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Those Lazy Millennials

Because I see every post that comes in, I see good discussions that most of you probably don’t because the threads they’re on have fallen off the main page. Here’s a comment from Erin Manning, in which she engages Dr. Mary Russell on the subject of whether or not twentysomethings are behaving like slackers, and their mothers are letting them hang around the house sponging, instead of getting out into the world and making their own way. Mary says she’s seeing a lot of that in her practice; Erin sees things differently. Here’s what Erin posted last night:

Well, Mary, I know this is off-topic to Rod’s post and the post has fallen off of the main page–maybe sometime we’ll have a discussion here about what today’s young people face, and how it compares to our own “starving student” days.

I don’t want to share personal details about my nephews, but since they live in rural Ohio it’s not a matter of needing to bike or walk to work. That’s not even possible. They share a car, though, and my sister is willing to drive anyone for whom the shared care schedule doesn’t work out. There are no jobs. Not in the nearby cities, not in the suburbs, not in the country. Entry level jobs where these kids live routinely garner applicants with masters’ degrees in the fields in question among the hundreds who apply, so how does a 20-year-old compete with that?

I’m sorry, but I keep hearing young people dissed as being lazy or unambitious or not willing to go through what we went through. I worked my way through college, too, taking semesters off to do so; I once had to borrow $40 for two weeks worth of groceries while waiting for a tiny bit of savings to arrive from my bank account in my home state (which took a lot longer back when they had to mail you a check), and so on. But even during that early 1990s recession I could still find work. I see a lot of desperation among young twenty-somethings because they finally find a job, only to discover that they have to accept no more than 20 hours a week spread out so randomly that a second job is impossible (and some employers like to tell these kids: if you need a second job, then you don’t really need this one; I’ve got dozens of people who won’t ask me to schedule their hours around another job, so I don’t need you). A lot of that is because of Obamacare–so long as your workers are part time or temporary you don’t have to pay for their health care. Some of the kids who work at a local big-box grocery store have had their hours cut periodically down to 9 (nine) hours a week to keep them from accidentally triggering mandatory coverage. Nine hours a week making about $8 an hour for the company whose CEO brought home $24 million in salary and other compensation last year.

Could you manage to rent that apartment you mentioned above, even with no furniture, on an average of 25 hours a week at $8 an hour? And that’s an optimistic average these days–just talk to some of the kids you see at your local retailers to find out what it’s really like out there. Maybe there are slacker kids in some places–but there are a lot of kids who did everything their parents did and are finding out now that there’s nothing out there for them–oh, but we need more H1b visa tech workers because this is apparently a whole new category of jobs Americans won’t do…

Hey, if you comment on this, please refrain from being snarky or snide. This is a painful and difficult issue to discuss. Let’s be civil.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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