Millennials are perhaps the most academically educated generation in our nation.
The media has tagged them as the most overindulged, self-aggrandizing and "plugged in" group of young adults ever. The millennial's major gripe is that there are no educationally appropriate jobs for them in this economy.
The answer to their present and temporary dilemma is in their hands. Instead of complaining about their economic limitations on social media, they need to create their own opportunities by their own effort, brain power and perseverance.
They should learn from other periods of economic downturn. The same limited job opportunities existed for citizens during these times. Every immigrant group throughout our history had to face employment resistance. The Irish, in the mid 1800s were confronted by signs saying "No Micks Wanted." The Swedes, Polish, Greeks, Jews, Italians and Hispanics overcame the roadblocks to work by first doing jobs no one else wanted.
The veterans returning from war, especially from World War I and Vietnam, faced difficult employment reception. There were virtually no government safety nets to support them. It was work or amount to nothing. The GI Bill was there for vets after World War II but many of them had personal responsibility to their families. They worked while getting an education. Most joined the labor market full time before reaching their educational dreams.
Today, educated retirees are taking whatever jobs they can get due to age discrimination. They are employed in supermarkets, retail sales and as assistants in small businesses to survive these tough economic times. These retirees did what they had to do.
Overcoming job discrimination has never been easy. All these previous groups had to take positions below their ability, talents and education. They had to start at the bottom to reestablish references that could vouch for their present work ethic and abilities by actually demonstrating them on the job. The networking that they did was not through self-praising in a social media site but rather by developing a profile through the sweat of their brow.
After learning the business they became employed there and some moved to higher paying jobs. Some with entrepreneurial spirit created their own small business operations, often as a second job. They worked most of the time without getting a profit until the business became viable enough to quit the other job. They earned the privilege to run their own businesses and began to work for themselves at last. A person's sacrifice and effort is the key that opens the doors for employment and advancement.
Today ivory tower credentialed students gain a dubious piece of paper. These graduated college students have an over inflated impression of their value to a businessman. It is not about how many credits or grades a student has earned in gaining an academic degree but what a person brings to the business to make it better, which is usually shown by starting at the bottom and working up the ladder.
The beginning employee has to prove his worth not believe he is entitled to start at the top. The arrogance of the millennials could be their worst flaw in developing into viable employees. They expect to begin making top dollar in a high level position. Most millennials refuse to "pay their dues" as did past citizens.
Today, a person who wants to make $80 an hour as a plumber initially serves an apprenticeship. He has to start as an assistant. He has to do whatever dirty work the master plumber wants until the plumber thinks he has studied his actions sufficiently to do more on his own. The apprentice earns his status in the same way a mentored teacher reaches a level of competence to be considered qualified.
Institutions of higher education have made the millennials believe that their piece of parchment paper would be the key that effortlessly and automatically opens the door to a high paying job in their field of interest. Instead, it has fostered angst, disenchantment and paralysis for these young adults. The promotion of higher education has misrepresented the acceptance of college diplomas as a union pass. This misconception is angering many millennials, which prevents them from eagerly beginning to climb up the ladder to success.
Domenick Maglio, PhD is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program in Spring Hill. Read more of his columns at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.