I don’t know who Matthew C. Klein is, but I like him. I like Matthew because he wrote an Op-Ed piece entitled “Educated, Unemployed, and Frustrated” for the New York Times on March 21st, and in doing so, is one of the few of us early 20-somethings attempting to tell the world how we feel. We’ve been mocked on the cover of The New Yorker, labeled boomerang kids by those who need catch phrases, and attacked in the New York Times Magazine. But we’re not just fodder for a cartoon. We’re young adults stalemated, stuttering in our attempt to get going. But we have a voice.
“The millions of young people who cannot get jobs or who take work that does not require a college education are in danger of losing their faith in the future…Even if the job market becomes as robust as it was in 2007… my generation will have lost years of career-building experience.”
Right On, Matthew, right on.
Us educated 20-somethings trying to find work in saturated job markets, where entry level positions are going to applicants technically at a “mid-career” stage, are living in a constant state of uncertainty. It’s a Catch-22. The process is frustrating, and we’re forced to be victims — you can’t say to a potential employer, who may take weeks to get back to you, “Please, Sir/Madam, could you make your decision on me a little faster — I’d like to get my life together now.”
There are many times over the last few months when I wanted to bash my head against a wall — like when I learned an email I sent to an old boss about a job opening at her museum went into her spam folder. She liked me for the position, and would have gone to bat for me, but didn’t get my email until after the position had been filled with another applicant. Lesson learned? Pick up the phone.
Someone told me landing that first job is all about luck. And while luck hasn’t necessarily been on my side, I’ve managed to stay cheery. Remember, if all else fails, there’s always my back-up career as a wingwoman.
I try to be practical. Interviewers do have jobs after all, and they have work to do: “There was just an opening in their gallery — I’m sure they’re busy.”
Then another week passes. No one has said “No” yet, so I’m still inclined to give the company the benefit of the doubt:
“There must have been a fire in the building and they’re not allowed back into their offices this week.”
Yea, that explains it. I’ve only heard back on a handful of job applications because of an unannounced outbreak of wastepaper basket fires raging across the tri-state area. And apparently, Mercury just entered retrograde.
Okay, it’s not me or my resume — it’s Mercury and office fires. I feel better now.
3 thoughts on “Educated, Unemployed, Frustrated, but Looking on the Brightside”
WAY TO BE EMPLOYED. BOOM. THIS POST IS OUT OF DATE.
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I had to chuckle when I read your post, particularly where you mentioned having lost years of career building experience.
I’m a baby-boomer in my mid-fifties who has been very-very sporadically employed since the end of the dot com era in this lovely wasteland between San Francisco and San Jose that used to be known as the Silicon Valley.
We’re all in this wash-n-rinse cycle together. Personally, I think Clinton “fathered” it and Bush catalyzed it. Regardless, it’s a lot bigger than any one individual or group.
What I worry about most right now is the surging Hispanic population versus the rest of us. If you were to watch TV in Spanish, as I do nightly with my wife, it would soon be apparent, as it should be to all Americans, that Univision is blatantly challenging the rest of us behind our backs, so to speak, practically flaunting the fact the we don’t speak Spanish.
This is very similar to what happened to Germany following WW I with the Jews and some historians believe, factors into why Hitler targeted them for mass extermination. Needless to say, Hitler was crazy; but a lot of ordinary people bought in when things on the street got tough.
Forgive me if it seems like I’ve foisted the subject away from unemployment. I live in California though where the demographics has already radically changed our way of life. As an older white guy, I definitely feel culturally marginalized by my age and my race, let alone my sex, which is relevant only because traditionally office work was done by women. During my generation came about things such as affirmative action, equal opportunity, the civil rights movement, all of which were hard fought and hard won battles which changed things for the better for everyone — EVERYONE.
Today it seems we’ve been set back a good 50 years by an apparently invisible enemy who keeps his back to the sun and blinds us with a mirror with the word RACIST scribbled across it for good measure.
If the question were as simple as “and all this, for what?” I would rejoice in weathering out the storm. Instead though, the question seems to be boiling down to a more inflammatory “and all for whom?”
The covert politics on the street level are cut-throat. When the same political agendas become overt, we might have more serious problems on our hands than you or I might want to imagine.
Obama is great. He can talk up a storm, can’t he? But citing one example out of millions, that is someone who has managed to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations like himself, has not and will not put everyday Americans back to work. With respect to undocumented immigration, our man Barak is a clueless innocent about what he’s actually dealing with. America is going through adolescent growth pains. The countries south of the border have been around and through quite a lot. They were here when we got here, they are here now, and they will – one way or the other – be here long after we’re gone.
We know and some even use the saying “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” What we don’t want to face apparently is that American has always depended on a steady stream of cheap human labor to propagate magnificent wealth for a privileged few, referring to indentured servitude, African slaves and now –yes, undocumented immigrants.
Traditional avenues to success don’t seem to be panning out. I find myself going in more than going out. So, perhaps we are on the cusp of a new spiritual revolution – one in which old karmic patterns actually resolve into a better world for the individual who knows better — once and for all — the vanity of trying to foist one’s personal reality onto anyone else.