You Can’t Find Your Dream Job? Good.

Nothing will force you to reconsider your priorities and passions faster than a double shift at the drive-thru window. Graduating in a recession may be the best remedy for my generation.

Plenty of hubbub is flying around the blogosphere about the crummy job market and college graduates’ struggles to find consistent employment. An unstoppable horde of cynical, degree-wielding adults is storming the Internet in order to ricochet sob stories off one another. Almost without failure, they blame the recession, or the president, or each other. They moan endlessly about how they can’t find a career that stimulates them, a vocation that relates to their studies, or whatever.

Good. Their moans are music to my ears – the sound of shattered delusions. Discontent is the precursor to change.

It may come across as a shock to the swarms of bright-eyed, soon to be college graduates out there, but landing a dream job isn’t easy. Hell, finding one you can tolerate is rare enough. Most people are miserable with their jobs and those who tell you they aren’t are lying. Maybe one out of a hundred people goes to work every morning riding on a ray of sunshine with a grin on his face. The truth is, most people who have found true happiness in their work, didn’t come across it easily. They strayed from their plans and sampled a cornucopia of occupations. If you are having a hard time figuring your life out, take it as a good sign.

If you want to be one of the few people who are truly happy with their jobs, it takes more than a bachelor’s degree, a firm handshake, and wishful thinking. You need the courage to explore your interests, the integrity to recognize your mistakes, and the patience to overcome your failures. And there will be failures galore.

College isn’t some guaranteed gateway to success. Like everything else in life, what you get out of college is proportional to what you put into it. Blaming your early-onset, mid-life crises on the nature of society or some elusive economic conundrum will only appease your frustrations for so long. Instead, take stock of the benefits your youth offers and explore your passions while you can. Retirement is not the time to start putting tallies on your bucket list. Plus, your false hip won’t take the stress of skydiving.

If you can’t find a use for your anthropology degree or are tormented by occupying the lowest rung of the corporate ladder, take a moment to reconsider your professional trajectory. Changing career paths only becomes more tedious over time. Before you know it, the job you are doing “just to pay the bills” will become your life’s work.

Like most people, I was led to believe that an education from a four-year university meant four years of hard work followed by a new car, a house, a reasonable retirement plan, and vacationing once every few years somewhere exotic.

I knew that once I was awarded my bachelor’s degree in English literature, endless hallways packed with doors of opportunity would materialize before my eyes and invite me into sweet, comfortable career-hood. My impressive GPA and extracurricular activities would make me the star of all the job fairs, my literary analysis skills the talk of the town.

Much to my surprise, no impeccably dressed individual appeared at graduation to offer me a sign-on bonus, a job of any sort, or even a part-time, unpaid internship. I could have sworn my high school counselors explained that was what was supposed to happen after college. Instead, I walked across a stage, shook some stranger’s hand and went home with a slip of paper bound by ribbon that read, “This is not your actual diploma.”

Since graduation in 2007 I have worked six jobs and two internships in five very different fields. Similar to how I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist in middle school and a professional athlete in high school, my interests have changed dramatically. Thank god.

I have worked as a landscaper, a professional firefighter, a tutor, a high school English teacher, and now a writer. I have earned two college degrees and I am working toward a third. I am proud of my life’s course because, despite its unconventional trajectory, I am now confident about what I love doing and I know how to make a living doing it.

The record underemployment rates glaring in the faces of countless millennials could be our generations’ biggest blessing. If nothing else, suffering a terrible job forces you to develop a purpose in life, even if it is out of spite. And defining your life’s purpose is the first step to being happy.


Originally published by The Good Men Project:


Evil versus Evil with a gun

The argument that evil acts reside solely in the person committing the crime and not in the tools they use to commit the crime may be the most ludicrous argument ever presented by pro-gun advocates. A psychopath with a knife is more terrifying than a psychopath by themselves. An evil man with a semi-automatic assault rifle will always be more dangerous than an evil man alone. Society cannot directly regulate that evil man, but we can control his access to dangerous weapons. If pro-gun advocates wholeheartedly believed that evil actions are committed by people alone, regardless of their access to deadly weapons, then they would also need to protect the sanctity of gun-ownership from evil men to keep their arguments in line. They would have to advocate for stringent and painstakingly thorough background checks on gun owners and the residents of their households. They would have to require gun-owners be trained. They would need to insist that all gun-owners have safe and secure storage for their guns. Believers in the tired saying; “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, would have to support and help enforce laws preventing mentally ill, violent, or otherwise dangerous people access to guns in order to protect their image of responsible gun ownership. But they don’t. They consistently encourage everyone and anyone to own guns simply because they can. Laws cannot regulate the evil contained in any persons heart any better than it can regulate the logic of simpletons, but we can control the mediums though which they deliver that evil unto the world. It is time for our laws to change.

The second amendment grants us the right to keep and bear arms, and I believe in that right.

However, I also believe that your right to bear arms ends the moment those arms are no longer meant to function for either sporting purposes or home defense. There is simply no circumstance of home defense in which 100 bullets in a single magazine is required. Likewise, if you are a responsible recreational hunter and you require thirty or more shots before reloading, you are a lousy hunter and would benefit from investing in a new hobby. There is no logical argument outside of “because I can” that supports any private citizen’s right to buy and own a semi-automatic assault weapon. The day that our right to own or bear these weapons – weapons that can carry dozens of bullets and are designed for the sole purpose of inflicting the maximum amount of carnage – supersedes our nation’s commitment to the safety of our citizens and our children, is a dark and immoral day.

The second amendment, along with the rest of The Bill of Rights, was passed in 1791. In 1791 the typical hand gun carried a single shot. It was more than twenty years later, in 1814 that the first revolvers – guns able to carry multiple shots – were introduced. Still, these guns only held up to six rounds. It was 103 years after the second amendment passed that the first semi-automatic handguns were introduced. These guns still carried less than a dozen bullets in a single magazine. In the 1980′s and the 1990′s most police forces began switching to semi-automatic handguns instead of revolvers. Even our nations most trained and experienced peace officers and security guards don’t regularly carry assault rifles, let alone magazines that hold 100 rounds. Today, we have semi-automatic handguns and assault rifles that can hold dozens of rounds in a single clip and can be concealed in a relatively small space. As has been demonstrated in recent events, these weapons are not difficult to procure despite past acts of violence, mental health issues, or lack of professional training. Politicians in 1791 were no better equipped to pass laws regulating the use of such weapons than we are currently equipped to pass laws on the ownership and use of atom-scrambler cannons and disintegrater-rays. Citing the second-amendment as infallible proof that citizens should be allowed to own and carry semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity cartridges is flat out lunacy.

Mrs. G. has a Glock in her desk. Mr. S. has a six-shooter.

Any effort to recruit and train teachers as armed guards on school campuses is utterly outrageous.

I am a teacher. I personally have great experience with guns, and I respect their appeal and their power. I have completed hunter’s safety courses, and have been individually trained in how to carry, clean, and handle a variety of firearms. I would never under any circumstances carry a loaded gun onto a school campus.

No amount of training would prepare any teacher for carrying a deadly weapon into a room full of children or teenagers. Guns should not be allowed in a classroom. They should not be locked in a teacher’s desk. They should not be in the parking lot, locked in a teacher’s car. Period. If a tragic event took place on a school campus involving brass knuckles, you wouldn’t start passing them out to teachers. Likewise with lead pipes, chainsaws, knives or anything else that could be used as a dangerous weapon. Why on earth would giving guns to teachers ever cross anybody’s mind as a good idea?

Smoking is not allowed on school campuses. Alcohol is not allowed on school campuses. Offensive clothing is not allowed on school campuses, but now guns are up for debate? Guns in the hands of teachers? Really? Teaching is hands-down the most emotionally and intellectually demanding profession in the world. On a daily basis, teachers are entrusted with the physical, moral, and emotional well-being of our nation’s children. Now some pro-gun advocates want to arm them, effectively dumping the responsibility of life and death at the pull of a trigger in the hands of some of the most honorable, over-burdened, and under-appreciated people in the nation. Teachers are already playing the roles of guardians, mentors, coaches, confidants, surrogate parents, and counselors. Do we really want to add armed guard to their overwhelming duties?

Whether or not there should be trained, experienced, and properly licensed guards on school grounds is ultimately for the families of the students to decide. These people, should they exist in school communities at all, should not be the school’s teachers under any circumstance. The fact that this topic has become a serious debate is downright frightening. If you are a teacher and a pro-gun advocate and you believe that you have the right to be armed on a school campus, you should not be evaluating your rights as a gun-owner, you should instead be reevaluating your decision to be a teacher.

My Generation

The more I read about Generation Y, or as some call us, the Millennial Generation, the more I discover that we are regularly being defined by what we aren’t. We are not business savvy. We do not and have never struggled. We cannot advocate for ourselves unless there is an app for advocating. We are not organized, professional, or punctual. We certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about anything outside ourselves.  Essentially, we are nothing like the generations before us. We can’t cook. We can’t dress appropriately. We can’t buy anything without a co-signer unless it is the latest fashion or I-doodad. We can’t manage a house let alone a business. We can’t initiate social change. We can’t invest and we certainly can’t save. We are a generation defined by inability and exclusion. As a member of this generation I’d like to take a moment to define myself by explaining what I’m not.

I do not depend on my family or friends for financial support. I do not wear my pants below my waist. I have never hooted, hollered or whistled at a woman from a vehicle. I am not lazy. I do not wear T-shirts with cartoon characters on them. I do not care about the latest fashion trends and I certainly do not define friendship through the use of a button. I can not fix your computer. I am not unemployed and I haven’t been since I was fourteen years old. I don’t wear my baseball cap backwards nor do I leave the sticker on the flat bill. I do not break the law, nor have I ever received so much as a speeding ticket. I don’t text and drive because I am not that coordinated and because it is dangerous. I never bypass a person in need and I never post my needs online looking for sympathy. I have never sent my food back in a restaurant. I have never waited in line for a sale or the release of a new product. I do not expect the world to hand me a career or a comfortable life. I am not a racist or a bigot, and I do not hold any prejudices against any group of people. I am not a liar or a coward. I am not a scapegoat for the failings of previous generations. I am not disillusioned about the adversity my generation will face in the years to come. I am not misinformed or under-educated. I am not a product of any other time period and I am incapable of being such.