David, I’m sure there are entitled, spoiled people in my generation, as there have been in every generation. And I appreciate your insight into your own generation. But I still don’t think it’s wrong or childish for people to look for jobs they love and to aspire to help make their community a little better. Of course, along the way, there will be disillusionment and disappointment and hopefully, growth and maturing as people realize that it is not the most recognized who bring about the most change, and that any real achievement will involve patience and perseverance and slogging through some dull tasks.
But thank to the recession (which admittedly has hurt high school grads far, far worse than it has college grads), many in my generation grasp that the world is not out there to give them a job. And if you are lucky enough to have found a job (especially without months of unemployment beforehand), you’re likely getting lower wages than you would have if the recession wasn’t happening. I’m in the class of ’09; it came as a nasty shock to most of us when the economy collapsed in ’08. It was painful, and frightening, to realize how different an economic situation you were facing than you had anticipated, with just months left before graduation. So while I don’t know the stories behind Breslin’s tweeters, I doubt that my peers overall are as self-entitled now as they might have been in say, 2007.
You wrote, “I began to realize that jobs don’t fulfill us and that our purpose is found in knowing and doing the will of God, no matter where that takes us.” But what if God is leading you to a certain job? What about the parable about the men and the talents? We are given certain gifts, and part of being serious is discerning how best to use them. There’s no contradiction between knowing and doing the will of God, and having a fulfilling job. (Of course, I acknowledge that in some cases family needs play a role, and naturally, that’s a higher duty.)
There are people who don’t aspire to meaningful work, who accept it’s hard for any one person to make changes. And then they settle for a job they neither like nor hate, that makes acceptable wages, and just put up with it for forty, fifty years. Is that good? I don’t think so. For many of us, the hours we spend working will constitute a significant chunk of our lives. And I think it’s important, as individuals and as a society, that we think long and hard about how to best use their hours, and about how to match people to the jobs they can do the most good in.