The Trials of the Twenty-Somethings

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


Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo4 years ago

Thank you for the news. Fortunately, all three of our sons are employed.

Sarah S.
Sally S4 years ago

The situation is very similar in the UK. One in five under twenty-fives are out of a job and most of them have never had something that could be called a 'proper' job. The press has already started to refer the them as 'the lost generation'. Our government, far from doing anything about the situation, seems to be making it progressively worse.

Part of the problem can also come from the kids families - many of them have been brought up to see themselves as the most important family member, expecting every wish to be fulfilled. Some, of my acquaintance, see themselves as so 'special' that they couldn't possibly do something as menial as flip burgers or scrub floors. They seem to think that they'll waltz into a job so well paid that they will be able to have all the things that the celebrities they read about have got. Few of these celebrities are celebrated for doing very anything constructive, and the kids think that somehow they too will be able to live like that. It comes as a tremendous shock to find out that out in the wide world they are very small fish indeed.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M6 years ago

I do hope young adults will hang in there! I can only imagine their frustration, however do what is necessary for now and have faith that more jobs will come soon!
Don't feel that you are crawling back kids were back and forth several times until they were able to make it on their own.

Julie F.
Julie F6 years ago

Its not just people under 30. It really sucks for people of every age!

Sion S.
Sion S.6 years ago

Why won't these kids do what I did starting at 13 ..which happens to be every job that is now going to undocumented workers... chicken and berry farming, babysitting, yard work, dishwashing, elder care. I can't find one single teenager in my neighbor to do this work for me now. I keep hearing how its beneath them..and from their parents too! In the city babysitting is paying more than minimum wish it was that nice when I was doing it. Kids get to work. The initiative, culture and skill sets that come from doing this work on your own are priceless. Instead I got parents coming to me now at parties asking if I can get their kid who is laying on the couch in front of me a posh internship at a company work with. HA! who wants a worker that not only can not wipe their own but and do their own dishes but can't even ask for their own job? And if you do not vote like most 20 somethings...shame on you.

Joshua Workman
Joshua Workman6 years ago

Furthermore, me, I do vote. I vote to try to get things the way I want them to be. A man can't win them all, I know that, but compare my voting record to the results of all the elections I've voted in since I turned 18, and most people would wonder why I even bother.

Joshua Workman
Joshua Workman6 years ago

@ Marie W.: It's easy to say that when you're the one being pandered to by politicians. I can't tell you how many political ads I see around here where I live in election season that are aimed at people over 50. If you or anybody want 20-some-odds like myself to be involved, how about they start acknowledging that we even exist, let alone that we're the ones who'll be making these decisions in 20, 30 years. Damn Republican dinosaurs pandering to similar fossils and corporations, voting themselves pay raises and tax cuts while doing the opposite to us poor people on top of takking million dollar bribes to vote one way or another, is it any wonder we don't show up? Idiot.

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Hey 18-30 year olds, never see you at political meetings fighting for workers, never see you voting, never see you taking an interest in politics though your lives are more at stake (especially the 18-30 year old females).
Maybe I am in the wrong area, but I noticed this many places. Jobs are part of social contract- not capitalism.
Pay attention to the political climate, that's where this all comes from!

Patricia P.
Patricia P6 years ago

Barry Obama - Sure, everything should go to the filthy rich, most of whom have inherited wealth and don't work. The top 20% of the population has 95% of the country's wealth, and most of this is held by the top 1%. The bottom 80% gets a huge 5% of the national wealth. What a great system crapitalism is! Karl Marx makes a lot of sense.

JW H.6 years ago

Gail: - where do these supposed 'rights' come from? Are you just making this up? How is the hope and change coming along?