“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at making anything else.”
— Benjamin Franklin
I have a young friend who has been looking hard for a job for several months. As time has gone on, he started looking at jobs far beneath his education and experience.
He is back for a second interview at a fast-food restaurant. I didn’t realize the economy has reached a point where fast-food restaurants had gotten selective. I’m sure my friend will make it as he keeps trying and trying.
I have another young friend who is supposedly looking for work. His career path is currently based on mooching off his mother.
Unless someone knocks on his door and makes an offer, he is not going to get off the couch and find one.
Unemployment for young people is running about twice the national average. The bad economy affects people with a lack of experience more than others, but there are some professions for which supply far outweighs demand.
I wonder if young people understand how to deal with adversity.
I was unemployed 30 years ago. The economy was nearly as bad as it is now. I left graduate school at Vanderbilt to work for a candidate for Congress. He unexpectedly lost. Instead of a comfy job on Capitol Hill, I was thrown out on the streets.
I found a job on the cleanup crew at the Kentucky Horse Park.
It was the defining moment of my life.
When you are cleaning up after horses, it makes you consider different career options. I realized that I never wanted to depend on someone else to hand me a job or control my future.
Thus, I wound up in the financial business. I worked 90 hours a week, mastered a distinctive niche and celebrate my 30th anniversary next month.
It took me years to realize I have a unique ability: Tenacity. Whenever someone does a personality profile of me, the “Energizer Bunny” analogy frequently comes up. Overall, I consider my tenacity to be a core strength.
It has taken me decades to figure out that few have the driving ambition that I have. For a long time, I thought that “can’t find a job” meant they weren’t really looking, not looking in the right places or not willing to take a job below their life expectations.
I look at youth unemployment and start to wonder if that holds true.
The fast-food and service industries have normally been the “jobs of first resort.” Twelve percent of all Americans have worked at McDonalds at some point in their lives. About 1.4 million people work at Wal-Mart.
That those jobs are getting harder to come by tells me that this “recession,” caused by the Wall Street collapse, bailouts and the inability of government to say no to special interests, is far from over.
I’m also wondering if you can teach young people to have tenacity, think “outside the box” and create opportunities for themselves. If young people have been sheltered from overcoming failure, they may not understand that adversity ultimately leads to opportunity.
When I started in business, it was like the Bob Dylan song: “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” I had plenty of time and needed little money. I spent a lot of time doing volunteer work, which helped the community and allowed me to develop some great relationships.
If you are sitting at home watching reality shows, you aren’t learning new skills, developing new relationships or putting yourself in a position to ultimately succeed. I don’t know if they teach determination and tenacity in school. I don’t know if you can develop it if you don’t have it.
If we are going to reduce unemployment among young people, somehow they are going to have to acquire the skill of working hard, never giving up and getting back up when you get knocked down.
I’m waiting for someone, running for any office, to start taking that issue on.
DON MCNAY is a columnist for the Richmond (Ky.) Register. Contact him at email@example.com.
“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at making anything else.”
Seeing yourself as the world sees you
Ever try seeing yourself as others see you, or your piece of the world as others see your piece of the world?
You know, if you could get others to see you, or if you could get other parts of the world to see your part of it?
Narcissism and inferiority, both, can trap us in front of a mirror, admiring or lamenting, pleased or not pleased by the vision we presumably offer others.
Yet, what’s happened over the last three days, since yet another deadly tornado rolled through Moore, offers an entirely different perspective.
Through strength or weakness, we may take an interest in how we project. But when the “Today Show” is broadcast from the rubble and the network evening news has placed its anchor amidst the carnage; and when the news channels descend upon the destruction and every newspaper in the country is playing your and your neighbors’ plight bigger than its own hometown news, it turns surreal.
ROCK DOC: Japanese find a new source of natural gas
The name “natural gas” might be a puzzle. After all, how could there be such a thing as unnatural gas? The reason we call natural gas what we do has to do with history. There was a day that people made burnable gas by heating coal. The gases that came off the coal were piped around cities where they did things like light street lamps and even power cook stoves in homes.
Coal gas had its down side. For one thing, it often contained carbon monoxide. And it took energy to make the gas, so it never could be truly cheap.
Witnesses missing; Behenna case could be heard at Supreme Court
The film “Breaker Morant” was nominated for an Oscar for the best screenplay in 1980. It told the story of Harry “Breaker” Morant, an Australian who served in the British Army and was court-martialed for alleged war crimes during the Boer War in Southern Africa in the early years of the last century.
That conflict pitted the British Army against the descendants of the Dutch settlers who had migrated to what is now South Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries. The majority of them were farmers and in their language of Afrikaans were known as “Boers.”
Don’t leave Oklahoma!
May is graduation season. As I have done every year as lieutenant governor, I have given multiple commencement speeches. Advice flows freely during this time and it usually runs the gamut. What to do, what not to do, how to do ‘x’, be sure not to do ‘y.’ Too often commencement speakers speak in big generalities. So general, the message is frequently lost or forgotten.
Last-minute funding proposals not in state’s best interest
All indications point to this being the last week of this year’s legislative session. The Legislature will go home a week early. This is good news for Oklahomans as not only will there be cost savings but all Oklahomans should breathe a sigh of relief when the Legislature stops making new laws a week ahead of schedule.
As usual, the Legislature will take a number of important votes during the last week. Some will be forced due to attempts to introduce and pass far-reaching, new policies that should have been introduced much earlier in the year.
BY THE NUMBERS: Oklahoma still needs to invest in its economy
After six months of stagnation, the Oklahoma economy finally appears to be expanding again albeit still weakly. Unfortunately, our leaders aren’t making the investments we need to give our economic prospects a boost.
Last week the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services reported that in April state General Revenue fund collections were 5.2 percent above the estimate and 14.7 percent higher than last year’s collections. Under normal circumstances, such a report would indicate that the Oklahoma economy was very strong. But this isn’t a normal circumstance, and April isn’t a normal month.
Americans deserve the truth on Benghazi
Lately, the media has been consumed by the controversies surrounding the White House. Among these controversies is the horrific terrorist attack on the United States’ diplomatic compound in Benghazi that took place Sept. 11, 2012. As more people come forward with additional information regarding the attack on the consulate, many Americans, including myself, are still asking for the truth.
The Obama Administration and the State Department have been less than forthcoming with key information on Benghazi and recent information points toward a major cover-up.
Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
HEY HINK: Some people just are not cut out for command
Recent headlines cause me to remember an incident that occurred on an army base some years ago. Warning here: I’m taking some liberties with names and details, but the basic outline of events is accurate.
A certain company commander, let’s call him Captain Duntz, had command of a motor pool on a large army base in the continental U.S.
We’ve become our own worst enemies
The past couple months have been marked by a seeming unprecedented number of man-made tragedies, as distinct from those caused by violent outbursts of the natural world, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
You don’t want to dwell too long on the negative, but we do have to take notice of horrific human events and we owe it to ourselves to respond to them in some way. We don’t always agree on those responses, however, and that usually exacerbates the problem.
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