A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

August 22, 2012

The Next Generation of American Workers: Are They Strong Enough To Endure?

     I'm really worried.  I have had the occasion to observe, as well as talk to, many young people who have just graduated from college, or are about to enter the halls of academia in the next couple of years. They all seem so unaware of how quickly their reality could change. 
     Those that spent tens of thousands of dollars on a college education now find themselves unable to find employment; facing the very real possibility that they may not be able to afford to move out of mom and dad's basement in the foreseeable future.  With astronomical school loan debt, they are forced to take a part-time job, (or two) at an hourly rate far less than the lofty salary they thought went hand-in-hand with a college degree.  Their resum├ęs and applications go unanswered, the job offers never materialize, and they appear stunned that no one warned them this might happen.  And many of them think the solution is to pile on more debt and go to Graduate School!  They think, "Surely, someone will want to hire me, then."
     Which is what concerns me about those in the final stages of their high school education.  They blindly follow the same game plan of their parents; twelve years of primary and secondary education, with the expectation that they will follow this with four years of undergraduate schooling, and then proceed right into a six-figure salary.  What are their parents thinking?  Where have they been the last four years?  
     The recent college graduates are suffering from anxiety and depression.  I know, because I'm seeing it in my own family.  They are almost shell-shocked.  "This is not how it was supposed to be." And the saddest part of this new reality?  Many of them can't see that it probably won't get better for awhile.  They still think that a college degree equals a job.  They've been told their whole lives that this is the natural progression towards prosperity; that without a college degree you don't stand a chance.  Now that they are faced with a new reality, will they be able to regroup?  Reinvent themselves and forge a new path to success?  And will their parents be able to accept this new paradigm?
     But, let's go back to the high-schoolers.  It's not too late for them.  I can't imagine, in this economic environment, that any parent would be willing to saddle their child with mountains of college loan debt.    Yet I know many who just can't visualize their child taking another route to a fulfilling occupation or profession.  I've talked about it before .... there are some jobs where an academic education is necessary.  The medical profession is one.  But there are many in which a young person could intern or train, while earning a respectable salary and gaining valuable hands-on experience.  Within a few short years, they can achieve certification and begin their own company or organization; all without compiling a sizable debt.
     I guess here's where I'm going with this:  I am seriously worried about the state of mind of millions of twenty-somethings who could become disillusioned with America and her vast opportunities.  When hope and possibilities vanish, I'm scared that they will become prime targets for socialist propaganda.  They will listen to anyone who promises them a home of their own and food on the table --- even if it comes in the form of a handout.  They've already been bombarded with messages of "social justice" and "collective conscience" while receiving that expensive college education.  Thoughts of "American exceptionalism" and "ingenuity" have all but been erased from their impressionable minds. 
     So how do we remedy this and change the course of the next generation of American workers?   I'm afraid I don't have the answers.  But I DO KNOW it doesn't lie in a worthless diploma and a degree in political science or african studies.  We need manufacturers and tradespeople in this country!  We need to learn skills, not how to earn money for a non-profit organization!  Until we can redirect our goals and aspirations, and teach our young adults how to work for themselves, instead of waiting for someone to give them a paycheck, I'm not sure they have the fortitude to weather this season in America.  And I'm not sure they will secure this great country for a future generation.  
     Those of us who have learned the value of inventing ourselves, (instead of letting the State and Educators tell us what we should be) need to mentor and advise.  We need to train up this generation who are disappointed and discouraged; we need to point the way to a reinvigorated American dream.  And that means talking to them about their political choices --- they make a difference!  Talk to them about career choices; if you have a marketable skill such as electrician, welder, or mechanic, you will always have a job.  Those occupations may not sound as sexy as an Artistic Director or Digital Media Manager, but I guarantee you this:  you won't ever have to live in your parents' basement!  Let's do what we can to help this floundering generation see the light and put America back on the path to unparalleled excellence.

1 Corinthians 10:13    "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

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