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A New Generation, An Elusive American Dream

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/business/economy/07generation.html?ref=business

GRAFTON, Mass. — 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.

“The conversation I’m going to have with my parents now that I’ve turned down this job is more of a concern to me than turning down the job,” he said.

He was braced for the conversation with his father in particular. While Scott Nicholson viewed the Hanover job as likely to stunt his career, David Nicholson, 57, accustomed to better times and easier mobility, viewed it as an opportunity. Once in the door, the father has insisted to his son, opportunities will present themselves — as they did in the father’s rise over 35 years to general manager of a manufacturing company.

“You maneuvered and you did not worry what the maneuvering would lead to,” the father said. “You knew it would lead to something good.”

Complicating the generational divide, Scott’s grandfather, William S. Nicholson, a World War II veteran and a retired stock broker, has watched what he described as America’s once mighty economic engine losing its pre-eminence in a global economy. The grandfather has encouraged his unemployed grandson to go abroad — to “Go West,” so to speak.

“I view what is happening to Scott with dismay,” said the grandfather, who has concluded, in part from reading The Economist, that Europe has surpassed America in offering opportunity for an ambitious young man. “We hate to think that Scott will have to leave,” the grandfather said, “but he will.”

The grandfather’s injunction startled the grandson. But as the weeks pass, Scott Nicholson, handsome as a Marine officer in a recruiting poster, has gradually realized that his career will not roll out in the Greater Boston area — or anywhere in America — with the easy inevitability that his father and grandfather recall, and that Scott thought would be his lot, too, when he finished college in 2008.

“I don’t think I fully understood the severity of the situation I had graduated into,” he said, speaking in effect for an age group — the so-called millennials, 18 to 29 — whose unemployment rate of nearly 14 percent approaches the levels of that group in the Great Depression. And then he veered into the optimism that, polls show, is persistently, perhaps perversely, characteristic of millennials today. “I am absolutely certain that my job hunt will eventually pay off,” he said.

Crass stupidity, he got offered a job and rather than do that and keep looking he decides to have no job and keep looking.

What hell was the Deans award for academic excellence in stupidity?

At this juncture you take what you can get.

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Some people think this is a quick recession. Better to take the job, while still be open to new opportunities.

Edited by Money Spinner

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IRRO, are you now officially specializing in OT threads? :rolleyes:

I think it's quite relevant if this attitude is widespread amongst the young that they won't take jobs (especially amongst graduates) where they don't see a good career path the unemployment rate in this age group is going to get a lot worse.

Then factor in you need these people to support the property market to keep house prices up, how are they going to do that if they don't work?

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Complicating the generational divide, Scott’s grandfather, William S. Nicholson, a World War II veteran and a retired stock broker, has watched what he described as America’s once mighty economic engine losing its pre-eminence in a global economy. The grandfather has encouraged his unemployed grandson to go abroad — to “Go West,” so to speak.

“I view what is happening to Scott with dismay,” said the grandfather, who has concluded, in part from reading The Economist, that Europe has surpassed America in offering opportunity for an ambitious young man. “We hate to think that Scott will have to leave,” the grandfather said, “but he will.”

WTF are these people smoking? Come to Yurp (tm GWW) to get a job? Yeah sure, it's the land of milk and honey over here with streets paved with gold, where Americans are soooo popular. Freedom fries with your new war, you Marine poster boy you?

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I know lots of twentysomethings who quit their jobs without alternatives. Time was, the type of salaried office job he turned down would have got you a detached house, a decent pension, a car, and supported a stay-at-home wife and a couple of kids. The promise is always "get your foot on the ladder, you'll be able to work your way up once you're in there." No, you probably won't. The world is littered with people in their 30s who have done nothing but move sideways since they left education. They are living proof of the fact that it's not a ladder, it's a pyramid, and for the majority of the population nearer the base than the top there are no houses or pensions for you. So why work? Young people in 2010 may lack the political vocabulary of their grandfathers, but you can bet that when those grandfathers were 30 they wouldn't have accepted wages that were insufficient to keep a family fed and housed. So why should they?

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The fact that graduates are facing such bleak prospects is a serious issue, but this guy is an idiot. The university he went to is a second-rate school, yet he's expecting to be on some sort of corporate fast-track. The vast majority of graduates in the US (who didn't have the parents pay their way through university) are in a far worse position than he is.

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I know lots of twentysomethings who quit their jobs without alternatives. Time was, the type of salaried office job he turned down would have got you a detached house, a decent pension, a car, and supported a stay-at-home wife and a couple of kids. The promise is always "get your foot on the ladder, you'll be able to work your way up once you're in there." No, you probably won't. The world is littered with people in their 30s who have done nothing but move sideways since they left education. They are living proof of the fact that it's not a ladder, it's a pyramid, and for the majority of the population nearer the base than the top there are no houses or pensions for you. So why work? Young people in 2010 may lack the political vocabulary of their grandfathers, but you can bet that when those grandfathers were 30 they wouldn't have accepted wages that were insufficient to keep a family fed and housed. So why should they?

WHY WORK? IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD IF YOU DONT WORK YOU DONT EAT.

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The fact that graduates are facing such bleak prospects is a serious issue, but this guy is an idiot. The university he went to is a second-rate school, yet he's expecting to be on some sort of corporate fast-track. The vast majority of graduates in the US (who didn't have the parents pay their way through university) are in a far worse position than he is.

I can agree with your other sentiments, but Colgate University is not second-rate.

Colgate University is rated 29th in the US by Forbes Magazine.

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WHY WORK? IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD IF YOU DONT WORK YOU DONT EAT.

That's funny, last time I checked Britain wasn't a third world country. We have tens of millions of good quality brick homes, a modern transport and utility infrastucture, highly productive agriculture and manufacturing etc, and young British workers are supposed to be happy to work for a bowl of rice a day? Or maybe you think they should keep working, but then moan about their wages on the internet and go on marches etc? The only power workers have if they are unhappy with their pay or working conditions is to refuse to work.

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Isnt Boston a hideously expensive and overtaxed part of the US?

Probably figured at $40k its better to decline it and have the govt give you money to do nothing rather than work and have the govt take most of it. Like 1/4 or so people in the UK.

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Isnt Boston a hideously expensive and overtaxed part of the US?

Probably figured at $40k its better to decline it and have the govt give you money to do nothing rather than work and have the govt take most of it. Like 1/4 or so people in the UK.

It's the US, doubt the government is giving him money. Depends how long his parents will support him. I hope he is doing something with his spare time.

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What hell was the Deans award for academic excellence in stupidity?

At this juncture you take what you can get.

'merkins have lots of awards. I expect not to have got an award over there would be like ... not getting an honours degree :unsure:

And Boston is the home of MIT and Harvard ... real graduates! WTF is Colgate (other than a brand of toothpaste)?

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WHY WORK? IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD IF YOU DONT WORK YOU DONT EAT.

doesn't apply to him.

Nor to many in the poorest countries in the world.

Granted their parent's are loaded.

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On a connected note it will very interesting seeing educated young unemployed , having time to coordinate their thoughts

about the whole economic situation and their part , now and future in it.

Once the natural aversion to uncivility is overcome through bitterness resulting from the hopelessness of their economic predicament.

The incumbent "oldies" better pass the batton over pronto when these rumblings manifest ,because, whatever happens, youth with its health + brains will "kick the sxxx" out of any 50+ yr old.

Frankly they'll have my support .

Major fxxxUps need a matching major opposing fxxxUp counter strike.

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“I view what is happening to Scott with dismay,” said the grandfather, who has concluded, in part from reading The Economist, that Europe has surpassed America in offering opportunity for an ambitious young man. “We hate to think that Scott will have to leave,” the grandfather said, “but he will.”

OMG, no wonder he is so lost. Do these people take The Economist seriously? A publication with a 600-word solution to every problem..

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“We hate to think that Scott will have to leave,” the grandfather said, “but he will.”

See? They are kicking him out of the house.

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you need these people to support the property market to keep house prices up, how are they going to do that if they don't work?

They go on the "sowsh" and claim housing benefit.

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I know lots of twentysomethings who quit their jobs without alternatives. Time was, the type of salaried office job he turned down would have got you a detached house, a decent pension, a car, and supported a stay-at-home wife and a couple of kids. The promise is always "get your foot on the ladder, you'll be able to work your way up once you're in there." No, you probably won't. The world is littered with people in their 30s who have done nothing but move sideways since they left education. They are living proof of the fact that it's not a ladder, it's a pyramid, and for the majority of the population nearer the base than the top there are no houses or pensions for you. So why work? Young people in 2010 may lack the political vocabulary of their grandfathers, but you can bet that when those grandfathers were 30 they wouldn't have accepted wages that were insufficient to keep a family fed and housed. So why should they?

Spot on

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WHY WORK? IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD IF YOU DONT WORK YOU DONT EAT.

Yes but in those parts of the world, the words 'work' and 'crime' are conjunctive.

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Guest sillybear2

That kid seems like a spoilt grade A a$$hole, no student debt and a decent job offer, I blame the boomer parents :P

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He is 24 ,

Maybe he will live to regret turning that job down for a very long time.

We have all made descisions in our life that other people who frown upon , and say things like " who did you think you were ? " " why did you do that ? " ect.

But that is life we all make right and wrong descisions and we all have regrets. Anyone who says they have no regrets is either a liar or have not lived , the same goes for mistakes.

Maybe he was arrogant , but quite a lot of people that age are as they have not learnt the harsh lessons of life yet .

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Guest sillybear2

He is 24 ,

Maybe he will live to regret turning that job down for a very long time.

Indeed, if the job really wasn't his cup of tea then he could always leave it later on, hopefully to something better. But he wants the perfect job and the perfect career path handed to him with a ribbon on top like a Christmas present, and it has to be every bit as good as what his brother has already got, he's basically acting like a spoilt 4 year old. He's a 24 year old without any experience in the toughest job market in at least a generation, even a job in his dad's tooling factory would be something and they're laying people off, that should really hit home, but it hasn't.

Time to confiscate the Playstation.

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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