Every member of the Varney & Co. staff, from Stuart on
down, is still trying to get our heads around the fact that 70% of all the jobs
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filled since Jan. 2010 have been filled by people 55 and older.
There's a lot of good things to be said about this,
especially the fact that more and more older Americans are still energetic and
eager enough to get back into the workplace.
But it's not great news at all for younger Americans,
especially the ones just coming out of college.
Most of the experts we've asked about this have told us the
same thing: too many 20-something college grads lack the personal skills and
the sense of urgency to make it in the job market. And too many of them aren't
really making a serious effort to get a job in the first place.
Boy have times changed! I graduated in the middle of the
last real recession, (1991-92), and I had no real luck finding a "great" first
job. But even though I had just graduated from one of the most expensive
schools in the country, I didn't stand on ceremony waiting for a job that I
deemed "worthy" of my greatness.
Here's just a PARTIAL list of the jobs I took in the two
year period after graduation:
-Collection Agency Salesman
I went door-to-door at small businesses and tried to get
them to sign up for a collection agency service. The doctors, storekeepers etc.
LOVED the idea of getting some of the money people owed them, but didn't love
me so much when my company failed to make any promises on how much money they
would actually collect. I soon became an object of disdain at the strip mall
This job tutoring boys and girls for their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
and SAT's was the most lucrative, (I got $30-$35 per hour). But because I had
to drive all over the Washington, D.C. area only after school hours to get to
my clients, I couldn't see more than two kids per night.
-Hebrew School Teacher
Gave up my Sundays and one evening per week to make about
$15 per hour. I don't know if you're familiar with the attitudes of 8-10
year-old kids who have to go to religious school AFTER regular school and on
the weekends, but I assure you it's not "cheery."
-Cemetery Plot Telemarketer
Yes, this really was my job. Believe me, you haven't lived
until you've cold called someone at dinner and asked them if they wanted to buy
cemetery plots for their and their loved ones' inevitable demise. The worst was
the instructions we had to reject anyone who chose the less-profitable
cremation option. When the potential customer made the choice I had to say:
"that's fine ma'am, but if your mother or your husband died tomorrow are you
SURE you'd want them to be BURNED?"
Yes, these jobs were not easy nor the kind of thing they
promise you in the fancy college brochure. But I took the jobs because I had
to, and I owed it to my parents to get off of their expense column after 21
years of sacrifices on their part.
I remember telling my still-in-college friends about the
jobs I was taking and most of them laughed at me, and it is wasn't the nice
kind of laughter. Suffice it to say, those guys didn't stay my friends for very
And after about two years of juggling these less than dream
jobs, I decided to take out some student loans and gamble on a one-year grad
school program in journalism. Even before graduation, I started getting better
jobs in this field and have enjoyed working in TV news for 18 years.
That period after college graduation made me realize that a job is a
job and you always need to have a job. I am grateful I learned that when I did. Whatever today's parents and schools are doing to blur that
for today's college kids needs to STOP. Otherwise, no one under 30 will
decent job, or decent lesson in responsibility, ever again.