Listen To Your Elders: Go West [East, South, or North], Young Man, And Grow Up With The World.
The New York Times ran a piece today that won’t be much of a surprise to readers of this blog, but it’s worth looking at. As the New York Times tends to do in all its douchey glory, it focuses on someone who’s not really “suffering” from the effects of the Great Recession. The NY Times specialty being banksters who had to give up the summer home in the Hamptons and the like – and this piece is [almost] no different:
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.
And then we find out why the Times was so willing to feature this kid:
Many hard-pressed millennials are falling back on their parents, as Scott Nicholson has. While he has no college debt (his grandparents paid all his tuition and board) many others do, and that helps force them back home.
Of course, grandpa and grandma paid his way…too cute. The story includes all those facts and figures that we’ve written about extensively here at AFEP, getting your first job in a recession leads to lower lifetime earnings, the Great Recession is making the millennials risk averse (who can take chances when there’s no right to fail!), etc. etc. etc. But there were a couple things in the article that really stood out for me. First, grandpa is a rock star!
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.
Good call William S. Nicholson!!! Now, despite an obviously wealthy relative encouraging it, and despite this:
“As frustrated as I get now, and I never intended to live at home, I’m in a good situation in a lot of ways,” Scott said. “I have very little overhead and no debt, and it is because I have no debt that I have any sort of flexibility to look for work. Otherwise, I would have to have a job, some kind of full-time job.”
Scott, for some reason, is still in the U.S., living off his parents, doing odd jobs, and, well, basically wasting his time. Now, look, I’m not going to call this kid a whiny douchebag and a wimp because that would be unfair, since I don’t know anything about him. Un and underemployment are soul-sapping experiences, and they can warp your perspective into something that merely seems douchey and wimpy. But, really, man you have to listen to grandpa:
They said it was connections more than perseverance that got them started — the father in 1976 when a friend who had just opened a factory hired him, and the grandfather in 1946 through an Army buddy whose father-in-law owned a brokerage firm in nearby Worcester and needed another stock broker.
From these accidental starts, careers unfolded and lasted. David Nicholson, now the general manager of a company that makes tools, is still in manufacturing. William Nicholson spent the next 48 years, until his retirement, as a stock broker. “Scott has got to find somebody who knows someone,” the grandfather said, “someone who can get him to the head of the line.”
Grandpa’s right again. Take some of grandpa’s money, and get your ass to South America, or Europe, or China, or India, or the Middle East. The people that you meet will be the ones in your network that are the risk takers, the future entrepreneurs, the people that can move you to “the head of the line.” Hell, maybe some of their risk tolerance and adventurous spirit will rub off on you.
Get the fuck out of Dodge. Do it now, seriously, right now! You have no excuse.