Once a quarter…

15 07 2010

Maybe posting more than once every three or so months would be a good change.  

Since the last posting I’ve seen my son graduate from college, and he’s now home and looking for a job.  He’s a tremendous writer and now has the credentials to back it up, and the great thing about writing skills is that they’re usable nearly anywhere.  The bad thing about writing skills is… they’re usable nearly anywhere.  He doesn’t have the nicely defined degree, that one that says Your Job Is Here.  Instead he has the one that says Your Job Could Be Anywhere.  And after focusing toward a degree for four years, it’s both exhilarating and exasperating to have the horizons open up that way. 

Add on top of that the deliriously bad economy, and he’s in a state over trying to find employment.  Around here we’re hovering at 10%.  Kids still in school are having a terrible time finding summer jobs.  My son did find a position bartending at a fairly nice restaurant with an active bar, so there’s money to be had there after he’s all done training.  But in his view this isn’t a “real” job, not the way mine is.  

So I say the things I always say (and I do believe them): Every job is a real job.  When you’re going to work and you’re hauling butt for eight hours and you’re tired when you come home?  It’s a real job.  He’s working hard, and nearly every day.  It doesn’t get more real than that.  

In some ways I feel like we lie to our children, and maybe it’s the only way this can be done.  We tell them they should do well in high school so that they can go to college.  And they should go to college and get their degrees because that’s the path to secure employment with decent pay.  And then they graduate into this kind of recession, and what can we tell them now?  I know what I tell my son – that it isn’t him, it’s the economy, so many people are out of work, he’s been looking for two months, and he actually DOES have a job that pays okay.  You wouldn’t want to support a family on it, but to pay the loans and save some money while you live at home?  It works. 

But still.  I’m trying to remember what it felt like when I was 22.  I also graduated into a recession, in May of 1982.  My method of coping was to head straight into graduate school, so I didn’t have my son’s particular situation.  But I do remember feeling like all the people I went to school with were moving ahead of me somehow – they were getting jobs, getting married, having kids, and I was still just… me.  An additional 28 years of life gives you a different perspective – I’m sure some of my friends looked at me and thought “She’s moving ahead, and I’m not.”  

It’s so intense in your 20s.  Now that I’m closing in on 50, I wish I hadn’t been so intense and worried about things back then… but that’s who I was then and I wouldn’t be where I am now without that time.  I wish, so very much, that I could share that sense with my son – to know that it won’t always feel this way, but it’s okay that it feels this way now.

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