I’m 27 years old. I live in Oregon, which has the eighth-highest unemployment rate in the country (as of Feb. 2011), and Portland, where I live, has an even higher rate than the state average. I can’t tell you how many of my friends are unemployed or have gone back to school even though they can’t really afford to.
So when Our Time launched their campaign called “F#%k I need a job!” I have to admit those are words I’d heard before. My friends (all of whom have Bachelors and some of whom have Masters degrees) are competing against ex-Executive Directors when they apply for a job. They get emails in response to their applications that say, “We have received hundreds of applications and will make our final decision in two months.”
So what are people my age supposed to do? Go back to school? After only a few years in the workforce (sometimes just at a coffee shop in order to pay the bills) many of my friends would have to go into serious debt in order to go back to school. And many of them have opted for that choice, but I completely understand those who have hesitations when it comes to voluntary debt. Others have crawled back to their parents in their mid-twenties, tails between their legs.
And the sad thing is, my friends are driven, smart, talented people. They are certainly not slacking off. They have goals, dream jobs, and plans for how to get where they want to go. But the resources are just not there for them to achieve their goals.
There has been a lot of talk lately about budget cuts, programs being threatened, etc. This is all important news, and we need to fight for these programs to stay intact. But the story that’s being grossly neglected by the media is the fact that the future leaders of our country — 18-to-30-year-olds — are being grossly neglected and are struggling to make lives for themselves that will allow them to contribute to the economy down the road.
So, if we think things are bad now, just imagine them when me and my generation are older and we have nothing to contribute to the economy because we haven’t saved a dime. Are we all doomed to pass by the American Dream altogether because of mistakes that were made by our predecessors?
Too many people are being left behind. Americans under 30 are the future of this country, and we need to be investing in them. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, sign this action to join the movement.
Photo courtesy of Our Time