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A Record Number Of Young Americans Are Unemployed – Are They Just Lazy Or Are There Simply No Jobs Available?

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A record number of young Americans are now unemployed.  According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept in 1948.  So why is this happening?  Certainly it is much harder to find a job today than it was just 3 or 4 years ago.  But are there other factors involved?  Even when the economy was still flying high back in the middle of the decade, an increasing number of young people were moving back in with Mom and Dad after they graduated from college.  Is it our fault for raising kids who simply cannot adjust to the real world?  Is society to blame for all of the young Americans who believe that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter without them having to work for it?  Or would young Americans be more than willing to step up if there were good opportunities available to them?

The quality of young adults in America today is a theme that a number of our readers have commented on recently.  In particular, there were four comments that were so exceptional that we thought they deserved special attention and we have reproduced them below.  If there is any hope for the future of America, it will be crucial for the next generation to step up to the plate.

But are they capable of it?  Please read the following comments left by our readers and then post your own comment and let us know what you think….

****

Joyce:

I keep hearing conservatives say we need to get rid of “Social Security” and go back to when families took care of family members. These people have to be “out of touch with reality” because the family unit has been broken for years in this country and continues to break down. Disabled, elderly people, in general, have no family members willing to help them. Children and grandchildren often have no time for their older parents and grandparents and often feel that older and disabled folk are in the way and only contact them when they themselves need money or wish to check on their possible inheritance from older members of their family. Many young people think nothing of “stealing” from thier parents and elderly grandparents if they think they can get away with it. Many families with children have only one adult or parent to support and nurture the children and many women, right here in Missoula, Montana, are supporting thier “boy friends” and fewer and fewer “couples” are getting “married”. A large number of family units are in deep financial trouble as the good paying jobs keep disappearing and the materialistic young people feel they must buy the latest new toy or electronic gadget on the market. Even these college graduates often leave college with huge debts they incurred in the form of student loans and are often in serious financial trouble. Where is the “family” support and help for the elderly and disabled coming from??? Many young adults often try to make older folks feel they have outlived thier welcome no matter how hard they worked when they were young to help build the nation these young people feel belongs only to them.

****

Elldee:

I do know a few individuals in their 20s who are hard workers. One is my son. He was going to college full-time, employed part-time, participates in auto racing, and served in the Army Reserves as a staff sergeant. He was recruited by the race car owner because of his work ethic. He just graduated from college in December with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, has his resume out there and is waiting to hear back. In the meantime, he is working full-time in construction and part-time for a company that builds race car engines. I know I may be accused of being partial because he’s my son, but he is a good worker, loyal, dedicated, motivated, and engaged in whatever he is doing.

****

Penny:

I’m 65, and came from very creative, old style common sense family. I know how to do so many things from scratch it would blow your mind. THAT is what gives me confidence.

SKILLS for life, on all levels. I can grow, cook,& preserve food.I can throw together a meal for 6 or more in a hurry out of almost anything. How many of you can make a noodle, a mainstay of hard times ? Can you grow a patch of potatoes? Repair shoes, make shoes for a small child. Hand sew? Mend or iron. Hand wash clothes. Do you know what basic tools are for. What if the web goes? Do you know how to use a library?

More to the point, can you tell when you can’t afford something? Can you tell when you need to go back down the technology scale to provide your needs, because that’s where it’s cheaper? Can you steam rice, mash potatoes? Stop a leak? Can you figure out the cost of your appliances so you know what to turn off and leave off?

Can you tell you can’t afford to use the dryer? Do you know enough about nutrition to know you need to plant a garden? Do you know how much effort is needed for basic jobs, or how long it takes? Can you make yourself get up and walk to get what you need when you have enough for food and gas, but not both? Skills are also nice for barter.

I saw a show on Western kids working in rice fields in Thailand. What BS.Supposedly they’d been there working for 6 weeks. They still had body fat and a double chin.Anybody doing day long hard agri work for 6 weeks would be getting lean and mean.

Character is built as you learn skills and come to respect your own efforts; then you understand the efforts of all. Morality isn’t a stamp you stick on someone, it’s innate unless it’s corrupted. I don’t know what’s happened to our lazy behinds, but it doesn’t seem to me we’ve had enough physical work required of us, so we don’t have a clue how much we’ll need to do..the whines will be heard to the skies, then weeping..we should start a skill bulletin board and tell each other what we know while we have time.

****

Kelly:

I work in an ER…. When the s–t really hits the fan, most Americans (90%) will totally fall apart… If they can’t handle a paper cut now (I kid you not!), can you imagine the chaos when things really get rough? When the vicodin runs out? Some parasites make 2-3 visits or more a week to the ER for BS….. the human devolution is truly mind-boggling…

90% of americans are totally worthless parasites… I hired an american to mow my lawn… he got a cell phone call in the middle of it, said he would come back, never did! I had to finish the half-mowed lawn myself….. I went thru 8 people mowing my lawn, till I finally found someone reliable, on time, gentle w the equipment, willing to work hard…… me! Yep, it is that bad… I hired myself to mow my lawn… Now I am hiring myself to plant it in wildflowers for the coming days when lawnmowing will become impossible…

One of the 8 failures was a 16 year old native born American kid doing some landscaping for me… I had to show him how to use a shovel. He had never picked one up before… Unbelievable! … I told him to slope the dirt away from the house so the water would run down and away from the foundation. He asked me, “What is slope?” I had to draw him a picture!! Pitiful… Down the toilet the american empire falls….

Austin Coins

 

 
  • bob

    Ok, kid finally graduates HS. Joins the Coast Guard, gets kicked out because he drank before 21. He knew the rules. Moves in with me as gangs are bugging him. Move to another state. Get him enrolled in his “favorite job” he says, heavy equipment operaor. Job Corp is teaching him for free, a 30k dollar course. Whats he do, screw some chick there and gets kicked out of the school, he got caught. Now what does he do day labor if he can get hired. What a waste! Dumb ass. I’ve hired teenagers to work for me but, never showd up, even hired 20 somethings and still worthless. I was drafted, and went to war! Worked since I was 13, kids today are worthless.

  • I graduated with a BA in criminal justice in 2005. I thought I was going to be a juvenile probation officer. Boy was I wrong. I was raised in economically depression Michigan. When I graduated, it was almost mission impossible to find a job.

    Five years later, I have traveled and lived in Alaska as a volunteer and worked every side job from painting to cleaning houses. I played by the rules and was burned. The American dream is a joke.

  • Newsflash, the economy wasn’t flying high during the middle of the decade. The economy was not working for the average job. It was working for Wall Street.

  • “Many young adults often try to make older folks feel they have outlived thier welcome no matter how hard they worked when they were young to help build the nation these young people feel belongs only to them.”

    I’m 28 years old.

    The reason why we feel that way is because we’re coming out of college having to battle these 50 and 60 year olds for jobs. It’s not fair. They had their chance to save. And now I can’t even get a job because I have to compete with people with 20, 30 years of experience.

  • observer

    Forget the State of the Union, What You Really Need to Know Is What Obama Told His Lunch Partners, Yesterday

    And they aren’t talking..

    Yesterday, President Obama had a private lunch with oilmen, bankers, and the like. That’s where the real policy plans were discussed. Attending the lunch were:

    Shelly Lazarus CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

    Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase

    James Hackett, chief of Anadarko Petroleum

    Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil

    Edward Rust Jr. CEO of State Farm Insurance

    Also in attendance at the lunch were presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

  • I find it interesting the comment about us oldies keeping our jobs at 50 and into our 60’s. Most places I have worked here in the US only employ older more experience employees because they know they will turn up for work, do a good days work, actually do the job that they are asked to do and turn off their cell phones and social networking interests while on the job. I work for my own newspaper, I work for a quarterly publication selling advertising and I also go to college part time. Even at the college our class had 36 enrolled and 20 of us on the waiting list. I got in the first day because so many of the kids did not show up – or came once and have not been in since. When the kids and I mean up to about 30 these days show some responsibility and actually do work on time, work in the hours and show willingness to learn I am sure they will be rewarded. The world outside of your family does not owe you a living and it really is dog eat dog in the real world. And when my husband got made redundant after 15 years with a US company that actually moved us here from Australia and he could not get work we started our own on line newspaper so that no one can fire us again.

  • Peter

    Yes you can blame the kids for being lazy and unmotivated, however they are only a product of the current society we live in.
    You know the world is wrong when you have movie directors creating hideous movies depicting all types of degrading acts and then being branded a creative genius.
    The western world have lost all of its morals, the kids here in Australia aren’t nearly as bad YET there not far off though, With the governmenbts of the world printing their way to prosperity haha, everyone is in in for one hell of shakeup so get used to a lack of jobs because its going to get worse far worse.

  • bbc

    Right answer….LAZY!!!Their used to having everyting handed to them,and don’t want to grow-up!!!At 30yrs. old..they still have the 15yr.old mentality!!Kick their butts out of “mommy and daddy’s” house,and go find a beginner job like the rest of us did at 16!!When they have to live in a “commune”,with the rest of the lazies,in order to survive…They’ll get the “picture” sooner or later!!!!

  • recent college graduate

    I recently graduated with a BBA in finance from prestigious university. I wanted to comment of this article because I can completely identify with the subject, in fact, when I saw the picture I laughed to myself and was like that’s me, kinda sad huh. I now live with parents and have no intention of looking for a job. I have been highly motivated my entire life and was well on my way to getting a job in a hedge fund or private equity firm within the oil and gas industry. However a couple months before graduation, something snapped and I became very depressed and lost almost all motivation. I think its because I really woke up the the reality that the the path that the US is on economically speaking is unsustainable. I don’t feel like there is any money to be made anymore. Of course in the short term I could be making about $75,000 a year (typical starting pay for classmates of mine), however I don’t see a point. The dollar will most likely be gone in the next two years and honestly we are on the verge of social and political chaos…I think the best use of my time presently is to prepare myself and get my family prepared for what lies ahead. So from the horses mouth so to speak, as a 22 year old college graduate, that is my opinion.

  • Adam

    What I find most interesting is that the older generations are essentially labelling the younger generations as “lazy” – who was responsbible for teaching the younger generations? If “laziness” is the outcome of the teachings of the older generations it is pretty hypocritical of the older generations to point the finger at the younger generations for their own failings as teachers.
    My sense is that this is all part of the inter-generational cycles that go on. The baby boomers as a generation have been driven to succeed financially, as such we have seen both parents entering the workforce and neglecting their responsibilities as parents – they feel guilty for this and buy their kids material possessions to make up for the lack of time and love given to their children. Through this the kids have grown up without a strong sense of family and also have the “world owes me” mentality (enabled and compounded by the material possessions given). If anything, this new generation with their current flaws will learn their place in life and has the potential of shifting the world back to a more balanced place without so much greed. If you listen to the underlying message it is almost as though they are saying I will only work if it is doing a job that will make me satisfied and happy – which could be considered in direct opposition to the baby boomer mentality of do anything for money (read greed is good).

  • Brand

    Many recent college grads move back home for two reasons.

    First, the education system has become absolutely addicted to debt. Look at the cost of tuition over the last three decades, and then look at the number of loans issued by Sallie Mae. As soon as demand went through the roof, the universities started doubling and tripling tuition rates, while offering in-house consultation on how to maximize student loans. Twenty years ago, most college students didn’t graduate $40-60,000 in the debt.

    Second, it’s a tough job market. If you’ve got a tuition payment to make, and you can’t get a job, then it’s reasonable to move back in with mom and dad for a while. That’s what family is for. They have every right to expect you to pull your weight, including doing chores and getting a part-time job to help pay for food and utilities. Of course, when mom and dad get old, they have the right to live at *your* place for a while, at least until they require permanent care.

    I don’t dispute that there are a lot of lazy punks out there. I also happen to think that kids go $40-60,000 into debt while majoring in dead-end subjects that offer no chance of repaying their loans. But there are also plenty of responsible young people who get stuck between a rock and a hard place, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a little family help as long as it’s appreciated and repaid in kind.

    Just my two cents.

  • Brian

    I am 31 year old male, but everyone says I look 17-20. I had a son at 18 and never had the money to go to an expensive college to get a degree and got turned down for a federal grant/loan, but I did save and go to community college for paramedic. The above article really bothered me because for years I have been put down by older adults, Friend of court, and places I applied to for work for taking care of my grandparents who have been married almost 60 years, and my mother who has MS. My grandmother has never had a license and my grandfather has had emphysema for 20 years and is on oxygen, and my mother uses a wheel chair or a walker on her good days. (the bad are spent crying in pain in bed, sleeping, or bed ridden for days, sometimes weeks at a time.) FOC says I don’t send enough directly to her and taking care of my family is not a “real” job since I do not pay federal tax’s or get paid a weekly check they can commandeer(that’s a whole other story, I guess they didn’t get the memo that woman are to pass men as family “breadwinners” this year or next.), other older adults say I need to look out for myself and get a real job, and the jobs I do apply for,(to work nights or part time) also say it is not a job and therefore I have a huge employment gap on my resume. I have lived on and off between my grandparents and mothers in Michigan my whole life. I stayed with grandparents because my mom waitress-ed full time at night when I was younger.I do not care what they say, I love my family and will help them no matter what, until they pass or they can afford a home nurse. On the nights and weekends that I don’t have my son, I sit home and reading and learning programming and web design. I am willing to work hard anywhere for any (legal) pay. Everyone complains about everyone else and thinks it is so easy to get a job until it happens to them. I glad I don’t care about money and I do not have anything worth anything, so it can’t be taken away. Maybe all the people who were doing the complaining on the board up there should give me and people like me a chance. We might just be the most kind, loyal, hard working person you ever had working with or for. I just would like to let you know, Not being able to financially support myself makes me feel like a loser and maybe I am just a burden on my family and it would be better of if I just”went away”. If it would not hurt my son and family so much, I would be gone.

  • Wow. This is a bitch-fest if I ever saw one. Young people are lazy? Wow. If anything, it’s an all-around entitlement mentality that is causing so much strife: and that’s something that effects all generations.

    I’m 23. In this recession, I landed a $58,000 a year job with Northrop Grumman. In addition to that, I earn a significant amount of money on the side offering design and advertising services. Last year alone I earned $18,000 after taxes doing just that. Currently I’m looking at turning this into a full time business with 2 employees to start. That means that through my work, I’ll be able to hire people to work with me. I will be providing jobs!

    I am so tired of people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and up deriding me and my generation as lazy. Sheesh. If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, people.

  • bbc

    Rhys…Good for you!!!You are an “exception” to your generation!!!However, you probably haven’t been around much to observe,first hand,what we see every day.

    Beggars on the street corners..while wearing Nike,listening to MP3 players,and texting on their cellphones.Still looking for “handouts”,
    instead of putting in some effort,like you,to better themselves.

    Now instead of giving,like I had been to the “true” needy…I know tell them that “I just gave 10 min.ago,sorry…your too late!!!Also I advise..”your in a very competitive career…you should try another!!!

    I admire you for your drive!!Keep up the good work,and good luck with your new business!!

  • m

    It is much easier to blame the young for not being whatever their elders fantasize about themselves being in their own youths than to recognize that the situation facing most people in their 20s or younger is qualitatively different than what they themselves had when they were young: yes, there are fewer jobs; yes, younger people are less skilled than in the past; yes, the older generation will not go away and give the younger one a chance. All of this is true today–largely because all the social protections built up in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been progressively destroyed and removed over the past 40 years. This was done in the name of higher profits for the corporations; education has changed from being a public good to being a private necessity–with the result that cost of education is now more expensive, lower quality, and entirely borne by the student. The older generations don’t realize how much their education was directly and indirectly subsidized by government, or how much the disparity between the rich and the middle class is more than just an issue of taxation today.
    A major part of the reason the younger generation seems to “not care” is easily visible in society as a whole: we have just finished one of the most corrupt, illegal decades in history–following two decades of increasingly louder and more hateful rhetoric. What was once unthinkable in the US is now the mainline claims being pushed in our media. When there is never an accounting for fraud, lies, crime and theft, it is insane to think that anyone who grew up with only that as reference for the world would bother to care.
    I am teaching these students in college, and I see this visibly in my classes everyday. When you have a generation that grows up watching nothing but lies and fraud, it is odd to then complain when their response is the same as Solzhenitsyn’s: expect nothing, give nothing.

  • I escaped from the hell of America and am now living in a village in south India. I wrote an article about how I came to this point. You can read it here:

    http://www.henrymakow.com/by_caitanya_dasa_ccananzahotma.html

  • Jess

    Of course the problem isn’t the older generation- who could blame an employer for wanting to hire someone with experience and work ethic? The younger “Nintento” generation (of which I am one) for the most part wasn’t raised to have those qualities. I feel fortunate that my parents taught me how to work hard and whatever happens in our economy in the future I’m willing to do whatever it takes to support my family. It’s always boggled my mind that people my own age seemed unwilling or unable to work, or to put forth anything more than what was minimally required of them. But it’s hard to totally blame them as well, as that was how they were raised by their parents.

    Many of my friends are now unemployed and totally content to live off of unemployment for as long as it lasts, even though there are many minimum wage jobs available in the area. For them, going from a fairly prestigious job to working at a fast food joint is an affront to their pride and they’d rather milk the system until something more “suitable” comes up. This is the problem I see with my generation. I hate to say it but many of them are lazy and feel entitled, and unless they get off their bums and do something about their lives they’ll end up living off of and depending on the government for their family’s survival. But again, this is how they were raised, so some of the blame falls on the older generation that should have taught them properly.

  • Art

    I have a number of observations from a very depressed rust belt town. Point 1: Yes, it is hard to find a good job. No, there are no promises. But when, basically, has that been different? Point 2: I found, GENERALLY SPEAKING, when starting a small high tech business that young people applying for the job were a) unwilling to work, b) had the common sense of an earthworm, c) despite having an undergraduate degree could not read, write, or comprehend simple concepts while at the same time were so sure they “knew everything”, and d) they expected executive salaries and perks on the first day. Not going to happen. Point 3: There is a general attitude of apathy, extreme entitlement, supreme arrogance coupled with absolute stupidity in a large portion of our young people. You’ve seen David Letterman asking college students simple questions on our city sidewalks. It’s a disgrace. So, with all those factors… despite my desperate need, I have NOT been able to successfully hire one individual. Either they will not accept a decent starting salary (“too low”), they lied on their resume (“Well, so… everyone else does.”), or they aren’t willing to work.

    And we’re speaking of a whole generation (or more) of people. Great job by parents and schools and politicians and lawyers and unions (sarcasm). We are so screwed…

  • Art

    Rhys, I read your comment and take exception. You are what we call the “exception”. Good for you. You should be proud and I think you are. But, here we go again with the arrogance of youth. You think that because you, individually, are working hard and doing well that today’s youth do not deserve criticism? No one is deriding you, personally. Since you are unable to figure that out, you too become part of the problem. Fact is, there ARE jobs, just as you say. And yes, you can lay blame on parents, educators, media moguls, Hollywood, Congress, entitlements, but at some point there is this thing called personal responsibility. Most all of our youth these days practice none and are the laziest generation in history. They then are part of the problem. Stop blaming and stop whining, it’s happened already. So if you are the exception, then do something to motivate your peers and stop blaming the older generation – it won’t do you any good.

  • Art

    Response to “m”: Not sure where you “are coming from” but you are way off course. You are stuck in an entitlement mind set. You said, “The older generation will not go away to give the younger one a chance”. WHAT? By your own admission, the younger generation is less motivated, less educated, less skilled, less experienced. Why then should ANYONE in their right mind hire a young person today? If that isn’t an entitlememtn attitude on your part I don’t know what is? Finally, you mention problem with education… since when is a person PREVENTED from learning? LOL. Look in the mirror “teacher”… if you give nothing, expect nothing.

  • Art

    Last comment here. I am outspoken about this because the blame game here is astounding. To think that there are generational differences that can be blamed, or that things were vastly different 40, 60, 70 years ago is nothing more than historical ignorance. Excuse me, we went through the Great Depression in the 1930’s. You think THIS is bad? But yet, things ARE different this time. We’re in a global economy and we’re heading towards total collapse of the dollar. So, what… give up and go back to bed at Mom and Dads house? That is a decision that you make, on your own, and you cannot blame anyone or anything about that. Oh the hard lessons that will be learned all over again. I don’t envy you young people. It’s going to be tough. But then, we were all young people once and it was plenty tough for a lot of us too. There were NO entitlements when we were young. So, if we can make it so can you. Get the picture?

  • D

    Okay, everyone’s using labels on generations such as “the harder working older people” and “the lazy kids” I know a lot of lazy ass old people who are grumpy and think their kids should take care of them and hard working young people. I myself am but 20 years old, have worked in 20 different workplaces most of them including dish washing because that’s all anyone will hire me for. I have been given the chance to work as an adolescent worker helping kids stay off of drugs and to keep them in school. I’ve worked like crazy to help my single mother pay the bills while still going to school. and now I’m trying to move out but keep getting refused because of my age simply because everyone thinks I will party it up when that is the last thing I want to do. Give some kids a chance to be responsible, and don’t judge an entire age group on a few teenagers failing, it would be like me judging all elderly people as grumpy jerks simply because I have known a few. Age-ism does happen and it isn’t right to judge others without knowing if they as a person are hardworking or lazy.

  • During the Great Depression, about 1/4 of the population was unemployed. Many were homeless and lived in shanty towns called Hooverville. Like our recession tramps and hobos were prevalent before the Depression. The middle class was like a rotting bridge that finally collapsed. There’s a kind of cognitive dissonance that happens with rich. The rich are mainly responsible for the economic disaster but it is the poor who pay the price. The rich blame the unemployed as lazy or unmotivated. The rich say the poor won’t apply themselves. If they weren’t so lazy they’d all get jobs. All you have to do is watch the movie Annie to get this simple message.

  • harbarbar

    lol at squawky old lady shrieking at ‘durn kids’ she sees on the ‘telly’. “THEY AIN’T WORKIN’ CUZ I WAS STICK THIN AS A RASPBERRY TWIG WHEN I WORKED AT FARMERETTE CAMP THANKEE VERY MUCH”
    well, skills lady, care to list all the skills you use to get by when you aren’t bushwhacking and leading a gaggle of children through the mountains home to safety for dinnertime?

  • Anon

    I am 21 and I have applied to over 200 jobs over the past year. Since I still have 0 job experience, nobody is willing to give me a chance to at least prove that I can work. Out of all of those applications, I received only 1 phone call back for a phone interview. I have had no other reply out of all those other applications.

    I know jobs are scarce right now, but that is just devastating to me. A whole year of searching for a job, and all I get back is one phone call? Go ahead and call me lazy, but I’ve tried my best to find one.

  • Steve

    So many people missing the point….
    There are no GOOD jobs out there. People work for money not for jelly beans. Young people are “lazy” because they don’t want to flip burgers for minimum wage or less? Are you Kidding? What percentage of people over 35 are willing to do this? The kid that made my BigMac today looked to be all of 14 so I’m guessing not too many. It’s about the money people! The generation that came before us is the one responsible for rampant inflation, the trade deficit, and the general dismantling of a once great nation and the so called family unit. YOU have left us with NOTHING! YOU have sold our birth right to the highest bidder. YOU have made us the future slaves of Chinese overlords. YOU are the people unwilling to hire the young at a wage they can actually live on.
    If you are over 50 and you are reading this have the decency to feel shame for what you’ve done to your children and grandchildren. We are certainly ashamed of YOU!

  • Steve

    One more thing before you write me off as some pissed off, ungrateful, “Young Person”

    I have TWO post secondary degrees and the best job offer I’ve had all year is 34k. Now what exactly am I suppose to do with that? It’s not enough to mortgage a house, it’s not even enough to qualify for financing on a new car!

    My father bought his first home for 20k. That is no longer an option! I can barely afford to feed myself. How are we suppose to buy our own homes and start our own families when prices are simply too high and wages have not rises to meet them?

    So, I continue to toil at an unfulfilling and degrading job where I answer to, and debase myself to people who are so tragically unintelligent and uneducated that someone like myself should be allowed to keep them as PETS!

    And why?

    Just because they finished their own less demanding and less impressive academic careers 20 years before I did! What makes you so special that your time is that much more valuable than mine?

    Is it any surprise my generation is angry?

  • Rick

    Hey Anon,

    You are not the only one. I’m back in school myself working on an associates degree because my “hard-working” and “genius” parents knew exactly what career I was going into. Then, when that didn’t pan out and I wouldn’t continue taking their marching orders, they threw me out on the street to fend for myself. I did that successfully for three years and put up with all their bitching and abuse about not working “hard enough” or “expecting other people to take care of me.”

    Fortunately, I discovered that I have a great aunt and uncle who have been letting me live with them and go back to school. I’ve got a decent part time job at the school, but I am barely making enough money to pay rent to them. My advice is don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. I would probably be living in a card board box if not for my aunt and uncle helping me.

    For all those people saying why can’t you get 3 or 4 jobs to support yourself, I hate to break it to you, but employers are not going to hire someone who is working at another place and plan their schedule around them. They are only going to hire employees that are available 24/7 and not have to pay them above minimum wage.

    This is the major crisis of our times right now. Instead of blaming and bickering, let’s do what we can to help everyone out.

  • Professor G

    These comments are a bit harsh towards the youngsters. I think every generation thinks the youngsters are a bunch of entitled slugs. Now, why not reminisce honestly about yourself at age 22?

    Here is the truth. Most folks are pretty slow; it is called a learning curve. Remember back when you were drafted or enlisted in the military. Boy, the chief or sergeant had to show those boys how to tie their shoes. The military went step by step, so that even the mentally handicapped could operate a radar system, etc.

    In the old days, most folks were kind of apprenticed, they learned little by little and they made mistakes, lots of mistakes. The difference is that today work has become Darwinian. You make a mistake at the register, the camera watches you. Don’t scan fast enough, some sucker will take your place. Most of the successful people in mundane white collar or blue collar jobs were lucky because they had a suitable environment.

    Take it easy on the youngsters. After all it is these young folks who are fighting G.W.’s wars, etc.

  • Professor G

    As a professor of government in a position to influence the tender minds of youngsters here is one of my perennial recommendations.

    Please, please go live in a so called “third world” country for a few years. You will be shocked at just how resilient people can be. I lived in Honduras for a few years. Hondurans make the best out of everything. They are incredibly creative: when the going gets tough, they find a way.

    Contrary to the xenophobic, racism currently centered on Hispanics, I have to say I am proud to have these folks here even if they are here illegally. The U.S. was built on the backs of hardworking immigrants. It is amazing how quickly Americans forget that.

  • Wiggidy

    I think the problem with the younger generation these days is not that they don’t know how to use a shovel, they know how to run all the technology better than all the old farts that refuse to realize it. Do you know how many old people can’t send an email? How many that can’t set up a network or even hook up a dvd player to a tv?

    The world has changed and the shift in technology has trained a younger generation with skills that are used to run this world, yet, the companies hire this generation at 8-12 dollars an hour to run everything while they take the credit.

    Not being able to use a shovel or mow the lawn doesn’t mean anything. Planting flowers and tending the yard is a waste of time. It’s pointless stuff people did in the 60’s because your jobs were cake.

    This younger generation could easily grow and preserve food, make clothing, maintain a house etc. They can change the world while typing away on a keyboard. The younger generation has wasted too many hours of their life supporting the materialism that plagues the baby boomers and was passed down to them through the attitude of me first.

    It makes me sick when the older generation thinks they are the harder workers, they are the dumber workers. Work smart, not hard grandpa.

    Not only has this generation been stripped of their youth, they have been stripped of their place in society. The cost of housing is too high, the wages for young Americans are too low and the education required to do many tasks is too much and too costly.

  • Wiggidy

    It’s hysterical that older generations think they are better educated. Kids have the world wide web and information from all across the globe at their fingertips.

    You could be considered clinically retarded compared to this generation. Take your 20 year old self and put it up against an average 20 year old of today, the 20 year old of today will talk circles around you.

    You were probably better at writing in cursive and doing yard work, however, these activities are mindless and have very little purpose in our world.

    My grandfather (one of the nicest men I’ve met and one of my favorite people on this earth) has a degree in mathematics. He commented that his senior year of college consisted of the math I was doing as a junior in high school.

    I’m sick and tired of these older selfish generations that broke down the family (yet, had their parents to guide them), bought houses they couldn’t afford (because they deserved it), sold out good paying jobs overseas (that they used to buy their first house) and somehow blame the youth of today. You all should be ashamed of yourselves and embarrassed that you think the problem is the younger generation.

  • Wiggidy

    Oh, btw, I’m 28 years old, have had a job since I was 15 years old, put myself through college (worked full time since I was 17 as well) and am not the exception to the rule.

    I see a generation of very well educated peers that can do many impressive things. A life of flipping burgers is not an opportunity, it’s a slap in the face.

  • jerad

    Simple rules, simple understanding, simple direction? These three things are what are needed to make it in life, and yet we, society as a whole, seem to fail at teaching even one of them. One talks about skills lost to other generation, what did the grand-parents before today’s grand-parents know that was lost? Life burns every one, the skill set needed today doesn’t exist, because when the skill set is known that are need for today will only be tomorrow that society will figure out what they were. The American dream hasn’t been seen since 1950, it is kept alive in the stories one tells the next generation, but the dream only works in a narrowing scope of a direction, family consisting of a mom, a dad, and two children. The world got big with out anyone noticing, today’s low paying jobs are vanishing to the idea that the work force doesn’t end at the borders and some counties are cheaper then others. Older generations attack the younger generation, but the humorous part is that the thing they complain about is the very thing they allowed to exist in the first place. I hear about how previous generations were tougher, who made them that way? Why did the older generations not instill the values they crave in the younger generation. Did the younger generation simply wake up and decide that these were their values. Values are 50% passed down, and 50% learned through life experiences yet we treat it as if it 100% learned with out any influence from the previous generation. Don’t like something, change it, other wise all your doing is comparing apples to oranges. Older generation built the younger generation and yet they complain they don’t know how to reach them, speak to them, understand them, why? Did we lose the something in age, is their a mythical age when we loose the ability to understand? To speak? Alas, the simple truth is that the society has turned into a why me group, why does this happened to me? Why am I forced to deal with others not like me? Why am I having to deal with people that are not of my values? Guess what? This is life. I feel bad that are there are people in trouble in today’s society, I want congress to stop getting in its own way of making change, any change for that matter. The reality is that it will not, it simple will exist until people reach a point were they can’t take any more and decide to change the rules of the game. The sad part is that history says that still maybe a long way off.

  • Matt

    Oh the comments on here kill me. I’m a product of this generation of “lazy.” We’re not lazy, we’re smarter and more efficient than the previous generation. My peers are exceptionally smart. Why should we work at Mc Donalds when with inflation the average wage since the 1970’s has actually decreased?

    I saw a comment on here that said flipping burgers wasn’t an opportunity, it’s a slap in the face. Exactly! And this generation objects to this proverbial slap in the face. Why should we go flip burgers for minimum wage, continue to fuel the obesity problem in American, while my landlord who sits on his ass all day complaining about lazy kids charges me three times what I make.

    Hey previous generation, thanks for the housing bubble. You guys sure got that one right. A student who works 20+ hours a week is 50% more likely to not completely college. I think I’ll pass on the ‘get to work’ advice.

    What’s the real issue here? Resentment, that’s all. I sat on my lazy butt, went to college, got an education, and now I make a decent salary. If you resent that and wanna call me lazy, go for it.

    These comments about the internet and social media are ludicrous also. I would argue that a ‘lazy teen’ knows of more current events, news, and random facts from surfing the web in 10 minutes than an ‘old-school’ adult receives in an entire week from their 30 minute nightly newscast.

    The number of teens with jobs is the lowest it’s been since 1948. So what? 90% of the processes at Mc Donalds are automated today, what do you expect? It’s called progress.

  • Locke

    In the end, all the finger-pointing and blame being passed around whether its the older generation or the younger generation holds absolutely no weight in solving the problem.

    Obviously it is far too late to reteach the younger generation morals and hard work, but what can be done is encourage the portion of the younger generation who were taught properly and are driven to succeed.

    Since I currently attend University of Michigan as an engineering student, I see a fair amount of highly driven “younger generation” people who are willing to put in the hard work and put America back on its feet. These people will become the future of America as leaders of the younger generation and hopefully will prove to the rest that there is opportunity if one is willing the seize it.

    Now that is what the younger generation can do. What about the older generation? Well since you are currently the ones in power, policy needs to change and the rampant corruption in government and business needs to be revealed and brought to justice. Perhaps I don’t fully understand the “system”, but there are experts who do. This isn’t a problem that will be solved quickly or easily, but with everyone’s combined individual effort and willingness to change we can still instill the belief we had in ourselves as hard working Americans.

    Signing off, lets do work America.

    –Locke

  • Downtraught Dave

    I am a 25 Y.O. from Michigan. I opened my PC Repair shop just last year. We were open, almost to the day, one year when we HAD to close due to financial troubles. I have busted my ass in this ****ty economy, and i can guarantee i have had more jobs than most to just make ends meet. My wife now works at a local fast food restaurant, and i am going BACK to school just so we can put food on the table. We have no kids, unlike half the other “kids” i graduated with, but am expecting soon.

    I don’t disagree with this article, but i feel that under the circumstances that are laid in front of me I personally am doing “OK”. Yet i do see the next generation of young adults looking like those from the movie “idiocracy” We are seeing a “dumbing down” in society. Since when is it OK for a 13 year old to dress like a hooker and promenade around town not expecting to get “picked up”? Our country is not what we make it to be. We need to look at ourselves as a whole and slap the hell out of these new parents. They are making our society a stupid one to say the least. Think about it, do you want “little miss ho-bag” taking care of you in your retirement home. Go to any major convenience store, any major gas station, or better yet, look at the schools, they are becoming the dumbest and laziest generation. Check what the average I.Q. is today compared to 50 years ago and you will be scared.

  • Josh

    First of all, there are more kids getting a college degree then ever before. This is partially due to the amount of government funded student loans with low interest rates and partially due to the large number of “colleges” in which you can attend. It is no longer possible to get a degree in any field and be able to expect a job right out of college, and it is no longer possible to just maintain good grades and assume you will even get into a good college. For example, throughout High School I maintained a 3.9 average, was a member of several clubs, was an officer of our multicultural club, participated in several school productions, did volunteer work, and got great SAT scores however I barely got into a State school. This is the story of my generation, what used to be considered a great student is now the average. The economic problems we’re currently facing has only compounded the job problem by putting up veteran workers with degrees and experience against 22 year old kids. For example, a few weeks ago I had an interview for a position at Target. I sat down in their waiting room and had a nice conversation with a women who was also applying for the position. She was a thirty year old college grad with three kids who had lost her job and had a plethora of experience in comparison to me. Needless to say I did not get the position. In the past few months this has been the story over and over again for me. For a teenager like myself trying to get their first job without any family or friend connections it is near impossible to find even a minimum wage job. This kind of job environment is daunting for anyone out of work, and for a teenager job opportunities seem non-existent so many don’t even try. In conclusion, you can just say teenagers these days are lazy without trying to take into consideration the psychological effect that our current job market has on my generation.

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