THE BLOG

Deflated Barista Generation

09/15/2011 06:45 pm ET | Updated Nov 15, 2011

I've read the reports about soaring rates of unemployment amongst 20 to 24-year-old Americans, currently around 15 percent. That figure doesn't paint the full picture of underemployment which would also count part-time workers and those marginally attached to the labor force. Living in a community loaded with talent from major universities I'm all too aware of the pressures that students feel to pursue degrees in law or business. They aren't necessarily doing so to fuel their passion but rather to fill their bank accounts with the funds necessary to repay student loans.

Unemployment for more than six months breeds depression and a loss of self-esteem. When I read that statistic I didn't visualize someone 20-24 years old. Today I received an email from a 21-year-old on the West Coast who was trying to bounce back from a venture that failed when he was 19.

Hey Jim -- I am pretty upset lately. I have been searching for a job, had two great interviews with reputable firms, follow up emails etc., but no offers. Life in this economy is getting worse and worse. And the worst part is that I am skilled, talented, have a wonderful resume and yet, still nothing.

What the f**k is up with America right now? If I had a million dollars of start-up private equity funding I could change the world.

There is soooooooooooo much talent tied up in underemployment and it's going to affect us all. I would give anything to be working -- I could be strategizing, designing, and creating, even from my laptop at home.

Sorry I haven't kept good on my word to contact you -- going through major anxiety issues / unemployment-fueled depression.

I'm only telling you this because I feel that you are an advocate for people who may feel disenfranchised right now. Publicly I have to keep an upbeat persona, but it's considerably difficult.

As an advisor to middle-market firms, I would advise you recruit as much under-the-radar talent as possible -- they're all working as baristas right now at Starbucks. World-changers are pulling shots, concocting Americanos.

Sobering.

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