There’s a stunning article in yesterday’s New York Times: “American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation.” From the headline, you think you’re going to get a heartfelt story about young people struggling to get by. But no:
After breakfast, his parents left for their jobs, and Scott Nicholson, alone in the house in this comfortable suburb west of Boston, went to his laptop in the living room. He had placed it on a small table that his mother had used for a vase of flowers until her unemployed son found himself reluctantly stuck at home.
The daily routine seldom varied. Mr. Nicholson, 24, a graduate of Colgate University, winner of a dean’s award for academic excellence, spent his mornings searching corporate Web sites for suitable job openings. When he found one, he mailed off a résumé and cover letter — four or five a week, week after week.
Over the last five months, only one job materialized. After several interviews, the Hanover Insurance Group in nearby Worcester offered to hire him as an associate claims adjuster, at $40,000 a year. But even before the formal offer, Mr. Nicholson had decided not to take the job.
Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.
Wow. Just wow. Sense of entitlement much?
It gets worse:
Scott Nicholson almost sidestepped the recession. His plan was to become a Marine Corps second lieutenant. He had spent the summer after his freshman year in “platoon leader” training. Last fall he passed the physical for officer training, and was told to report on Jan. 16.
If all had gone well, he would have emerged in 10 weeks as a second lieutenant, committed to a four-year enlistment. “I could have made a career out of the Marines,” Scott said, “and if I had come out in four years, I would have been incredibly prepared for the workplace.”
It was not to be. In early January, a Marine Corps doctor noticed that he had suffered from childhood asthma. He was washed out. “They finally told me I could reapply if I wanted to,” Scott said. “But the sheen was gone.”
“The sheen was gone.” Seriously? You decided against the Marines because “the sheen was gone”? Oh, Mary.
The article is baffling. “American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation”? Who titled this piece? Cry me a river. You get a job offer and you turn it down because you think it’s not good enough for you?
I really hope this piece was designed to go viral from disgusted readers passing it on to other people. Because if it’s not that… no. That’s really the only possibility. Right? The New York Times can’t be that out of touch. Could it?
I was reading the article and felt nothing but scorn for the guy. But then I decided to try and empathize. Not sympathize, but empathize. Is it necessarily his fault that he has the sense of entitlement he does? Or was he just raised that way? Twenty-four is adulthood, but not necessarily maturity. And it’s really none of my business what kind of job this guy takes.
Still… I think he’s going to regret being interviewed for a long, long time.
And after reading that article in concert with this one, I really wanted to throw things at my computer monitor this morning.