by Daniel L. Bennett
Aside from providing some interesting statistics that suggest that around 37 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed, with 23% not even looking for a job, The NY Times article entitled American Dream is Elusive for New Generation falls short of the expectations laid forth by the title. The article essentially tells the story of a young man, Scott Nicholson, who graduated from Colgate University with a BA in political science and history with no student debt. We're apparently supposed to feel sorry for this young man whose grandparents ponied up for the entire cost of his education and whose parents make $175k a year and continue to pay for his rent, cell phone and insurance, because his expectations for his first entry level job out of college are too high. A college graduate who has lived at home, whose parents have paid his bills for 2 years, and has accumulated nearly zero work experience is probably less than desirable for potential employers.
We're told that Mr. Nicholson turned down a $40k a year job (not great money, but a job nonetheless) as an associate claims adjuster with an insurance company because he essentially felt that his academic preparation entitled him to a higher position. Apparently, his college professors forgot to tell Nicholson that it is easier to find a job when you are employed than when you are unemployed. And, they forgot to inform him that you usually can't get promoted until you get your foot in the door and prove your worth. Thank goodness this fella doesn't have student loan debt to repay, or else he would be in real trouble. Perhaps this is part of the problem. If Nicholson had paid for some of his expenses in college (or after it), then maybe he would not have such a sense of entitlement and be willing to start at the bottom and try to work his way up. Apparently, the American Dream that anyone could make something of themselves by working hard has been modified that everyone is entitled to a good life...no work required.
Now to be fair, we are told that Nicholson's performance in college was stellar, having made the Dean's List, but that doesn't translate into automatic real world success. One still has to prove themselves in the workplace. Furthermore, Nicholson has shown some initiative in taking on odd jobs such as lawn care and putting up fences in his neighborhood. Perhaps this young man should take it upon himself to create his own job by expanding on the work that he is already doing. Persons operating their own lawn care or fence building companies can and do make very good money, along with the pleasure of being their own boss, setting their own schedule, and creating jobs for others. There is no better way to get real world business management experience than by starting and running your own business.
So come on Scotty, don't try to get sympathy because you haven't been able to find your ideal job, pick yourself up and make something of yourself through hard work. Being void of student debt and having a family that is supportive both emotionally and financially puts you in a position that is far better than many college grads who would love to get a job offer with a $40k salary attached.