October 20, 2009
By J.T. O'Donnell I recently attended a dinner party where the attendees ranged in age from 23 to 68. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to the recession and horrible job market. The more 'seasoned' workers at the table started to rant about their circumstances. The dialog drifted from the lack of raises given out at their companies to the various friends whose spouses had lost their jobs and how it was making finances tight in their households. The 23-year old, a recent grad, sat silent. I turned to her and asked, "What do you think about all this." She said, "Well, I have no experience, have applied to a ton of jobs, but all I've been able to do for work is some babysitting for neighbors. I owe thousands of dollars in school loans and am living at home where my parents remind me daily how much my education cost them. At this point, I have no idea what I want to do with my life and don't see the situation improving anytime soon. And still, everyone just keeps telling me I'm young and will have the rest of my life to get ahead." It was clear she was worried. Yet, those at the table responded with, "It's true! You have your whole life to work. Our situation is more critical because we have a limited number of years left before we retire," then turned and continued talking. And just like that, her career reality was dismissed.