Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Responsibility in the Age of Entitlement

I'm still (slowly) working on my piece about public virtue, but in the meantime I ran across this story and thought it was appropriate to the discussion of the Age of Responsibility.

Joseph Sabol is a 27-year old recent college graduate who's looking for work. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But Sabol's grabbing attention by hanging out at a busy intersection in Lancaster, PA with a sign that says "College grad looking for employment" on it. Sabol's actually received 17 different interview opportunities, but he's still out on the street. Why?

James Wenger, owner of Lancaster Nissan, said he called Sabol on Tuesday and asked him to come in for an interview. Wenger said he offered Sabol an interview for a sales position that within five years could earn as much as $100,000 annually with benefits.

Sabol turned Wenger down.

"For him to not even want to come out and do an interview was really disgusting," Wenger said. "We're supposed to feel sorry for you. Sometimes you don't get what you want and have to make sacrifices.

"So if he can't have the ideal job, ideal hours, ideal pay, then he'll just sit around and be a victim?"

Sabol said his dream job is marketing assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he is looking to use his degree to go into any sports team marketing, and he is willing to relocate.

"I want my job to be the perfect fit for me," Sabol said. "I'm not going to just accept anything. I want a job to fit my career goals and dreams."

My first job out of college was the graveyard shift at K-Mart, working as a stockboy. On my days off I worked the graveyard shift as a cook at Hardee's. Fifteen years later (give or take), I'm no longer in retail. In fact, I've worked my way up to a close approximation of my dream job, but it's taken a lot of hard work and effort. I've had to push myself, and when I've felt like slacking I've been blessed to have family and friends that have pushed me. Unfortunately, Mr. Sabol doesn't have the same support system.

Sabol said he has the support of his wife and mother, who originally gave him the idea to take his plea to the streets. He said his mother is very proud of him and is hoping for the best.

His said his wife, Shani, finds it amusing to see pictures of him on the street corner.

"I will be at this as long as it takes. I want to start my career and fulfill my career endeavors," Sabol said. "I'm extremely optimistic.

"I just have to keep working hard, and good things will happen."

You're 27 years old, and you have no job. You aren't working hard, and your wife and mother are enabling you. You're 27 years old and you are still a child. Joey Sabol, you've got a lot of growing up to do.

The sad thing is, I don't think Sabol's really all that unusual, even if his method of getting his "dream job" is out of the ordinary. The children of helicopter parents are graduating college and should be entering the real world, but far too many of them have false expectations and entitlements. They don't work hard; in fact, I don't think they're capable of working hard in a job that is unsatisfying.

Before we can usher in the Age of Responsibility, we have to destroy the Age of Entitlement. Sabol's wife and mother could do their part by not encouraging such childish behavior from a 27-year old man. We can do our part by not encouraging similar childish behavior from our own family and friends. Having a dream is great, but dreams should never be more important than our waking lives. Dreams may or may not come true, but our life moves forward whether we like it or not. Keep living in dreamland, and you may soon find that real opportunity has passed you by.

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