Several of my students have asked me what kind of answers I received to my most recent post, Wanted: Wisdom for Soon-To-Be College Grads Facing an Uncertain Future. While they have been portrayed in the media as overly entitled trophy kids raised by overly doting helicopter parents the activism this generation showed by the around the Obama campaign has led others to speculate that they have the potential to be the next Greatest Generation (the children of the Great Depression and went on to fight World War II.) 

The current economic crisis and the way these student and their peers respond to it, cannot help but define them – one way or the other. Entering into a tight workforce with parents who have either lost jobs or lost wealth themselves will be the first real test of their values – and their mettle. It is for that reason that I remain tenacious in my desire to collect stories from as many people as possible who have faced uncertainty, persevered and learned from it. 
 
Stacey’s wise and thoughtful comment is a perfect example of what I looking for:

I graduated in 1991 with a degree in psychology. My first job after I graduated was “unemployment!” I returned to home with no job in sight. I was upset, depressed and angry. I had no job, but the kids I left behind were employed. I did a few menial jobs and struggled until I packed up and moved to Madison, NJ. My new jobs were as a cook at both Friendly’s and Houlihans. It wasn’t until a few months later that I acquired a job at a large psychiatric hopsital near Morristown, NJ. I was estatic. I was an activity therapist but it was a great salary with state benefits. I was there for three years while acquiring my masters degree in counseling psychology.


I say all that to say that it took me over a year, maybe two, to get a job where I wasn’t standing in a hot kitchen for over eight hours a day preparing food for other people. I survived because I drew strength from the faith that it would get better. It had to. I went to graduate school which also helped it get better. People kept calling me a professional student but it allowed me to be where I am today.


I would tell your students to roll with the punches but keep working toward their ultimate goal. It will be hard and the job won’t be what they want. Yet, eventually they will get to where they want to be. I am a living witness! It is a struggle but they can’t give up….


I am confident that there are more of you out there with stories that might inform these students, and I’m asking you to take a moment and share from the heart. 

Forward it to your friends, family and co-workers if you feel so inclined. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could use the power of social media and networking to crowd source the collective wisdom of a wide variety of people from different walks of life and backgrounds to help these young people carry with them the wisdom of previous generations on this critical next step in their journey?

I can’t wait to see what happens.
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