Scott Nicholson needs a job. Or so reports the New York Times in a recent article. The problem isn’t that Scott can’t get a job. It’s that Scott can’t get a job he wants. Here’s one situation that lead to a job offer he turned down.
It was in pursuit of a solid job that Scott applied to Hanover International’s management training program. Turned down for that, he was called back to interview for the lesser position in the claims department.
“I’m sitting with the manager, and he asked me how I had gotten interested in insurance. I mentioned Dave’s job [his older brother who makes $75k, this job offer was for $40k] in reinsurance, and the manager’s response was, ‘Oh, that is about 15 steps above the position you are interviewing for,’ ” Scott said, his eyes widening and his voice emotional.
The article documents the lamentations of a self-described “hard worker” as he searches for his first real job, post-undergraduate education. It seems two realities are hitting him hard while avoiding the third.
- His expensive undergrad degree and good grades didn’t earn him squat.
- Even though his parents are connected, there’s no high paying job waiting for him post-graduation.
- He has no debt, his grandparents paid his way through school, and his parents are footing his kennel fees indefinitely. This is a blessing and a curse.
What I find interesting is this desire to hold out for the right job. Scott would rather not work than work a job he doesn’t like.
It’s not just Scott who does it. It’s kind of an upper-middle class phenomenon in America. College graduates hold out for a dream job that doesn’t really exist. Meanwhile, hungrier and harder working students trying to climb the socio-economic ladder continue to take more advantage of a system that rewards hard work… thereby disadvantaging lazier, idealistic, rich kids who are looking for a fast-forward.
It’s a cultural disadvantage facing the suburbs right now. Somewhere, somehow, they have bought into a lie that pursuing the American Dream is easy. And a good job is their birthright.
A trip into American history only reveals the opposite to actually be true.
I wrote last May that there was bad news coming for the suburbs and Scott’s story only adds an illustration to the point. The problem isn’t that there aren’t jobs. It’s that there aren’t jobs that recent graduates are willing to do.
That’s two separate problems.
Don’t be a moron
- Life is not a made for TV movie. We’ve never lived in a country that grants recent college graduates wishes for easy street. If you want the American Dream you have to do it just like the next guy… you take it.
- You are not Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or one of these 20 year old billionaires. See, they didn’t just wake up billionaires. They worked their butt off and earned billions of dollars with their good ideas. But it also took time, they got lucky, and they are smarter than you.
- Starting at the bottom is not humiliating. It’s the only strategy that works. See, the economy depends on people starting at the bottom and working their way up. Likewise, how else will you learn? It’s not like college prepares you for the real world.
- There’s nothing wrong with chasing dreams. Heck, I’m still chasing the same dream I started pursuing as an 18 year old! I’ve come pretty far– but I’ve still got a ways to go! But understand that the chasing of dreams can take a lifetime of steps in the right direction while avoiding many pitfalls. If your life were a novel, it’d suck if you reached your goal in chapter 1.
- Desperation is the key ingredient to success. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told parents… the best thing you can do to your post-college graduate is to stop feeding them, stop paying their bills, and make them either pay a real rent or kick them out. The smelling salt of items 1-4 above will never be accepted until a person wakes up to the reality that they are the ones who have to make something happen. If they don’t hustle, they don’t eat.