Ain't no cure for the summertime blues

Well-paying summer jobs and prestigious internships have vanished, reports the New York Times. Parents can’t afford to fund “art tours of Tuscany” for college students. The young are getting restless.

To a high-achieving generation whose schedules were once crammed with extracurricular activities meant to propel them into college, it feels like an empty summer — eerie, and a bit scary.

“Things have changed drastically,” said Ron Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace,” a book that only last year portrayed young workers as entitled and in a hurry. “It has to be a huge wake-up call for this generation.”

Numbers provide the backdrop to the story — not just the grimly familiar national unemployment rate, 9.5 percent in June, but the even scarier, less publicized unemployment figure for 16- to 19-year-olds, which has hit 24 percent, up from 16.1 percent two years ago. Internships available to college students have fallen 21 percent since last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Stop blaming parents for young workers’ sense of entitlement, writes Jessica Grose at XX Factor. It’s the economy, stupid.

For a while now, Generation Y has been portrayed as a bunch of sneaker-wearing lazybones who skateboard to the office and demand a four-day work week. But I would argue that the way Gen-Y workers used to behave had nothing to do with indulgent parents who told us we were infallible. The way young workers behaved in the first half of the decade had everything to do with the economy. In the mid-aughts, people of all ages were being entitled and demanding of their employers … because they could be. In a market where jobs are abundant, it’s logical for workers to try to get the most perks possible—whether or not their Mommies told them they were special.

By the way, federally funded retraining doesn’t help older workers get new jobs or increase their pay, concludes a Labor Department study. I remember similar results in the ’80s. Job training is very hard to do effectively; it’s even harder to predict the real “jobs of the future.”

Funemployed? Take a starve-cation, advises Iowahawk.

About Joanne


  1. The great part in Cloverfield was when all the Real World wannabes tried to escape lower Manhattan by running across the Brooklyn Bridge but then the monster flipped the bridge. Not that I’m not sympathetic to all these poor private college kids who can’t find a summer internship at a publishing house or the one who actually had to get a job at the amusement park but how do they think other kids put themselves thru college.

  2. How about low-paying summer jobs, like the ones I used to have?

  3. From the article: “In the mid-aughts, people of all ages were being entitled and demanding of their employers … because they could be.”

    So, Ms Grose is arguing that the “mid-aughts” were fat, happy years for job seekers? Where jobs were “abundant”? Interesting. My memories from that period are mostly about news stories telling us that the recovery (from the 1999-2000 downturn) was really “jobless” and that “real working people” were worse off than ever. Let’s take a look at the wayback machine…

    Here, for example, is a link to a book from 2005, called “Jobless Recovery”:

    Here is a link to an article from 2006 arguing that a “jobless recovery” is not really a recovery:

    Here’s a story from early 2005, “Jobless recovery begets wageless recovery”:

    There are lots and lots more where these came from, Google it yourself.

    So, no, “because they could” was certainly not the judgment of the time…