Achieving the American Dream

The New York Times has its panties in a twist because, as one headline claims, the “American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation.” I guess that depends on what your definition of the American Dream is and whether you think it is owed to a person or it is one’s own responsibility to achieve it.

The article spotlights a recent college graduate, Scott Nicholson, a 24-year-old, living with his parents, who recently turned down a $40,000 annual salary job because he was waiting for something better to come along.

As the article states, “Rather than waste [emphasis mine] 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 the corporate ladder.”

I just don’t understand how getting actual work experience is a waste of time for anyone, no matter how you cut it but, clearly, his time will be better spent sitting on his parent’s couch, jobless, finding out who the welfare moms’ babies’ daddies are on “Maury.”

The article states how he “found himself reluctantly stuck at home.” Reluctantly found himself at home? The kid was offered $40,000 a year, straight out of college. He majored in political science and minored in history. What corporate position is going to draw on that college training? What does a political-science major train you in other than liberal political ideology?

Nicholson, basically, feels that because he worked hard and earned good grades in high school and completed college he is owed a career-oriented job in the field of his choosing. That is not the American way or the American Dream. Inherent in the American Dream is the unbreakable American spirit willing to do whatever it takes to open up doors and opportunities and work your hardest to make the best out of them with the idea that if you work hard enough and never quit someday you might succeed.

Understandably, his parents are becoming frustrated. Less understandably, they seem more frustrated with the world and economy than with their son, who clearly thinks he’s above a $40,000 a year job because it’s not a management-training position sending him up the corporate ladder. Their frustration is severely misplaced.

Why are they coddling their 24-year-old son and making excuses for his arrogance to think that, in this economy especially, he can turn down a decent job because it isn’t exactly what he wants? What a spoiled brat. If the Times wants to know why the American Dream is elusive to the new generation, Scott Nicholson is a perfect example. It is his sense of entitlement he has been raised with that robs him of experiencing the true American spirit and prevents him from realizing the American Dream. The world doesn’t owe him whatever he thinks he deserves.

The article contrasts Scott’s job-finding experience with that of his father and his grandfather, but that misses the point. Yes, both father and grandfather were originally connected to their first jobs through personal connections but, as the Times reports, “From these accidental starts, careers unfolded and lasted.”

Exactly. Just like if Scott Nicholson took the job he turned down, a career could have “unfolded and lasted” from that “accidental” start. But, he turned that down because he felt he was owed the job he wanted due to his hard work in high school and college. It is nonsense like that that costs this new generation the American Dream.

Our country and world haven’t changed that much, it is the younger generations that are changing. The guy just graduated at 24 years old? He turns down well-paying jobs that could open the doors to a promising future because of his arrogance and short-sightedness. He has no pride and lives at home with mommy and daddy while they pay all of his bills. And, the New York Times has the audacity to wonder why the American Dream is elusive to him? Really?

Jobs are scarce in our current economic situation, but there are still plenty of jobs out there that too many people just aren’t willing to take. People want a specific job, salary, benefits. Everyone wants what they think is owed to them. Too bad. As my mother always said, life isn’t fair. This sense of entitlement that has permeated our culture has no place in America and will prevent anyone who has succumbed to it from ever achieving the American Dream because they just aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed.