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Volume ∞ Issue ∞

One good turn

Fri, Apr 11th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

After six years of searching following my graduation from college and my semester of student teaching, I have landed a full time job. Despite five years experience as a teacher, the position is not in education due to both a cultural and governmental shift against the liberal arts and social sciences, along with education in general. I and others like me entered college with the promise of teaching jobs more plentiful than the buffalo of old, but when we exited college we’d found that Buffalo Bill Bear Stearns and the Wild Lehman Brothers had all but wiped the jobs out. As such, I spent the next half-decade in limbo, and am finally hopeful and excited about my new full-time job in logistics in the field of organic produce. Finally, at age 28 3/4, my wife and I can settle down and start a family.

We’re not the first generation to have these problems. My grandparents fought through Hell on Earth in World War II, and before that spat in the face of the Great Depression to finally come out on top, in their little houses made of ticky-tacky and their picket fences and RCA Victor television sets and Tang and Ozzie & Harriet.

My generation, the Millennials, have spent the years since the Financial Meltdown of 2007-2008 being tortured by society around us. Other generations have no doubt faced similar hardships, but it seems almost unique to my generation that we have suffered through times of no jobs, no money, and no future, with the additional label of no respect and no faith. No faith in our economy, no faith in our government and, most devastatingly... no faith in our skills and abilities. How can I say this with such finality? Because I am a survivor and there are many like me.

In a few weeks, I’ll be starting the new job. Had this been 2008, I would have gone into the situation with a spring in my step and a jaunty tune whistling through my lips. I was fresh out of college and believed I could do anything. But now, after six straight years of “impressive credentials” leading to “more qualified candidates” being hired, my confidence and my faith in my abilities is nearly broken.

The tasks in the job description are tasks that I have done in at least three or four of my part time jobs, but I cannot shake the horrible feeling in the back of my mind: you’re not good enough, you’re going to fail, you’ve been rejected consistently for five years. You simply don’t deserve this job. You’re a liar, you’re faking it. I’ve spoken with others my age as well who find themselves radically having to shift their career trajectories, and a similar depression sets in. For some, they see the job as oppressive and suffocating, like a talented artist forced to stock shelves and dig ditches. For others, there is a constant terror in the work they do, and they throw themselves headlong into the machine of business, willing to grind themselves to a powder doing task after task above and beyond their stated goals. They do not offer complaint, and they dare not ask for more compensation, because the fear is there: you are not good enough, what makes you think YOU deserve a raise? You couldn’t even find a job in the profession you went to college for.

I’m lucky. Yes, after six years, I’ve found a job in an industry I love, with people who seem to value hard work and will consistently challenge me to do more, be better. The spring is returning to my step. But there are still too many out there who are still on the rack and, in a ghastly twist, being told to be thankful for the opportunity. This situation cannot hold, it cannot stand, and who knows what the future might bring for my generation.

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