money by living with their parents.
            6. Dumb for thinking they should have a LIFE while making a crap wage.
            7. Lazy for again, not wanting to spend night and day making a crap salary/wage with no overtime to do your bidding.
            8. Dumb for wanting to be recognized as a human being capable of earning a middle class wage.

            And No, I’m sorry, John. I didn’t go surf around for your “liberal” writings. I was too lazy, I guess.

          • So if someone doesn’t agree with you, it’s because they didn’t read your BS.

            And if they disagree with you or what you believe, it’s because “THEY JUST HATE ME, OK?”

            I should try Heckers approach at my next job interview. OH MY LAST BOSS; HE WAS JUST HATE, HATE, HATE.

        • And, by the way, I voted for Obama. I haven’t voted for even one Republican in years. I, too, think this country needs change. I’m disappointed that it hasn’t happened. You MIGHT want to read some of my other articles that my conservative friends thinks makes me a “commie.” You also might want to be careful of how you judge what others think and believe based on one article that you THINK gives you incredible insight into the nature of the person. Just sayin’.

          • ll you did was give opinion without citing any statistics, it’s not an article its an essay.

            Maybe you just hate education so much because your were a dunce in school.

            BTW to the dude who called him liberal, the anti-education bias comes out of conservative libertarian/tea camps specifically originating in the group that preceded the libertarian party, the KKK run populist party. Learn your history.

      • Could you? A dissertation is a research piece with attributable sources, that reads more like a hate speech from atop a throne. If you really cared you’d self publish it.

        I’m currently writing a book on the white terrorist phenomenon, it requires skills one would acquire in college like research across multiple disciples psychology, sociology, peace studies, political sciences and neuroscience specific to organic mental disorders in addition to first hand research. All skills that i picked up earning my BSBA.

        Do you see how maybe some of those skills in universities might be transferable to the real world like research skills?

        The real issue is that your generation has put more of an emphasis on hiring for superficial reasons, this is also why even when the market was down and so many people were available a lot of companies still got crappy hires. Don’t believe me? Well since we live in the same town I will bet you $5,000 that I can get a prostitute offered a secretarial position over qualified applicants when she didn’t apply in the first place. In fact I’m willing to bet you that I can do it 10 times, all the guys who hire them will be about your age too.

      • So you admit the problem is not “simple” but you focus on Millenials not being motivated by a system that even you admit is grossly unfair. Biased much?

    • I agree. It would be an issue of “just go do it” if these kids had any halfway realistic expectations of what work and the real world are like. For the first 20+ years their parents catered to their every whim, the schools coached them to pass every test and every sports team gave them a “participant” award. Now they get into the real world, don’t pay attention, mess up, get fired and wonder why no one is helping them through it or giving them another chance.

      I was reading an article the other day about how young people don’t like voice mail and one person mentioned their boss called their cell phone and left a voice mail telling them they needed to come in to work. The young person, not liking voice mail, never checked it, never showed up for work and got fired. You know what, it doesn’t matter whether YOU like voice mail or not. If the boss is going to contact you that way, you need to check it.

      Parent and the schools think they are protecting the kids from harm, but all they are really doing is creating young people who are unprepared for the world outside home and school.

      That is really the biggest change young people need to get accustomed to. Up until now they were the center of attention and everything revolved around them. Once you get out in the real world, you’re just a small fish in a huge pond and no one really cares what you think. You are expected to go with the crowd and work for the company’s goals, which may not necessarily be your own. Young people are so used to thinking only of themselves, it’s hard for them to change that mindset, but it is critical to making that transition to the adult workplace.

      • I think that is very true of some of the Millennials out there. Of course, it is also true of some of the Boomers out there. But, yes, the school systems of today, the parents, coaches and teachers AREN’T helping and AREN’T doing these kids any favors, Peter. I have little respect for the public schools. Part of the problem, of course, is the teachers’ unions and the fact that bad teachers can’t be fired. Another part is the “self-esteem” philosophy that these kids are being taught by the schools and their parents, etc. When they get into the real world, they need to learn that self-esteem comes from doing something well, not just the fact that they are existing. The schools (and insipid parents) teach that “you’re special just for being you.” Isn’t that sweet? And it has NO relation to the real world. Yes, this might be appropriate for a toddler…but it is taken clear into the teen years and twenties. Not good.

      • I’m late to this party friend but I can’t help but correct you on a few things.

        1. There is no “real world” (so don’t capitalize it). There’s only the world. And in case you hadn’t noticed, this world is unfair. I suppose your generation is wholly able to navigate this world and that you were able to divine the recent recession, the ongoing “recovery,” and by virtue of superior child rearing courtesy of your parents (wait – not in-line with your world view?) and their desire to give you “the world.” To your credit, you tried. Yet you failed. And speaking of credit, your generation’s ignorance and irrational need to live an unsustainable lifestyle in the years leading up to 2008 are as guilty as the investment bankers you probably despise (the feeling’s mutual).

        2. Your little anecdote is lacking in specifics but I believe it. See, my father is a smarter man than you. I respect people who don’t take some news article about an idiot kid who doesn’t know enough to check his phone while working at face value and think that it’s symbolic of a greater trend affecting an entire generation. Entitled? No, I’m not. But I am incredibly arrogant and very willing to remind you that this post paints you as a naive child. Oh, and definition for idiot? sure. Lower than average intelligence, i.e. abnormal and not representative of a whole. Your anecdote is meaningless – go smoke some pot and listen to Pink Floyd. And that boss is also a moron if he fired an employee after training him/her over mutual miscommunication. It’s not “hard” to fire a man nor is it admirable if nothing positive comes of it. In this case, the idiot lost out on any ROI on that employee. So he’s either an idiot or doesn’t care. Congratulations, you’re in good company Pete.

        3. “Parent and school” (are you foreign?) are powerless to change much and I agree, they incorrectly buy in to our nation’s outdated public education. Funny, “parent” and “school” are likely made up of your peers. Oops.

        4. You’re a good employee. If a young person who is reasonably capable (able to spell, dress appropriately, etc.) then they can indeed make great employees, as you have. But you must be able to grasp the fact that your firm is led by a special group of people who are the center of attention. You won’t be among them because you’re incapable of tactfully affecting change and positioning yourself to break free from the follower’s role within the corporation. That’s your problem – not a generational issue. Same holds true for the “millennials” who range from the train wrecks you read and live with to hyper competitive drones who your peers are very keen on hiring when they can afford to do so. Strange, if the young ones are abominations then why are they preferred by employers over the wonderful baby boomers? Remember Pete, we’re talking about your peers.

        Forgive me but I think you’re confused. Maybe its time to retire and let the crazy millenials run this country into the ground for a change?

    • “The ones no decent business would ever hire” has come to mean certain minorities and the disabled. Never mind ACTUAL felons or drug addicts. When you’re a minority the world ASSUMES you must be a drug addict, alcoholic and/or felon or if you’re female, a prostitute and unwed mother. These things are an instant perception whenever people see brown skin. Immediately. I graduated Yale in the 90s into a job market where it was automatically assumed I must be a high school dropout unwed mother, everywhere I went and applied for a job. And back then, at least there WERE a few things still hiring. Not now.

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