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July 07, 2010

NYT Searches for Clue, Can't Find One


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.

I'll bet you know where this is going:

Over the last five months, only one job materialized. After several interviews, the Hanover Insurance Group in nearby Worcester offered to hire him as an associate claims adjuster, at $40,000 a year. But even before the formal offer, Mr. Nicholson had decided not to take the job.

Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.

Question: if your current job search strategy netted only one job offer in 5 months, do you think there's a chance you might decide to change things up a bit?

Bonus round: if you had been living with your parents for two years, don't you think perhaps ANY job would be better than continuing to mooch off Mommy and Daddy?

I can't even begin to grasp the bloated sense of entitlement it must take to maintain the bubble this kid is living in. It's great if your parents can afford to put you through college. My daughter in law's couldn't, so she worked all the way through high school and college and paid her own way. After graduating and moving to the East coast, the only job she could find quickly was working in a day care center.

She took it, and continued to save. On the weekends she watched other people's kids (yes, a no kidding college graduate babysat). The money was still green.

She proceeded to put herself through grad school and earned a teaching degree.

This "kid" has had everything handed to him on a silver platter so naturally, he considers a manufacturing job at his father's company to be a defeat? Hell, I wouldn't hire him either.

When was the American dream redefined to mean that America owes you the job of your dreams? To listen to our President, we shouldn't have to exert ourselves and we certainly don't have to pay our own way or move to where the work is. Instead, lucrative and prestigious jobs should magically drop into our laps like manna from heaven.

But don't think finding a job means the end of self pity. Somewhere, someone has more than you do and chances are you've got a raw deal compared to your parents.

Posted by Cassandra at July 7, 2010 03:19 PM

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I like your dil. Sounds a lot like you. I have been ruminating around...and if I got a job that offered that kind of scratch at my age, I would leap on it.

Posted by: Cricket at July 7, 2010 05:16 PM

She's a wonderful wife and mother and she was a hell of a teacher too before she decided to have children and wanted to be at home with them during the first few years of their lives.

I couldn't be prouder of her :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 7, 2010 05:21 PM

"If you talk to 20 people," Scott said, "you’ll find only one in manufacturing and everyone else in finance or something else." Generally, people who manage their careers by trying to do what everyone else is doing doing wind up doing too well. (GE CEO Jeff Immelt, in warning Dartmouth students to avoid the herd instinct, observed that the most popular employer choice for members of his own B-school graduating class (1982) was a then-trendy videogame company, Atari.)

Also, a combination of political science degree and history minor is not a particularly good entre for a finance job. I might hire someone like that for a marketing or sales job, if he had the right kind of mind and personality, but for finance I would want the specific disciplinary knowledge.

Posted by: david foster at July 7, 2010 06:26 PM

I meant to say "Generally, people who manage their careers by trying to do what everyone else is doing DON'T wind up doing too well."

Posted by: david foster at July 7, 2010 06:27 PM

Someone was trying to convince me the other day that my opinion on savings had no value because I couldn't understand the point of view of "the worker." (He doubted whether I'd ever been one.) It got me thinking about the variety of things I've done for a paycheck: waiting tables, painting crew, secretary, word-processor (back before people processed their own words and you had to learn how to use the new-fangled devices), nude model for art classes, guinea pig for med students to practice their exam techniques on, architectural draftsman, furniture assembler, drafter of environmental impact statements. If it paid the rent, I did it.

I was close to someone once -- she's gone now -- who was chronically unemployed, but wouldn't take jobs that were "beneath her." She was willing to sponge off other people instead, and reacted with extreme resentment to the notion of tailoring her lifestyle to her income. I've also known people who let their kids get away with this, letting them move back in for extended periods or even setting them up in a subsidized apartment. They didn't like the results any more than you'd expect, but they didn't seem to know what to do about it.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 7, 2010 06:39 PM

Um, young man, IT IS A JOB. I'm looking at replacing my dying car and all I can think of is "can I pay this off before my 12-mo contract expires" because there is a darn good chance I won't find a slot next year. Sheesh. I sympathize with wanting to start on a good career track, but turning up your nose like that . . .

Posted by: LittleRed1 at July 7, 2010 06:54 PM

I've never turned up my nose at a job yet, and I don't have any stomach for this kid doing that, either. What's the worst that can happen? You find a better one and quit this one.

I'm sorry, but there is no job more undignified than unemployment.

Posted by: Joel at July 7, 2010 07:13 PM

Or as you said below, "For the vast majority of Americans the worst case is no longer starvation, disgrace and a lifetime of penury but the heartbreak of being asked to repay an adjustable rate mortgage on terms agreed to in advance."

The only house we ever bought, before we built this one, was a very modest suburban affair, not far from where I grew up. We took out a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, which we steadily made extra payments on until we'd paid on the whole thing before its maturity date. I think the interest rate was just under 8%, but the monthly payments were affordable for even the most ordinary household income. It wasn't a fashionable neighborhood; we didn't make a killing when we sold and moved here; we didn't have our entire net worth tied up in the speculation that the house would prove to be a gold mine. On the other hand, the sales proceeds were free and clear, such as they were. Even if the housing collapse had hit before we sold, we'd have weathered the storm.

I understand perfectly the fear in the gut when you don't know what your next job will be or when you'll land it. (I came out of college with a silly degree in 1978, for Pete's sake.) What I don't understand is the idea that it's surprising when it's not easy, and that someone else should come out of pocket to make it up to us.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 7, 2010 07:15 PM

I wouldn't hire Scott even if he were the only applicant to come through the door. If you're not willing to take a job and work your way up, you're not fit to sweep the floors of my office.

Posted by: sanddog at July 7, 2010 07:41 PM

They have a clue. They're making their enemies miserable. That's a clue.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 7, 2010 08:28 PM

Texan99...selling plasma, selling blood. I haven't done it, but I nearly did. Work is a blessing and if it is honest and pays a good wage, then it isn't beneath anyone.

I even did a stint as a bartender. Not the Tom Cruise 'Cocktail' genre, but serving drinks. I also worked in a juice bar. California is too funny if you are a skinny 21-year old blond chick and people are 'conscious.'


Posted by: Cricket at July 7, 2010 09:22 PM

My father decided that I had some traits that, ahhh, needed adjusting when I was a young'un. So around my 12th year, IIRC, he took me to a tobacco warehouse and had one of his friends put me to work for the summer.

I've worked in a plate glass business cutting and installing glass, as a restaurant busboy/handyman, in admin at a hospital, my own lawn service business (we called it cutting grass, edging, pruning and such back in those days =8^} ) in a machine shop (fun stuff cutting, milling, and welding metal), in a cabinetry shop --I still love wood working--, on a farm (jack of all trades there), and in a gas station. I'm probably forgetting so less than enjoyable work, but it's been an age.

All that was before I graduated from high school. And I graduated from high school a year ahead of schedule thanks to a year of doubling up on courses when I was living in Northern Ca.

My adult years were a bit more focused, thanks in no small part to the maturing process I went through in the military.

I worked for an assortment of engineering/computer companies until I went to work for BACC, a Fortune 100 company, where I remained for over 25 years. I loved the work and the people with which I had the pleasure to work. The money and benefits weren't awful either.

I'll have to agree with sanddog's sentiment. In no small part because of my experiences with meeting several young men --I suspect that I'm being a shade towards overly generous by using that moniker-- when my daughters were younger and dating. Young fellows who thought a 4 year degree should slip them into a 6 figure position with a top company, straight out of the university. These fellows who would have to present me with notarized documentation supporting allegations that they had ever broken a sweat.

On reflection, those young fellows did seem a bit startled by my laughing and snorting during such proclamations of their beliefs and expectations...

Posted by: bthun at July 7, 2010 09:48 PM

I have two college degrees and I work at Nordstrom.

I'm not pitching a fit about how I don't have the job I deserve for being fabulous me, I'm doing what I can to get promoted. Done.

Posted by: tiggy at July 7, 2010 11:10 PM

OH my goodness! I love you all! I was over at ABC looking at the whining comments about how some have been unemployed for years and it's all the Republicans faults who won't give them more money! I wrote out a long comment and then erased it. They don't want to talk sense. I'm not seeing any whiners here. Why----- you all have worked those jobs only the illegals will take!!!! Me too. Toilets. I've cleaned toilets! And houses. And dishes! My son (before he caught unemployement fever) even worked cutting lawns and doing landscaping!!!!! My husband, unemployed for fifteen months worked at handyman everything. Even he cleaned toilets. And though we never asked or walked around all down in the mouth, our church helped us out. But that is what we should do. Not enable but come along side. Encourage and refresh. You all are terrific.

Posted by: 2lumpsofclay at July 8, 2010 12:35 AM

I have two degrees also, and that second one hasn't gotten me the desired job.

I started babysitting when I was in high school. Did "summer hire" in Germany between my Jr & Sr years. It was a program DoD did for dependent kids for summer employment. What job you got was a crap shoot. You might get lucky and have a "cushy" office job or you might get the short end of the stick and be maintaining the grounds around post all summer. Me? I got something somewhere in between: a warehouse job, pulling orders of stuff like chem lights, toilet paper, whatever, and stocking the shelves when inventory arrived, sweeping floors and - once, at the direction of the old German guy who was in charge - had to mop the rust rings from barrels that had been marking a parking area because "the general was coming". All we managed to do was re-arrange the rust and ruin several mops...

After graduating HS, I got paid to house-sit for a couple of weeks. Went off to college. With scholarship money at a state school and a small monthly allowance from my parents along with a Pell grant, I didn't have to work right away. I did at get a work-study job my junior year that carried into my senior year, working the information desk in the student union, but that was out of the same office in which I was involved on the student activities board. The one summer I did summer school, I had a hard time finding a job that would accommodate my class schedule. Ended up finding a "contract" (meaning sub-minimum wage) job at Neff's Amusement Park. I manned the concession stand, microwaving hot dogs and making cotton candy.

After graduating, I signed up with a temp agency while waiting to find that first "real job". Actually worked one temp job for several months before taking a job in the accounting department at a credit union. Starting with that temp job post-graduation, I've been lucky to always be employed until I went back to school to get my M.Ed. When I didn't like the accounting job anymore, I found a new job. When that "new" job got "old" (and I wanted to move back to Texas), I didn't just quit and move, I spent about 18 months looking for work in Texas before something came up.

That job that allowed me to move back to Texas didn't work out like I had hoped. I was bored out of my mind. That's when I decided to go back to school. They needed me, though (they had a tremendous problem with turnover...they are now no longer in business), so I continued working there while going to school for a year when I quit for good to go to summer school full-time and student teach in the fall. Since then, I substitute taught, and when that wasn't enough to pay the bills right after graduation, I found a retail job. School ended, and with it, sub jobs. Started working as an usher at the local minor league park. That teaching job didn't materialize that first school year after graduation. Continued to sub, continued to work the retail job, then summer was coming up again. My sister's boss was looking for a temp. I got that job, did the ushering thing again the next two summers. Subbed again when school started back up the next two years, too. Still working that "temp" job more than 2 years later. Yeah, that whole teaching thing doesn't seem to be working out... So, I'm facing reality that I need to find a "real" job - you know, one with benefits like health insurance, a 401k/retirement plan and sick/vacation days. The office job employer is moving it's customer service related positions from CA and I've applied for the 3 position types they need to fill (apparently, no one wants to move from CA for some odd reason I can't fathom). Didn't apply for the supervisor jobs for which I may be qualified, but that's because I don't want to deal with having employees to manage, not when I know this isn't a job I really WANT to do. Assuming they offer me one of those positions, it will be a job to have until I figure out what I want to do if I can't teach. And I very much look forward to the day when I can afford to move out on my own again...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 8, 2010 12:40 AM

By the time I'd finished high school, I'd packed fishing reels (in those little bubble packs) paid by the piece, worked in a book bindery, worked fast food and cafeteria, filed and stuffed envelopes all day, and cleaned bathrooms. Paid for yard work? Ha! That's what I did in elementary school because I was told to. :P

As a college student I felt like I had hit the jackpot since I was a department secretarial assistant, professor's assistant, lesson accompanist, etc. After the master's degree and teaching for three years, I took a job in child care on a military base and now when I tell someone what I make at the current job that brings me a great deal of satisfaction, they laugh in disbelief.

Somebody needs a reality check... :P

Posted by: FbL at July 8, 2010 01:33 AM

Whatever it takes to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, and (possibly) health care...nothing is beneath me. Wasn't then. Isn't now. Nor do I have trouble looking for work outside of my bubble (literally or figuratively...I've looked for work in every single state in this country as well as outside of this country) or moving to where the work IS.

People sometimes get tunnel vision and only look inside their bubble for work in situations like this - my godmother is a shining example. She's been out of work for 3 YEARS because she isn't willing to consider working anywhere other than in her immediate area and she only looks for jobs in the field in which she is used to working. Drives me nuts because there are plenty of jobs out there for which she is qualified. She's just not willing to consider them.

I've worked in the food industry, mowed lawns, housesat, babysat, petsat, worked in a kennel, at a pool, as a property accountant, as a locker room attendant, a camp counselor, a teacher, an EMT, a youth group leader, in customer service, as a relocation consultant...you name it. Nothing is beneath me as long as it helps me make ends meet and keeps me from depending on anyone other than God and myself. And I find that I have a hard time with people who don't feel the same way...like the ding dong in this article.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at July 8, 2010 03:59 AM

Hmmm... let's see. Some of the things I've done to earn money over the years:

contract cleaner, military quarters
dessert girl (!) in college
burger flipper/ice cream cone server
head cashier
retail customer service manager
home day care provider
lawn care/landscaping
math tutor
supplemental instructor, community college
secretary/office help
sales clerk, book store
upholstery/slipcover maker
house painting
customer service rep, bank
financial aid counselor
IT tech wench/technical writer/editor

Posted by: Cassandra at July 8, 2010 04:27 AM

I'd say the Dean screwed up giving this guy an award. Many awards are given to boost self esteem though. As for the parents, they raised him. He's their prob.

Posted by: torabora at July 8, 2010 08:37 AM

Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.

Ahem: Scott, you idiot -- the job you turned down *was* the bottom rung on the corporate ladder. And, based on what I can see of your thought processes, it's a level you'll never rise above.

I'd use up all Cassie's electrons if I enumerated every job I've ever taken just to keep food on the table and a roof overhead -- including doing jobs "Americans won't do."

I've never grifted, sold drugs, been a gigolo, or been in a pr0n flick (although acting in them *was* about the only job I ever turned down) -- I do have *some* standards, low as they might be...

Posted by: BillT at July 8, 2010 08:45 AM

Cass, I was a soda jerk too! One of my first jobs. I've also had jobs running a printing press, cook/janitor in a restaurant, data entry, and tutoring college freshmen. Oh, and wedding photographer. (I "specialized" in beach weddings. Pro wedding photogs wouldn't do them; you can't take a large-format camera out there because there's too much sand and crap blowing around.)

I graduated in 1983, took a job in a different area where I didn't know anyone. The company I went to work for was on the verge of collapse ten months later, and I was in a panic. But in those ten months, I had made enough connections that I was able to get some notice at another company in town, and they hired me, at a substantial raise. Even then, it was never 100% roses... one of my job responsibilities as a junior programmer was maintaining the electrostatic plotters. What an incredibly messy job that was. I thought my fingers were going to be permanently ink-stained. The truth is, as I found out, there's no such thing as a job that doesn't have some crap tasks associated with it.

Somewhat in sympathy, I will say that I know some young adults who have pretty much done everything right, and they're still struggling to find work today. Thanks to the Obamanauts, nobody wants to hire. But yeah, even though $40K is not great money these days, especially in the Northeast, don't turn it down. Getting your foot in the door is really more important than the salary at this point.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at July 8, 2010 11:03 AM

Thanks to the Obamanauts, nobody wants to hire.

I swear, Obama gets a big fat grin on his face whenever an American suffers or dies.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 8, 2010 12:04 PM

Getting your foot in the door is really more important than the salary at this point.

It takes money to make money, as they say, and time is money which you can then use to re-invest and make more money.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 8, 2010 12:06 PM

Not to mention the fact that a resume with nothing on it is not tempting to any employer.

Experience is like money in the bank.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 8, 2010 12:13 PM

I will say that I know some young adults who have pretty much done everything right, and they're still struggling to find work today.

Job hunting is hard at the best of times.

What bothers me is the notion that anyone is guaranteed the job of their dreams. Job One is... to find a job. From there (and supported by an incoming paycheck) one can always try to improve the situation :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 8, 2010 12:15 PM

Hell, he may even find all those "connections" his family was talking about in those new coworkers, customers, and vendors he would be meeting. And getting paid while doing it, too.

Actually interacting with people you don't already know expands your social network? Who knew?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 8, 2010 12:15 PM

I've honestly only ever held a few actual jobs in my life. I worked at an amusement park in food service for three summers in HS and my first year at college. I told my boss I'd join the Army before coming back for a fourth. I did. Spent five years in, got out and went back to school on my GI Bill. One summer when my courseload was light, the Bride insisted I do something other than sit at home, so I took and unpaid job on campus. They didn't have funding for staff in the Computer Support department, so I worked as an unpaid intern until such time as they got the budget (on the understanding that I'd be the one to get the position once it became paid).

After college I got work at a government contractor as their IT Dept (as in, I was it) and got laid off less than a year in as the five person business had a budget crunch and I was the most expendable of the five. I was out of work for nine months and was about ready to start taking a job as anything (including *shudder* food service) when I got a job at one of the local school systems in the Computer Support department (free internship job experience paid off in spades). Was there less than a month when a nibble I had from four months previous called and asked if I still wanted the (much higher pay) job I had applied for. So I jumped at it. Been there since.

If my (hypothetical) kid informed me that they'd turned down any (legal) paying job while living under my roof, I'd invite them to seek housing elsewhere. During my nine months unemployed, I was a househusband, and I hated every second of it. Anyone who spends TWO YEARS looking for a job (and yes, saying "would you like fries with that" is still a job) who turns down any work is not worth a bucket of warm spit in my book.

Posted by: MikeD at July 8, 2010 12:24 PM

After 15 months of unemployment I would settle on anything to make money, including moving out of state. The problem with the current unemployment is the uncertainty. If they would make a decision and stick to it, everyone would be better off.

Does anyone remember "Grit" newspapers? I sold them back in the early 70's for comic book money.

Posted by: Russ at July 8, 2010 12:40 PM

I imagine $40K seems like chump change to the young aristocrat, but it strikes me that it's $40K more than zero dollars. All it's going to cost him is his daylight hours five days a week, and to the best of my knowledge he's allowed to quit as soon as he finds a better opportunity. {I'd be hard-pressed to believe that poking around in the computer for fabulous job openings is a full-time occupation.}

In the meantime, is he too busy doing something else more meaningful? Volunteering as a heart transplant surgeon? Creating the next new art form? What are the odds he fills his days by helping out around his folks' house?

Posted by: Texan99 at July 8, 2010 01:21 PM

Maybe the kid's holding out for a Supreme Court appointment?

(put me down for janitor, dumpster painter, garbage man (the kind riding the back of the truck), loading delivery trucks, and cleaning up unimaginable goo in horrible places (aka "hazardous waste remediation") before landing something related to my degree)

Posted by: Falze at July 8, 2010 01:31 PM

Oh, no. Oh, NO WAY. Up to now I hadn't actually clicked through and read the article.

“Once you start working, you get caught up in the work and you have bills to pay, and you lose sight of what you really want,” the brother said. Yeah, it can be really hard to stay focused on your navel with that nuisance of a boss always expecting you to deliver work in exchange for your paycheck.

But the truly amazing part is how he'd had his eyes on the Marines. (And aren't THEY grieving the loss of this potential future leader of men.) He had it all worked out that after 10 weeks he'd be a second lieutenant, and then after four years of unicorns and skittles he'd present himself triumphantly on the civilian scene as the answer to an employer's dreams. But he got turned down because of childhood asthma, and although “[t]hey finally told me I could reapply if I wanted to . . . the sheen was gone.” Isn't that the Marine motto: when the sheen is gone it's best to give up and move back in with your parents indefinitely?

It reminds me of that "Demotivational" poster that reads: "Get to work. You're not being paid to realize the power of your dreams."

Posted by: Texan99 at July 8, 2010 01:32 PM

I've never grifted, sold drugs, been a gigolo, or been in a pr0n flick (although acting in them *was* about the only job I ever turned down) -- I do have *some* standards, low as they might be...

That pretty much covers me :) I forgot to add custodian, tutor, car-washer for a car repair place, and "personal assistant" to a rather eccentric lady who lived down the street and wanted someone to read her the newspaper in the morning. The pay was good!

$40K right now would cover the majority of our expenses (were we living ANYWHERE but where we are right now) and I wouldn't turn my nose up at it in any way, shape, or form. Sheesh.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at July 8, 2010 01:33 PM

Texan, he'd have quit boot camp the first or second chance he got.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 8, 2010 02:01 PM

He did save the government money, though, from washing him out of Boot camp. Saves a slot for a worthy candidate.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 8, 2010 02:02 PM

I forgot to add custodian

"Custodial engineer" is the phrase. Although when I was one, it was still called "janitor" -- graveyard shift in an air terminal.

Three months later, I was managing the floor-cleaning crews, three months after that, I was supervising the crews for fifteen office buildings. One month after that, the boss went down in a RICO sting, and the week after that, I was doing hi-rise scaffold work washing windows...

Posted by: BillT at July 8, 2010 02:19 PM

...and, yes, I do windows.

Posted by: BillT at July 8, 2010 02:21 PM

Well, my list is comparatively short. But then again, I'm also quite a bit younger too.

Manual Labor (Printing shop: sorting, collating, binding, etc.)

Little League Umpire (I made more money per hour doing this than I did at any other job prior to getting my Master's Degree: ~$15/hour. But it was tough getting more than 6-8 hours per week)

Manual Labor, again. (Residential construction: picking up trash, scraping sheetrock mud off floors, bracing basements)

Warehouse Labor (packaging and sorting bulk shipped items)

Painter for a community college

Math Tutor

University Instructor (Statistics)

Reporting Analyst


Modeling & Forecasting Manager

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 8, 2010 03:21 PM

"Trend Stories" like this are a result of the media's connection with web SEO tactics. Have you ever noticed that a flurry of stories on one topic appear in clusters? Right now, "college educated and unemployed" is a hot topic.

Posted by: Kevin Raffay at July 8, 2010 04:10 PM

Also, I'm pretty sure I've been reading stories about how the newest college graduates are facing unprecedented gloominess since I was a teenager, back in the Eocene. How well I remember the disappointment of early mammals over the diminished opportunities that followed on the breakup of Gondwana, leading to the prevalence of bumper stickers reading "Reunite Gondawanaland."

Posted by: Texan99 at July 8, 2010 06:19 PM

I'm trying to imagine this little orchid in boot camp. "Sir, the sheen has gone off of this morning's exercises." "That's OK, Princess, fall out and report to the medics for aromatherapy."

I'm sure that's not entirely fair, since that's about how long I'd have lasted in boot camp, too. But then I'm not complaining that the Marines failed to deliver a career to me.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 8, 2010 06:25 PM

"Reunite Gondawanaland"
*sighs... Turns and goes to the beer chiller while muttering "deah goes da neighbahood.
da^^^ed hippies!"

Posted by: bt_Archie-Bunker_hun at July 8, 2010 06:32 PM

@ Texan99: *snort*

The Engineer has been gainfully unemployed. This means that he has taken handyman jobs, for which he is deeply grateful, and has taken the CLUs and the Young Man to in order to 'teach them' something. He has also volunteered his time to help out elderly people who need something repaired or built and it is beyond either their strength, skill or both.

He will not take money, and has donated his means to this effort. Others have also pitched in. It is a quiet service on his part, but he does it in honor of the parents neither of us can help anymore.

Our circumstances are a bit unusual, but he is not a lazy man and believes that work is honorable. In his spare time, he is restoring furniture. He loves woodworking and is teaching The Lads (collective Young Man and CLUs of the male gender).

Posted by: Cricket at July 8, 2010 07:26 PM

I forgot one job. When I was in college, there was a blind student for whom I read his textbooks into a special recorder - it would play back at a slightly higher speed than it recorded at. Not a bad gig, really, and I knew what I did was needed and appreciated.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 9, 2010 01:45 AM

I'm sure that's not entirely fair, since that's about how long I'd have lasted in boot camp, too.

Don't be so entirely sure Tex. I'm no John Rambo and I made it through BCT just fine. Now, mind you, I understand that Marine Boot Camp is MUCH harder, but Naval and AF Boot is easier. And while I'm not saying it was easy or that I'd really want to do it again (especially at my age), I do also recall it being fun.

Posted by: MikeD at July 9, 2010 11:03 AM

Marine Boot Camp is essentially a mind test. See how you handle stress and physically intimidating tasks or persons.

The physical is strenuous, from what I've seen of the march times and backpack weight, but you can prepare yourself before you hit the camp with body building and exercises. Not much going to prepare you for the mental challenges, because that's not something people can do anything about. It requires changing their personality and character. Not going to happen over a few years even, let alone a few months.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 9, 2010 12:23 PM

That's what boot camp is for. Remake you in some odd months that you couldn't have done over half a decade.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 9, 2010 12:24 PM

Turning down 40 K for a first job..... I keep trying, but just can't wrap my head around the concept. I know that when I went into restaraunt management (because old welders go blind) I was running a $2 million/anum outlet with about 35 employees and happy as a clam to be pulling in 32 K while working 6 or 7 12 hr days a week.
I've paid myself baically nothing while starting my own business twice now. This year I'm looking to pay someone in excess of a million bucks to go home so I can take over the business I helped him build (hey - third times the charm and all that).
I know his mother must love him unconditionally, but I can't help but think hsi father must be having some serious blood pressure problems about now.

Posted by: Mark Reardon at July 16, 2010 02:34 PM