I got part of a programming degree before the bottom fell out of the tech industry and all of an AS in electrical design that cost me $60k in debt.
I got laid off 4 months ago. Because I refused to work 60+ hour weeks, I can’t get my old managers to call me back. As a 5-year industry veteran with no industry references, I can’t get hiring managers to call me back.
I’ve gone bankrupt to escape credit cards, but student loans are for life.
I have an ER bill I can’t pay, an untreated skin condition I can’t see anyone about, wisdom teeth coming in sideways I can’t get corrected, and asthma I treat with coffee to save the inhaler for emergencies.
I live on unemployment in two spare bedrooms in my mother’s double-wide.
I’m wiring books in the hopes of one day living on a skill I possess again.
And, if I’m very lucky I’ll be able to get a job in the fall working on a janitor crew a friend manages.
I AM THE 99%” (Occupy Chicago Facebook page)
CHICAGO, September 1, 2012 — This Occupy person wants our support. He wants a hug and some empathy. He is a victim of “the 1%.”
His Facebook entry is both a damning confession and an admission of sheer stupidity. This person knowingly and willingly signed the student loan papers. No one forced him to or held a gun to his head. He signed up for those loans with eyes wide open.
Student loans are just as toxic as subprime mortgages. If you take one out, you do so at your own risk. A degree does not guarantee employment.
When an employer took a chance on him, sans a degree, he did not want to work the hours required for the job. Evidently his personal time and recreation were more important than earning a living and paying off the student loans he cheerfully took out. 60+ hours a week at the start of his career in a highly competitive profession was just too much.
He wonders why his old managers are not calling him back? They found someone who is willing to work the hours he refused. They found someone with a work ethic instead of a recreation ethic.
Note, the Occupier does not state what his salary was, if the employer was paying him time and a half for the overtime, or providing benefits such as health care, which would have solved some of his other problems. If it was a full time job, there were some benefits.
He just did not want to work 60+ hour weeks.
He spent five years in the industry and he has no references. Whose fault is that? If you spend time in a job and you do not make friends and influence people, if you impress no one with the quality of your work, it is your own fault you have no references for employment.
This is a confession of willful failure.
This is the Generation Entitlement mentality, Generation “E.” Someone else owes them. Someone else should pay off loans they took out. Someone else caused their problems. They didn’t do that. Someone else did that to them.
Success or failure is not determined by what others do for you or to you. It is what you do for or to yourself. This person did not want to work the extra hours required for his job, so his employer just found someone who would. You either do the job, collect the paycheck, or you are unemployed living in mommy’s doublewide.
Here is another Facebook hero of the Occupy Movement, the 99%:
“I am a 24 year old college graduate. I have a B.A. in English. After 5 years of work to better myself, I am now working 40-50 hours a week making barely more than I did when I graduated from high school 6 years ago. I work 2 jobs and can’t afford to move out of my parents (sic) house even with a roommate. I have $33,000+ to pay in student loans. (I’m barely paying the interest.) I can’t find a full time job because I have no experience … no one will hire me so I can gain some! I’m stressed out and depressed. I feel trapped. The American Dream is dead for my generation. I AM THE 99%!!!”
It appears that Generation E thinks a college degree confers marketable skills. Her degree was in English. A little market research might have told her that if she wanted her degree to help land her a well-paying job, she should have majored in chemical engineering. She was never told that she actually needed a useful skill beyond the ability to warm a classroom chair in exchange for a piece of paper.
No one held a pistol to this young woman’s head forcing her to sign those toxic loan contracts. She did it of her own free will, accepting money “to better herself,” but not to provide herself with skills that would help her do well after college.
She’s right about one thing: The days are gone when a college degree entitled you to a good job, if that’s what she means by the “American Dream.” By itself, that degree means nothing.
Most of the country is suffering in this Great Recession. The entitlement mentality displayed by these two people makes things worse. They think they are owed something just because they exist.
Generation “E” spends more time complaining, protesting, and demanding than they do engaging in productive activities. There are people who spend most of their waking hours looking for gainful employment. They will do anything to make a living and will work whatever hours necessary or how many jobs they need to pay their bills. They don’t take out loans for education unless they have a clear plan to make that education pay off for them, and while they’re getting it, they treat their education like a full-time job.
These are responsible people. They may not be satisfied, their self-esteem may take a hit when things don’t work out as they planned, they may not have personal time for recreation, but they are determined to earn a living and pay their bills.
Generation “E” are the irresponsible generation, not the lost generation that progressives want them to be. Life is all about them, their personal needs and their oh-so-precious self esteem. They suffer under the delusion that jobs and careers will be organized around their personal lives so that they can feel good about themselves.
They have it backwards. When you work for someone, they make the rules. Employers are entitled to know what you are going to do for them, and what will do for you is predicated on that. Your ideas of what the job should do for you are immaterial to them. If you want to make the rules or determine your own future, start your own business. Then ask yourself, what kind of people do you want working for you? People who work for the success of your business, or people who ignore a product deadline if it gets in the way of a good time?
You have only one moral entitlement: a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. If you don’t get that, you are being abused.
The American Dream was based on work ethic, not entitlement. Generation “E” has no work ethic. They believe that the hard work their parents and grandparents poured into providing for their families helped make work obsolute. They think that in the new economy jobs exist only to make you happy, that the real world is like TV where being young and hip gets you a dream job, that if you work in the mail room you still get to wear Armani and Prada and spend your nights dancing in a club.
Welcome to the real world. You earn a living, it isn’t just given to you. If money is what you want, you trade for it, and all you have to offer in exchange are your skills and your talents, and your time. If you decide to buy some education and you need to borrow money for it, you make sure that the education will enhance the skills and the talents you plan to trade for money.
If you give them a reason to, employers will take a chance on you. They take a chance on everyone they hire. If they hire badly, they know that it will be their dreams and desires that are wiped out. They offer opportunity. It is up to you to take it and make it work for you by making it work for them.
You work for them. They do not work for you. Jobs aren’t about social compacts, social responsibilities, or social justice. They’re about private compacts, your responsibilities, and getting what you deserve.
Occupy is getting just as silly as the Tea Party. All they talk about are their so-called rights, not their actual responsibilities. If these people are the future, America is in deep trouble.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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