In the influential The New York Times, the Editorial Board laments how those 18 to 24 got caught in lousy-economy timing.
That generation, observes the Board, "should have been the lucky ones." They were born at a time to wait out hard times. But hard times didn't end, as they had with previous downturns. Tragically, the Board notes, "While the worst is over, economic conditions are still subpar, damaging the immediate job prospects and long-term living standards of young adults starting out now." Here is that opinion-editorial (op-ed).
In grade school we had babysitting jobs, ran errands for neighbors and mowed lawns. In high school, with work permits, we were hired for part-time positions by organizations which were going to become the Fortune 500. I lucked into six years, including full time during school vacations, with the telecommunications company which would become part of AT&T.
No one is born knowing how to go to work. That happens on the job. We are socialized how to comport ourselves with The Man, compete without alienating co-workers and take advantage of opportunities such as training, development and job rotation.
Youth today are shut out from that. They lack the skills and insight about how to get jobs, how to keep jobs, how to get ahead on the job and how to seek out and find better jobs. It was on that platform that I built my own communications boutique when the Fortune 100 cut me loose in middle age. My time had run out in corporate. But I was able to reset the clock as one of the growing number of Baby Boomer self employed.
No, this generation won't be able to play catch-up. There aren't enough jobs out there and there won't be. Instead there will be contract work which demands those hired already know the ropes. That means everything from being socialized to possessing marketable skills and a knowledge base.
Even currently I can land work when I need it or want it. Focused on supplementing revenue from my executive communications boutique, I went and applied for a job in Manhattan. There I competed with youth. I got the job. Here ABC interviewed me about landing on my feet, despite my age and a stagnant economy.