Monday, May 16, 2011

Help Wanted....just not from teens. The reality of a low job market

It is edging ever closer to my favorite season of the year, summer.  I live in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC where they reported this morning that we have gone 180 days with the temperature below 70 degrees.  So I am definitely looking forward to feeling the warmth of the sun again.  I also enjoy summer for the relaxed and free feeling I get that goes back to my days in school where everything was so ridged and structured toward having a life more on my terms.  As a youth worker there are certain rhythms throughout the year and summer brings a mixture of joy from the teens we interact with as well as uncertainty for the future.  This year is no exception and in many ways the stress level among teens is higher than I have seen it in a long time.  I was reading this week that the teen job market is the lowest it has been since World War Two.  (check out this article from The Mildord Daily News if you want to read more about this). 

There are lots of reasons behind this I suppose.  Economic conditions have eliminated some of the excess that people in retirement have forcing them to take on part time entry level jobs.  College students are released from classes earlier than most high school students and simply get to the jobs before the younger kids have a chance.  However one of the most alarming things that I have perceived is that the young people often link the trial of getting a job as a personal rejection of their character.  With each failed job attempt they are reliving their dad leaving, the teacher’s rebuke, or the grief of losing a close friend.  They are not able to compartmentalize their work life from the rest of their existence.  For those of us that were trained up with that sort of mentality we are often criticized as not living as holistically as we should.  Perhaps we have seen the pendulum make a full swing. There must be something we can learn from each other in this.  What do you think it is?
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