Dim & Dash: Making the Grade

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 2, 2012 · 65 Comments

in Dim & Dash, Visual Guides

See Also-Dim in the Workplace:

“Michigan State University surveyed more than 700 employers seeking to hire recent college graduates. Nearly one-third said parents had submitted resumes on their child’s behalf, some without even informing the child. One-quarter reported hearing from parents urging the employer to hire their son or daughter for a position. Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate’s job interview.”

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Turling March 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Yes, this is a problem. Just last week our Company had a team of appraisers here and two of them asked me about positions here for their kids. They made it sound as if their kids would stay at home forever unless they found them jobs and got them out.

As far as school, an acquaintance of mine has two in college. Neither of which have ever actually signed up for their own classes. He gets them online courses and, for the most part, does the work for them. Sad.

2 Dustin B March 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm

This illustration applies to students below university level as well. It’s a little less disturbing, but when my wife taught middle school, there seemed to be very few parents who held their children accountable for their grades, instead opting to pounce on the teachers. No doubt there are some bad teachers out there, but that should not be the default assumption.

3 Will March 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Clearly the parent is more liable for this type of behavior than the child. Coddling your kid gets them no where.

4 Michael Langford March 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Getting your first job fresh out of college right now is far far harder than it was for almost any other generation in living memory. Baby boomers have stayed in jobs and workforces have the choice of people with 5 years experience who were laid off instead of new grads.

I’m not saying there are some sad sacks out there, but I think lampooning people who are actively seeking jobs constantly to pay off the megaloans which are far higher than any preceding generation’s is a bit dickish.

5 Smitty March 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Is Michael Langsford for real?? The job economy is tough so you should have your mom call up the employer and ask them to hire you? Seriously? That’s how men handle tough times these days? Color me dumbfounded.

6 Piper March 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

As a High School Teacher, I get my share of this, but when talking to friend who is an Econ Professor at University, he regaled me with many tales of parental action. The best was a kid that had not turned in any work, had not taken any exams and was worried about failing as it would get him kicked out of school, so mom demanded that Mike give the kid an A so his GPA would be high enough to stay on probation. I am guessing that the same demand was presented to all the kid’s professors

7 Heather March 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I used to do new hire training for a call center, with most of our employees in their early 20s. We had a strict “3 tardies and you’re fired” policy. Excuses were only in the event of a *major* emergency. One employee said she should be excused because her mother didn’t wake her up in time. My response: “You don’t know how to set an alarm clock?” “I don’t have one.” “Go buy one!” And another time I had an employee’s mother call me to ask for an excused lateness because “he was running late and it’s my fault.” My response: “Your child is an adult and is responsible for his actions during his employment. I will only discuss these matters with him. *click*”

I actually had to start telling new hire classes that the only time I would speak to their parents is if they were in a coma, dead, or otherwise not able to use a phone.

8 Dan Kuhn March 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Michael, I don’t think anyone is bemoaning college grads or other young people who are desperate to get a job. Similarly, I wouldn’t complain if a parent called on behalf of their adult child, if it was relevant (for example, my father was in the plumber’s union for 30 years, I’d appreciate a phone call on my behalf if I was trying to get in to the union).

What they are chiding is the attempts by coddling parent and irresponsible child to handle a job search in this way.

9 scriss March 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Parents told me I could have anything I wanted – all I needed to do was get a job and buy it. There is no substitute for standing on your own two feet.

10 Toto March 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I just think nowadays college grads and high school grads think that they are intitled to more than they actually work for, heaven forbid that American idol tryout doesn’t workout.

11 Justin March 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

My problem with this in relation to the article is that it implies the young adults are encouraging their parents to do this sort of thing.

I have to wonder how many of these “helicopter parents” would do this regardless. If a parent is that adamant about being involved and the young adult is still very dependent on them (i.e. doesn’t have a job yet and relies on parent for food and lodging), then I imagine it’d be hard to refuse the help.

I guess I’m just mad that this cartoon puts ALL the blame on the student. This seems like just as much of a parental, Baby Boomer problem, but that doesn’t seem to be fashionable lately. Damn them whipper-snappers, forcing telephones into their parents hands all the time!

12 Rob March 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

If those statistics hold true for the rest of the job market I should be in the money by now. However, I have submitted 200 jobs apps already and have had one interview. The market must be worse than I though, Gulp!

13 MB March 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Forget about the “Tiger Mom”.

Now we have the annoying “helicopter parents” and their variants (bulldozer parents, seagull parents, etc). ANYONE who works with kids (not just teachers and potential employers, but anyone who works with youth- coaches, scout leaders, etc) has to deal with these folks.

14 Eli March 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Interesting article. I didn’t realize people still babying their kids this much a few years into adulthood was this common.

I’m a college student, myself. I haven’t had a job since the summer I graduated high school, and my mom has sent copies of my resume (some that I *didn’t even write*) to employers without my permission. I understand why she thought she was helping, but it was absolutely mortifying.

Thankfully she’s realized since then that I’m perfectly capable of job hunting on my own initiative.

15 Tom March 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I doubt the kind of parents mentioned are readers of AoM, but just in case a few drop by, I’ll add my two cents.

As an employer, do not even consider doing this for/to your child. Any type of parental evolvement in the job search process would be a deal-breaker. Employers need responsible people who want to work. Mommy and Daddy getting involved signals the exact opposite.

If your child is that lazy or incompetent or stupid, hire them yourself instead of asking someone else to assume the burden.

16 Marshall March 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

If I had any contact from a parent during the hiring process, the kid’s resume would immediately go into the shredder. End of story.

17 B.I. Keitt March 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Our society would blame the difference in character between Dim & Dash on their respective parents and childhood experiences, but, that is a copout. Being a true man is a combination of constant self improvement and self responsibility. No man is born with the perfect set of cards we all must make the best out of what we have. It is up to Dim to examine his faults and fix them not to use them as a shield or excuse.

18 Ron Swanson March 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm

This is an epidemic that transcends more than just the realm of education. I sell Insurance…personal lines, life, health, home, atuo, etc. Not a week goes buy without a parent calling to get quotes for their adult child. Not just the college age kids mind you, but full blown 40 somethings.

Just got off the phone with a woman who was getting quotes for her 46 year old son. The topper was I could hear him in the back ground as she was talking to me.

I’m also a coach at the local High School and I can vouch for the ridiculous parenting when it comes to accountability.

19 SW March 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I just taught my first semester as a Grad Assistant last semester. I didn’t have to deal with this until I had posted final grades and a parent e-mailed me in caps-lock wondering why his student failed my class. Luckily due to FERPA (Federal Educational Rights Protection Act), not only do I not have to deal with the parent, I am legally obligated to not tell them anything.

20 Thought-Provokng March 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm

My, hasn’t this cartoon stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Sadly, it’s true about Dim. I am an experienced foreign attorney whose qualifications are not recognized in the US. As such, I have done warehousing jobs and other jobs “beneath” me. I am in my late 40′s, right? Kids in their 20s after a few days were either chronically late, or just refused to work. I lasted until the end. The others were all fired, or failed to show up. Unfortunately, we have become soft in the Western World, whiney, and a full-blown sense of entitlement prevails. This attorney will suck it up even though he doesn’t like it, as it puts food on the table, and studies to become US-qualified at the same time.

21 Thought-"Provokng" March 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Yes, I know, the above email is grammatically incorrect, and has typos in it, before anyone cares to comment.

22 Daniel March 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

As a grad student I see the attitude of shirking responsibility in some of my classmates. Although I have not heard of any helicopter parenting just yet, the underlying entitlement complex is complex. This is seen after exams with quips to the professor such as, “It’s not fair,” or “I don’t think the test was good,” or even “They can’t fail us all.”

23 Daniel March 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Oops: should read
“the underlying entitlement complex is common.”

24 Christo March 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I’ve been working my way through college for a decade. I have seen far too many Dims

25 Jordan March 3, 2012 at 1:37 am

SW, it only gets worse.

I’ve been teaching at JCs for years and Dim’s parents keep coming back. FERPA is, indeed, your friend. Not every parent, or every Dim, wants to accept that, though.

This is my first online comment, ever. Thanks AOM for a worthwhile forum for important ideas.

26 Adam G March 3, 2012 at 6:42 am

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2009 and had a hell of a time finding work leading up to the graduation date. My parents thought it would be helpful to write up a resume for me and post it online on some recruiting websites. After never hearing back, they had told me about it. I was quite horrified to see the resume they had put together for me, misspelling classes I had taken and missing the importance of the research I was doing while in school. Without luck on my own during that time, I got into grad school on my own (I’m glad my parents didn’t try to help with that one too). While in grad school I got a part time job with a large engineering company. Based on my own merits. After graduation, I was hired on full time (not to mention I had other competitive offers as well).

I very much appreciate the willingness of my parents to help out, but I’m sure it probably turned a few potential employers away when they saw I had studied “thermaldynamics” and not thermodynamics. Luckily, at my workplace now, nobody has their parents call in…. however sometimes there still is a lack of accountability.

27 Will March 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Oh, yes! So, so, so true. Amen.

28 Rick March 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I have been a college grad for 3.5 years now. Until getting my new job a couple weeks ago (due entirely to the incredible man that hired me–I was unaware I was going to be interviewed (another reason you should always look and act your best at all times)), I’d only been able to get 1 job during that time–part time, minimum wage at that.

God bless my parents for raising me with the work ethic that they have! “You are a bright, capable, and talented young man–you can do and get what you want through your own efforts.” they’d tell me. I wish more parents believed that about their children.

I can understand the frustration of the new grads that do things the right way though. They get grouped up with all the Dims even if they weren’t raise that way, and after years and years of hearing “do well in school so you can go to college and get a good job”, it’s no wonder they feel kind of like they’ve been had when none of those great jobs they’d been told they would get actually hire them.

29 Jon March 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

The statistics are a little misleading. One third of employers reported a parent sending in a resume for a child. That is not the same as one third of all applications have parents submitting the resumes.

These problems exist but they are not that widespread. That’s what happens when parents do not give any responsibility to their children.

30 cabe March 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Our office manager does everyting for her adult child, scheduling dr appointments, signing her up for classes, getting her car insurance straight, and even letting her come to her office to use her computer to take online tests. If you ask her about it, she will tell you straight up that she is doing it to keep her daughter dependent on her so she won’t marry a Coastie (we have a large Coast Guard base here) and move out across the country. She has 2 school aged boys that are being treated the same way. Poor kids.

31 Sam A March 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Wow those statistics are just sad. I am about to graduate college right now into a stagnant job market with a useless degree. I understand the anxieties of the parents and their desire to use “connection” to help their children find employment, but this goes was too far. Just the other day my dad asked me if I would be returning to Providence, RI (my hometown) after graduation and if I wanted him to talk to some of his old friends for jobs and internships. It was an awkward conversation but I turned him down. I prefer to try to make my own way, even if it is a slow start. I know if I move back home its going to be much much much harder for me to get my butt off the couch and try to fine a “real job.” Instead I am trying the “learn to swim by jumping into the deep end” approach to real life. I’ll be moving out to another major city this summer and am going to try to do this on my own. I’m sure it will suck, but it can’t be more humiliating than having your mom fill out an application for you.

32 KO March 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm

This is totally a problem. I am a law student from a blue collar background. I have friends whose parents called and got them summer jobs for judges and firms. They then complain about it and/or expect folks to be super happy for them. Awesome.

33 James B. March 4, 2012 at 2:20 am

As a young adult there should be no shame in asking your parents for help, they generally have a bit more real world experience. But, like with most things, there is a line that needs to be drawn. They should definitely be used as a valuable resource to help point you in the right direction, but they can’t make the journey for you.

My father never wrote a resume or applied to a job for me, but I did ask him for a copy of his resume that I referenced as a template for my own, as well as tips on being prepared for a job interview.

Also, respect to all the employers who commented on trashing resumes from an applicants parents. You’re doing the right thing.

34 Blaine March 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

I am a freshman in college, and it just so happens that all of my instructors are Captains, Majors, or LT Colonels in the US Army. I can tell you that if my parents tried to call them on my behalf, they would be laughed at and I would probably receive an automatic failure. “College” has turned into nothing more than an excuse to party, live off your parents, and slide by on grades. That is completely unacceptable.

35 Jim March 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm

The blame for these children and the behavior rests on the baby boomers. They are the ones that raised kids to be like that and they are the ones taking it upon themselves to do these things. Its funny that many of the professors/employers/etc that complain about this generation, are probably doing the same thing with their children.

36 Adult March 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Are the occupiers Dims? Methinks this is so.

37 Jim McFarland March 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Wow Brett. It’s really sad to see how real independence and self-reliance in the newest generations, especially with young men, has been absolutely eroded over time. I believe 4 dynamics made this happen in our culture today: 1.) There are nearly 3 generations without Dad and his positive influence in the home anymore. Either Mom divorced or Dad works his butt off & isn’t even in the home anymore until 7 at night. Both little boys and little girls have suffered because no solid role models of male independence, self-reliance and personal responsibility are consistently around anymore. 2.) 3 generations in the West are getting softer and softer over time- because things have gotten easier and easier with what we can acquire- we’re an incredibly rich culture by international standards. There are 35 year old men I know that choose to stay unmarried, uncommitted, never had a date, and play video games all night long- why? Because they want all the cushy trappings they were raised with and what they’ve seen advertised to them since they were infants (the big screen TV, the nice car, awesome video game set up, killer sound system, Freedom to travel, have fun and do whatever they want, whenever they want) and these guys will tell you they’ll have to give it up if they commit to a woman and and the cost to raise a family. It’s made them soft. They don’t want the responsibility of being a real Father/Provider. 3.) There is a lot of enmeshment now between some parents and their children …you’ve got part-time “Disneyland Dad’s” that feel guilty because they either haven’t been around, or they divorced. And they know it. So they show up intermittently (if they show up at all) and shower their kids with goodies and theme park tickets and zero discipline and zero strong guidance. You’ve got single moms that feel the guilt of being a single parent. So they coddle their children too. And they end up being more of a friend, than a real, present parent. I’ve seen it in my nephew and niece play out right before my eyes! And if they do parent, they can’t even be fully present because they’re working so hard just putting food on the table. So parents that aren’t true parents end up attacking teachers when teachers start doing the real parenting for them. Like giving “F’s” zero student work ethic. Finally 4.) Parents today want to be “remote control parents.” They’re so tired, so run down and exhausted, and emotionally taxed from all the above, that instead of turning off the TV or computer and really engaging and parenting their children when they are home, they want a ‘remote control’ where they can just press a button from the other room while they watch TV or check Facebook, and ‘viola!’ their child gets corrected or disciplined or the teaching moment is taken care of, on its own. So, No male presence, Nothing but the lap of luxury and an addiction to goodies, Guilty, Non-present parents, and Exhausted Remote-Control parenting. That’s how you get parents calling in late for 30 year olds, nailing professors for giving “F’s” to whiney students that want to be spoon-fed, and parents going to job interviews for their pampered, irresponsible children. When I went back to school to get my Masters at age 32, I was truly shocked at how many times I heard young students actually whine and complain to Graduate level professors that “they didn’t know they were going to be tested on that” and how many professors did actually cow tow to that drivel over and over, and bend the curve or give re-tests…case in point.

38 dannyb278 March 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

how about a POSITIVE article on the youth today. There are plenty of hard working 20-30 year olds out there, but that doesnt seem to apparent on this website. I really dig AOM, but a lot of times it feels like the complaining and reminiscing of a bunch of geezers.
Like my ww2 vet Grandfather said “the good old days werent all that good”

39 dannyb278 March 5, 2012 at 10:12 am

It is also A LOT harder today to get ahead than it was in even my parents time. In my parents time of the 70′s it was typical to graduate college/get married/buy house/ have kids all before the age of 25. Not so anymore, an i dont think that makes us kids any less hard working. Unfortuately college degrees dont result in quality job placemen anymore, EVEN THOUGH you still need to get one. The price of college, housing and goods has out paced wage increases in the last 30 years. the average cost of a new car in 1970 was 3900.00. The average cost of a new car in 2010 was 29,000.00. The differance in housing costs are even greater. I hate to toss blame around, but the fact of the matter is the Boomer Generation Screwed us in a lot of ways.

40 Aaron Wilder March 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

@Jim McFarland,

I appreciate the way you presented an organized and well-thought argument. It’s not something I often see in my college-age writing students, a pity in and of itself. But I do see a couple things that I would like to go into regarding it:

1) You mention two points as numbers 2 and 4- Number 2 partaking mostly in the idea that the West has grown “softer” for three subsequent generations and leading an exceedingly easy life, and Number 4 mostly regarding the lack of parenting due to overwork.

It seems to me, at first glance, that these two things are mutually exclusive. If we had grown too soft and had too easy a life, shouldn’t it be that we are working far less and getting more for it, so that our lack of parenting wouldn’t, in fact, be from overwork but from under-discipline? The reality is that many people, myself included, work multiple jobs for upwards of eighty hours a week just to pay expenses– college loans, rent, tuition, etc– expenses that are ballooning at higher rates than ever before, and just not getting the mileage or use that they used to. I saw the change personally, in my four years in college; when I was a freshman, graduates who I ran circles around as a mere college freshman were getting high-paying jobs in the same field I was entering as an English major with a concentration in writing. This was extremely encouraging for my outlook on life after graduation. However, after 2008 the likelihood of a high-paying career straight out of college has become so exceedingly slim that it just doesn’t seem to happen to anyone– suma cum laude, two collegiate sports, dozens of publications awards and projects piloted and run– and no work. Nuts to me.

This is, in part, due to the economy– but employers are also beginning to recognize that, for many late teen and early twenties, college HAS become just a time to skate by on mommy and daddy’s pen and party it up. Standards have dropped precipitiously to keep the grades of a far less involved student body high (at my own college, it was a well-documented statistic that 10% of students took on 90% of the responsibility). Parents are now shouldering the major expenses. The student becomes less and less independent and self-guiding. And as a result, tuition rates climb exponentially to meet the ability of parents to pay as opposed to the students who are actually taking the couses and supposedly recieving the benefit. But because it is not taken seriously by some, the value of a bachelor’s degree plummets for us all.

Why do I bring up these seemingly disparate pieces? Not just becaue I am angry about paying a hundred thirty thousand dollars and working hard to achieve something that became worthless through the sloth of others, though I am angry about it; but because it is a trend developing in society. A friend of mine who is exceedingly well-traveled once told me that, elsewhere, a child works hard sometimes so that the parents can relax a bit, while in America a parent works harder so that the child can relax completely. I think this solves the seemingly befuddling link between those two assertions. The standard of living is very high in the United States, yes. But the reality is that people of parenting age are working harder, and harder, and harder to provide that lifestyle of leisure for their children, putting far less away toward retirement for themselves and in turn spending on their children, who will in turn expect that standard for theirs and will work even harder to get it. We as a people aren’t growing soft in our work ethic. We work just as hard as ever. The work is less physically strenuous, and, sure, some people are opting out of it completely. But that happens in every generation. Overall, though, we are a hard-working people.

This hard work to provide ease and opportunity for our children, in parents without the same scruples as many posting on AoM, gets taken to the extreme with helicopter parenting, etc. The parent works hard, fights for that grade or that job, so the child does not have to. They are taking the reigns in education, and in life. Not the student. Not the beneficiary. And this doesn’t only damage our children. As helecopter parenting becomes a developing trend, it damages the entire socio-economic climate that we rely on to keep the standard of living we have grown accustomed to.

In the end, any decision we make will do damage to our children somehow, because we aren’t perfect. The problem becomes when parents like this do the type of damage that creates weaklings unable to recover from said damage.

41 Ed March 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

I encourage all the Dims of the world to continue relying on their mommies to bail them out. This only leaves more room for the real adults to stand out in this tough economy. As one poster said above, any real employer would see this type of behavior as irresponsible and immediately cut them.

42 Matt H. March 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm


Thank you for speaking up! I am also a hard working 20 something that get’s lumped in with “this lazy generation.” I’ve had a job since I was 15, all while playing on the school baseball team, played drums in concert, jazz, and marching band, and maintaining a 3.5 GPA all through school. I went to college for mechanical engineering, got a summer internship which eventually lead to a full time job in IT (complicated story) and I’ve been employed through the entire recession.
All while doing this, I was constantly told that kids don’t have work ethic, kids don’t know how to dress for a job, kids don’t know how to write a resume, kids don’t know about the real world. Bull. There are a few losers out there, but I would much rather work with a group of younger people than with an older generation. Time after time we’ve shown that we can adapt, learn, roll with the punches, and run with a new idea, while the older generation resists the inevitable change. Here’s a simple example: Due to the recent growth in the company, we had to play a massive game of musical chairs to better accommodate certain departments. The younger workers had moved and settled into our new spaces, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of outright b*tching from the older workers about how it wasn’t “fair” and they didn’t like the shape of the new desks, or that they were no longer near a window.
When it comes to your second point, I’m right there with you. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. I went to school, I drive a 2001 Nissan, I have a well paying job with (hopefully) plenty of room to grow, I live in a small, 2 bedroom apartment with my fiance. I’m still $20,000 in debt for school. I couldn’t afford half the home that my parents got right after they got married (adjusted for inflation, together they were only making about 75% of what I’m currently making). I can’t even think about kids right now. Where is our recognition for working hard? Where is the recognition that we don’t have the same opportunities as the generation that likes to berate us?

43 Millennial March 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Boy my generation is starting to worry me! Whatever happened to taking the initiative? Working hard? Hustling? I hope the millennials that understand reality (I like to think I do) won’t make the same mistakes many of our parents did by coddling their kids so much. But someone needs to wake these millennials up and show them some tough love first…

44 JT March 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

My parents consider anything below 80% a fail

45 clayhack March 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Look at both Dim and Dash. They are the same age. Those of you complaining that someone is mischaracterizing your generation are missing the point. You can choose to be Dim or Dash. The mission behind this website is to help you choose Dash. And don’t even start “it’s harder today!” You freaking kidding me?

46 Jim McFarland March 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Great points Aaron, and yes, the two points you mentioned do look mutually exclusive; I think you articulated it very well with your point that it’s the children who are victims of consumerism and coddling parents, and the parents are working harder and harder to support that lifestyle. And of course those parents, by extension, later on, get way too far up their children’s asses with “helicoptering” and so on.

It’s amazing to me that colleges and companies are beginning to cow tow to these parents and are even marketing to them, instead of drawing the line. The parents need to let their kids grow up and take their lumps. But the companies and schools want the parents’ cash- so they won’t piss them off.

The Remote control parenting happens anyway, for whatever reason. I’m not sure if the etiology is rooted in poor inherited/modeled parenting skills from their parents, or single parents, or as you say, workaholic parents supporting the consumerism of their progeny. But you still basically have a great number of parents that just aren’t involving themselves with their children consistently, with their full, undivided attention, from an early age. Maybe they’re helicoptering later on, but what they really needed to do was be that involved when their kids were 3 and 6 and 8 and on up. Instead of working their tails off to throw goodies at them, and wondering why Bobby lands back at home till he’s 25 or 27

Whatever it is, the number of young men that truly want to work their asses off, make the necessary sacrifices and make it happen are more and more scant.

I’m 46 and I can flatly tell you that the two generations after me patently whined their way through class after class, while I was in school with them. And I see them whine now in the workplace too. I just saw a 35 year old “man-boy” get canned like a tuna, because he refused to put the work in, and when the boss said “it’s your job, or you work,” He said no, and was sent packing. He was pissed and blamed it on the boss and workplace. He was lazy. End of story.

It does sting, and it’s easy to get defensive, Matt and Danny. Sure there are the outliers like yourselves that take on the responsibility of a family, or work their butts off to build something for themselves, but that number is evaporating. That kind of work ethic is not the norm. And it’s not because its harder these days to work and make something happen. It has ALWAYS been hard.

The question is…Why? And what can be done about it?

Even Brett will tell you that the rampant absence of Dads in the home, consumerism and blurred gender roles have all come together to manufacture a couple of generations of boy-men, and men who refuse to grow up. Listen to some of the podcasts too. Like the interview with Dr. Gary Cross. #14

It’s always been hard.

Nothing worthwhile ever comes without one helluva lot of sacrifice. And willingness to pay the price. And I hate to sound like an “old guy” but the younger ones, in general, truly don’t want to work.

And they don’t know how motivated you get when you honestly don’t have any food on the table, your belly’s growling, and the nearest thing to Halo on an IPad mom bought you is a torn, dog-eared book on a crate in your little studio that you barely can make rent on. I slept a couple of times in abandoned buildings with newspapers over me in the winter. Mom & Dad didn’t rescue. Now that’s motivating.

47 dannyb278 March 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

Betweein 18-30 I,
-got good grades in highschool while working a job and participating in after school extras
-Army upon graduation
-BA and Masters degree
-got married
-had a child
-bought a house
-advanced in carreer

Honestly, i dont really see myself as being overly succesffull, if anything i often suffer from laziness. Many of my friends have gone the same route, and out of all the people i know, i can think of only 1 complete free loader.

It must be nice for the majority older generation to complain about us all they want, while the minority (post baby boom) has to pay for your social security at a rate of 3 elderly for every 1 of us, the direct opposite of what it was when social security was started.

“Ever since we Gen-X/Yers began working, we’ve paid 12.4 percent of our earnings to Social Security — half taken through the “FICA” tax on our paycheck and half through the payroll tax. In the coming years, Congress likely will increase that rate to more than 17 percent to delay the 2038 catastrophe. What is more, the Medicare tax (which is now a mere 2.9 percent) will increase because that program faces an even worse crisis than Social Security.

In contrast, the Boomers will get a bargain. When they entered the workforce in the late 1960s, they paid only 6.5 percent of their earnings to Social Security and nothing to Medicare. For about half of their working years, the Boomers paid 10 percent or less to Social Security and less than 1.25 percent to Medicare. Only from 1990 on, when the Boomers had earned paychecks for a quarter-century, did they start paying 12.4 percent to Social Security and 2.9 percent to Medicare — the same percentage we Gen-X/Yers have paid our whole lives.

That’s the Boomers’ bargain: They’ve paid less of their earnings into Social Security than we Gen-X/Yers, yet they’ll receive more in benefits than we will and we’ll pick up the tab. And when we retire, there will be no money saved in Social Security to pay for our retirement, unless we pull the same scam on our children that the Boomers are pulling on us.”

48 Jim McFarland March 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Nice work with what all that you’ve done by such a young age Danny, and I honestly mean that! You’re honestly a breath of fresh air, sir!

I can appreciate that you HAVE worked hard- it’s obvious you’re not lazy. You should be proud-

I’m not categorically dismissing every X/Y ‘er and beyond (I’m a Gen X’er, just very beginning of it), I’m just saying that there is a trend, a pattern.

It’s a pattern that’s been documented by sociologists and historians, and call it what you will, the “rise of masculine immaturity” or Boy-men or Men shirking responsibility, or whatever, but it’s there. Look at all the kids with half-assed dad’s or no fathers present at all. And Dad’s bring alot to the table when raising kids. Not just strength but love, protection, a role-model for relationships and how to care for women in relationships and marriage. A way for boys to understand the transition and changes into manhood. And that’s eroding dude. There is no arguing with it. Sooo many single parent, mom only households- it’s like a sickness. It’s out of balance- and it’s creating effects. Many that aren’t so good.

I was raised by a single mom. She was awesome, but my brother and I sure could’ve used some guidance and role-modeling. And love and protection. We had no clue about what it means to move through life like a man. How to build a loving relationship with a woman. How to be respectful in a relationship. That all had to be learned through trial and error. And it was painful.

We’re just speculating on the causes that’s all. Nothing personal against you or your peers.

Dr. Gary Cross, Dr. Michael Kimmel, Kathleen Parker, Dr. Kay Hymowitz, even the giant of psychology Erik Erikson saw the lack of transition in America between Boyhood and Man.

Brett has said many times that he believes that there’s a Menaissance in effect right now. A return back to those hard-working values; with a stronger male present- and the backlash is the result of each successive generation rebelling against parenting they received.

I’m one such example. I vowed I would be there for my girls.

Maybe you speak from this sentiment Danny and I applaud you.

49 Dan March 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm


Good points and thanks for laying the facts out. I’m in my mid 20s and half way through the bucket list you mentioned. Congrats on your accomplishment.

Having the IRS take a large portion of your hard work away certainly doesn’t help to motivate the so called “entitled” generation. If the supposedly great older generation feels entitled to a major portion of our paychecks, why are they surprised when the young feel entitled to something from them?

@Jim McFarland

“And I hate to sound like an “old guy” but the younger ones, in general, truly don’t want to work.”

In my workplace, the young employees (the few that there are) by far the most productive and ambitious. Most of the older employess are sliding toward retirement on the absolute minimum amount of effort. My generalization would be the exact opposite of yours.

50 Dan March 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

@Jim McFarland

“A way for boys to understand the transition and changes into manhood. And that’s eroding dude. There is no arguing with it. Sooo many single parent, mom only households- it’s like a sickness. It’s out of balance- and it’s creating effects. Many that aren’t so good. ”

I certainly agree with you on that.

51 Tank March 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

@ Jim McFarland

I fail to see how a thirty something man who has a full time job, takes care of his business and chooses not to have a family is a negative. Would you prefer he procreate with with multiple partners and not take care of the children that result.

52 Jim McFarland March 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

No, not at all… Not sure I was advocating that; but being productive…great; and obviously you don’t have to procreate and raise a family…thats a bit hyperbolic…again I’m not sure how you got that interpretation. I’m really sorry if I offended you- it wasn’t my intention at all.

I was making the pointed and very justified observation that there are many who do just the opposite…the negatives come from having single parent households…not being single. I stayed single till age 30, just to get established and travel.

Seems like I’ve stepped on a few toes- if you’re a productive man, then really my observation doesn’t apply to you…and honestly you can operate with a fact proof screen- but my experience and the experience of some pretty strong minds, including Brett McKay, the author of this blog, is that there has been a generation or more producing more than its fair share of immature men.

You can feel hurt, defensive, attack me or the government or decry the unfairness of the fact, but it is the fact. The good news is that it’s not the entire generation; and there’s plenty of examples outside of the curve…I’m one. Tank, Dan, Danny…awesome-you are too.

Interesting conversation, and some really insightful posts. Take care guys.

53 Tank March 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

@ Jim McFarland

My apologies, misguided rage at a day thankfully gone by. All to often I hear family men, friends included, complain about the luxuries I have acquired. They come off as upset that they too are not able to spend all of their money on themselves. At first glance I thought that was the direction of that segment of your post. After re-reading with a clear head I see that was not your intention and you make very valid points.

54 Jason March 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Wow. How times have changed. I had a friend some time ago that said to him on the day of his graduation that the rent was dure tomorrow.

That may be taking it a little too far, but showing up to the job interview, that is crazy. Are they going to go to work for them too.?

55 Kai March 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I recognize the arguments that are being made on both sides. I like to think of myself as one of the “hardworking” people of the upcoming generation, after obtaining my college diploma here, I’m about 1-2 paychecks away from paying it off through continually saving; I’m 22 years of age.

During my time in college getting my diploma in Sports Management, I did come across both types of students the “hard workers” and the “coasters”. I remember one guy in particular who was obnoxious, wore his pajamas to class and believe it or not, chewed and spat tobacco in class. It was extremely gross and I was surprised he got away with it.

Fast forward to exam time I get a message from Facebook from him looking to see if he could get my notes because his “laptop crashed” (he never took notes, never mind brought his laptop to class). This was the first time I’d ever had heard from him so he must not have been surprised I said no.

About a year after graduation I’m working PT for an NBA Team and am taking a tour of executives for a tour and we settle in the court side seats while the team is warming up. Surely enough, as I sit down and look two seats down he’s sitting there with his father who would have been treating him to the evening, as there is no chance he’d be able to afford it on his own.

By my own admission, I still do live with my parents, eat the food in their fridge and don’t pay rent. But they know I continually work hard at achieving FT work through completing my PT contract and once I’m able to stand on my two feet, we’ll cut the umbilical cord then.

I fully plan on once I’m making my own way I can pay them back as I know it’s been a sacrifice to get to where I am today.

56 Wildy Wilder March 8, 2012 at 1:13 am

@Aaron Wilder
Be aware that now *everyone* has a bachelors degree. http://chronicle.com/article/Adults-With-College-Degrees-in/125995/
Every time we’ve fought a war, we’ve tried to placate veterans with a few years of free college. Then the requirement to get a job rose from just having a h.s. diploma (in 80′s) to today (must have B.A. or better). It’s a complex problem, but when everyone has a degree, jobs can ratchet up the requirements.

Stop living at home.

57 gambit293 March 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

As Jon importantly noted, the survey can be incorrectly read to mean that one third of all application are submitted by parents.

Also, the numbers do not distinguish between a practice that many of us would find perfectly acceptable: networking. Grads are encouraged to take advantage of networking, which is in fact a highly effective means for getting a job.

58 Kai March 8, 2012 at 10:28 am

@ Wildy Wilder

Thanks for the poor advice; I’ll put it to the back of my mind for sure.

59 Steve March 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Well, let’s see.

When the kids are young and throwing fits in public parents ignore it because they don’t want to hurt their self-esteems. When they get older we send them off to schools where they are influenced by teachers with the usual lazy attitude union members make famous where their self-esteems are pandered to, and then they go off to college where they master “intellectual” fields like Feminist Studies.

Then we throw them out into the real world where, unlike their soccer fields at school, scores actually are kept and value and performance actually are expected. Of course these “kids” (I refer to these adults as kids due to their mentality) are angered that their 6-figure degree in Art History isn’t giving them a 6 figure salary!

So instead of putting in effort to correct the problem they fall back on what worked: Throwing tantrums. Now all across the country we have organized juvenile tantrums being thrown in the name of Occupy Wall Street protests, and guess who are the biggest supporters of the movement? Actors (aka adult children who play make believe), educators (aka professional do-nothings), journalists (aka people with worthless college degrees), and politicians that want to pander to those who want to be wards of the state!

I’m close to this age group, and basically the recession is making me start over. Right now instead of whining to my senator for free XBox games I have taken a horrendous job at a call center. Most of my coworkers are early to mid 20s. While most are very nice people, most are also lazy and uninformed. Did you know the continental US only had 3 time zones? Did you know that the location of Maryland is a big mystery? They threw us a game one day in training and they showed a map of europe with an arrow on Ireland and the question was “What country is that?” I think I was the only one who knew what it was. They thought I was a genius because I could actually answer questions outside pop culture (Oh and the death of Whitney Houston was a big deal)

These people do not show up for work, run late, take long breaks, and all that other unprofessional stuff. One coworker (whose parents bought her a new Charger) was spending at least an hour off the phone chatting with a friend. I asked why and she said she needed to tweak one of her performance stats. RIDICULOUS! Get on the damn phone!

It doesn’t matter who wins in November because this country is doomed. Seriously. A country with problems as severe as ours cannot be fixed with a generation as worthless as what’s coming online now.

60 Tank March 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

@ Steve

You make some interesting points however I must disagree with the educators being professional do-nothings. While there are educators who need to be re-leaved of their duties there are many good educators in this country limited by government regulations and lack of parental support.

61 Carl March 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

@ Steve:

Wow, that’s quite a tantrum. You’re “close[r] to this age group” than you might think.

62 An Educator March 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

I posted a copy of this cartoon in my classroom in a conspicuous location for the curious. Most of the students who have looked at walk away with this puzzled look and say, “That’s weird, I don’t get it.” Exactly!

63 McCray March 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I note that the military is still hiring.

Perhaps a little personal courage would help to augment a lack of personal responsibility.

Of course, so much of what we know of the military is fed to us by Hollywood. Problem is, those Hollywood folks (probably) never served in the military either. The inexperienced feed the uneducated.

I’ve completed 22 years (active and reserve), and recommend it highly for the unfulfilled, dissolute, wayward youth.

64 snoebay88 March 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I am a parent that is the exact opposite of what’s being portrayed here. I have two boys,as they approached their 18th birthdays and HS graduations, I told them they had to make a choice On their 18th birthday they had to leave the house with the following choices. #1 they could enter the workforce in which case I would fund the first 6 months apartment rent and furnishings to get them going.#2 go to college and I’d fund the first year,all expenses paid.
Needless to say this was met with much derision but here’s what happened.
#1 son joined the Navy with the intentions of making it a career Lost his hearing in one ear so that ended that plan. He took his 10 years of the Navy and some college courses and now he’s operations manager for a large utility company.
#2 son went to college, joined the Navy and took his skills to a large defense contractor where he is still employed.
There’s no need to coddle your children they’ll do fine for themselves ,leave them alone and let them learn.

65 Ang March 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I think this article, and many commenters are failing to distinguish between the children who are using their networks (including professional parents) and people who feel entitled to a job from their parents. So is the message here that networking is not manly? If so, that’s great for me as a woman, because that will just eliminate some competition in our ever-shrinking workforce. Thanks AoM!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter