A recent statistic has been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealing that 16.7% of ages 18-24 are unemployed in the US as of May 2009 – the highest we’ve experienced in at least 60 years. The striking number stretches just past the previous record of 16.6% in 1982. The youngsters’ statistic far exceeds the national statistic of a 9.1% unemployment rate – a trend that seems to historically occur without fail.
When we ask the inevitable question – “Why?” – the first thing that comes to mind is the mere inexperience of the young workforce. Whether the 18-24 year-old just graduated college or has been working service jobs for the last few years, the lack of field experience seems to be the thing most keeping the age group down.
In fact, I am very much a part of this statistic. Recently graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, I find it difficult to find what the world likes to call a “real job,” – especially in the journalist field. Print is rapidly going downhill and newspapers all over the country (and the world) are filing for bankruptcy.
Where does this leave a fresh college graduate with a degree in Philosophy and Creative Writing? Besides running an online publication (voila – St. Aug News) that offers an arena for the dialogue of ideas and an outlet for my own without the financial return to make this my full-time job, I could either: 1) Dive right into graduate school waiting out the “bad weather” of the current job availability (or lack thereof) which is rather expensive – and getting a loan is a whole other struggle in itself – 2) Go off and join a foreign aid organization like Peace Corps. where my living needs would be met for approximately two years while doing what appears to be “good” for foreign cultures in the name of the United States government, or 3) simply get a job at a local restaurant serving tourists beer and chicken wings – if the availability of waiting jobs permits, that is – all the while submitting my developing resume to newspapers, schools, and other areas that need critical thinking and writing skills.
What we must realize, however, is that life is not the career we have or the job we do. Life is the relationships we develop, the ideas we espouse, and the love we give – both to other people and to God (be it a religious or personal perception). With this in mind, let us – the young working force in America – not sacrifice our ideals and that which we truly believe for the sake of making money. Let us, instead, use our creative capacities that have been given to us to find how to live in this fluctuating society.
St. Aug News