The below is a direct response to an editorial published in my local fishwrap, today August 17th 2011. Yes the publication is free and this writer makes me regrettably feel like I get what I pay for. The content is so utterly repulsive and disgusting that I felt compelled to respond through this medium. I do find it interesting that I read this editorial while finishing the entry “My Unemployment,” and feel that a double posting on the same day would be an appropriate way to channel my rage. So without further adieu, this one’s for you, Scott Bolohan.
Scottie boy, I don’t even know where to begin with you. What prompted me to have this response is one simple idea: That our generation’s laziness and lack of reasoning justifies the expectation of handouts from the public and private sectors, and if not met, validates riotous behavior. You painted our generation, across the world, as entitled and lazy sob’s expecting handouts. Perhaps what triggered me is that there is a hint of truth in your column today. Our generation has been sold that college was a one way ticket to success, and we put so much faith into that message that we expected those degrees to do things that they have never done for any generation. That diploma has never been a one way ticket to success, for anyone in any generation, it only gives us a chance to compete in the market place, that’s it, you still have to make it happen. How do you make it happen you ask when all of your perceived doors are slammed shut and bolt locked, well follow me on the journey below. It would be a bit much to repost your column to my readers, enough residents in the beautiful city of Chicago have had to read your garbage today. So rather I’ll pull some of your priceless gems and provide my rebuttal, enjoy!
“The economy isn’t good for any American, but it’s particularly hard on us 20-somethings trying to get a start with our lives.”
Really Scotty, really?! The key here is to ask yourself one simple question, are you better off in your life today than you were five years ago? Whether you are or not, you only have yourself to blame. Five years ago today I was four months away from graduating college with my B.A. I worked part-time for a real estate company during my last term and was compensated with free rent. Due to my student loans and ZERO income I had a negative net worth. Nothing in savings, nothing for retirement and no credible work history. This was in 2006, the height of the real estate boom, companies were hiring and the ’08 bubble burst was still two years away. I came out of school with my little sheepskin expecting call backs on my resume and had none. Fast forward five years to today, my net worth stands at just shy of a quarter of a million dollars, I have a six month emergency fund, am regularly contributing to my 401k and Roth IRA, have mutual funds with average annualized returns of 18%, and plan to pay cash for my first home in about a year and a half, all during the “Great Recession.” The point here is simple Bolohan, the economy is what you make it. White collar jobs aren’t calling you back offering a cushy five figure income? Guess what, brace yourself because this dose of truth is going to hurt: There’s plenty of restaurants up and down Chicago, in all neighborhoods, that need tables wiped down, dishes washed and pizzas delivered. Success in life means having the heart and drive to do whatever it takes to keep your head above water and be accountable to yourself. Bootstrapping! It’s a term not used much by our generation but really gets the message across. It’s pulling yourself up by any and all means necessary to be self sufficient. Not relying on your parents, our inept government (both sides), or a company to solve your problems. You have to be responsible to yourself. And if you have to be in an office because you can’t get your wimpy hands dirty, entry level sales jobs at most companies across all industries are always hiring. Yes they are high turnover and high stress coupled with performance expectations, but you wanted a chance right? Very few of us are bred to be successful at direct sales, but a foot in the door is a foot in the door. The scenario I envision here is getting into a sales position with a company/industry you are interested in, bootstrapping for one to two years, proving yourself a valuable employee, and being patient for positions to open up in fields and departments that you want to pursue. A successful career is never a straight line, even when you own your own company and have limitless resources available. You still have to plan and adapt to what the market demands (“Who Moved my Cheese” would be a great book for you) which brings me to your next gem:
“And those who do barely are getting by with the amount of college loans we have to pay off.”
You seriously need to end the pity party, I’m not RSVP’ing. We all know that college is expensive. But you CHOSE to go to a private university rather than a state college, and community college (and its cheaper prices) was too good for you, right? Your “college experience” consisted of bar hopping with the collegiate faithful, and my ideal “college experience” includes working full-time at a real company building experience, and going to class to learn, not get over my hangover. Working through college and transferring to a state school from a community college is the most cost effective way to get the degree that you will need to compete for jobs. Could it take six years to get your B.A, probably, but I’d bet you’d trade for that any day of the week to get rid of your loans. You need to get yourself together, make an emergency fund, and snowball that debt, no one is going to do it for you.
”We need help from people capable of changing things, people who have the greater interest of the country in mind.”
You need help? Did you really expect our 43rd president to bring change? Did Bush 42’s tax cuts enrich your life? Did Bill Clinton’s balanced budget enhance your well being? Are we still feeling the effects of Reaganomics today? You will be met with bitter disappointment for the rest of your life expecting D.C. to improve your well being. You can count on two things from all politicians, regardless of affiliations: (1) they will steal your money, (2) they will waste your money. You have to support yourself. One of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey, that I wish I had come up, to paraphrase, goes something like this: “You will be the same person you are twenty years from now, making the same money you are today. The only things that change are the people you meet and the books you’ve read.” Having a high income will not change your happiness nor fulfillment. Live below your means, get on a plan and get over yourself, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” As for this “greater good” nonsense, if you want to live in a country that abides by that rule, then you need a delorean with a flux capacitor, and need to transport yourself to Soviet Russia circa 1970. The greater good, a level playing field, everyone being equal, whatever you call it, it’s doomed to failure. Our world has been there, tried that, got the t-shirt. Try re-reading your history textbook, if you haven’t sold it for beer money yet. This “greater good” that you subscribe too, does it happen to involve America’s best and brightest companies being forced to hire an unproven and unskilled labor force (a college degree does not equal job skills). Because that alone is a one way high speed ticket to economic collapse. Companies forced to be infiltrated by a generation of the “entitled” who depend on the
KGB US government for their well being, will be run right into the ground.
“The traditional path to American success is no longer is possible”
Look here genius, it’s not that the traditional path isn’t possible, it’s that it’s no longer being followed. Our grandparents and great-grandparents generation hated debt and saved for rainy days. They didn’t borrow against the value of their homes nor borrow against their 401ks. They lived below their means and succeeded in their lives financially without credit cards. They also stayed within their companies and/or industries for the majority of their working lifetimes. To me, that says that the ones of these generations that went to college, carefully evaluated what they wanted their careers to be in before setting foot on a college campus. Yes, interests change and there are always exceptions to the rules, but the past generations did a better job at thinking about what they wanted to make of their life than we are. America’s past generations, in the face of financial strains, dug ditches until their bodies exhausted, where was the last ditch you dug?
“We just haven’t been given a chance…I’m worried we’re heading down a path similar to the events that unfolded in London…My generation wants to participate. However if we continue to be ignored, it’s not hard to imagine frustrations boiling over and into the streets, and our leaders would have only themselves to blame. I hope it doesn’t come to that. But without any changes, it almost certainly will.”
Perhaps it’s my unusual sense of humor, but one of my favorite things to witness in this world is a parent at a grocery store trying to console a crying child that wants something immediately. The child screams, drags their feet, cries, and essentially throws a temper tantrum, leaving the parent stressed beyond belief trying to calm their child down. Unfortunately Scottie you are no longer a child. Being an adult means having to delay what you want immediately, for your own personal greater good. And when you’ve made mistakes along the way, an adult learns from them and deals with them on their own. I’m one of the biggest critics of the
KGB US government, I really am, but you are responsible for your own choices: You chose to go to a private college and take out loans, you chose to hold out for a cushy white collar job and not get your hands dirty with a minimum wage job, you chose to not have a liquid emergency fund and you chose to wait for the KGB US government to fix your problems rather than bootstrap and do it yourself. So Scot, I strongly urge you, read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” and learn to rely on yourself so that you aren’t sitting at home in your golden years waiting for a social (in)security check so you can eat.