January 20, 2018

Are you one of the Unemployable Generation?

“It’s not the job I want. It’s not the hours I want to work. It’s not the salary I want. It’s not in the city where I want to work.”


What happened to getting your foot in the door, proving yourself and working your way into the position/salary/company/city you want?

CNN is reporting a story that you are becoming the ‘unemployable generation.’ In Texas, we would call “them fightin’ words.”

I took a job at a major market radio station as a secretary just to get my foot in the door. I practiced typing at home at night so I could pull it off. After I had proved my work ethic, then and only then did I tell the Program Director that I had college experience on the air and would appreciate an opportunity if it ever came along. It did and I was eventually given a full-time radio shift…at horrible pay.

Later, I took a job at another station as the overnight radio host, awful pay again and even more awful hours. I knew if I could just get into this top-rated rock station, I had the ability to make my mark.

I did and I spent the next 20 years as a top-rated radio personality, working my butt off every day to stay at the top and make the big bucks.

Find the industry you want to work in and find a way to get your foot in the door. I swept floors and filed records. Offer to do the most menial of tasks, anything to become an employee at the company or in an industry, all the while forming relationships with people in the company and/or industry you want to work in. Once you’ve done that, if you work hard and have the talent you think you have, you will eventually have the job you want.

Hanging with your friends, drinking $5 lattes and complaining is not how you get a job. Don’t be the ‘unemployable generation’ – be the ‘kick ass and take names’ generation.

Tip: 5 Things To Do Every Day For Success from FastCompany.com.

Dayna Steele "My First Rock Station"

Getting my foot in the door at my first Rock Station! (and happy to be there!)

Another related post from Dayna –> LinkedIn for Success: When You Start to Look for that First Job

Serial entrepreneur, author and speaker, Dayna Steele travels the world to improve performance, create strong teams, increase company sales and grow businesses with her Rock Star Principles of Success. Dayna is the author of Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars and her forthcoming book is 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day.

About the Author: Dayna Steele (27 Posts)

Dayna Steele is the creator of YourDailySuccessTip.com and the author of the 101 Ways to Rock Your World book series. She went to college when she was 16 and had a really good time. In speaking to college students, Dayna shares the everyday principles of success she learned from years of mingling with successful Rock Stars as one of the nation's top Rock Radio DJ's. She helps her audiences Rock to the Top in college, in their careers, as entrepreneurs and in life. Dayna speaks about SUCCESS to college students, business people and entrepreneurs across the globe and is available to speak at your next campus event.


  1. Do you have any suggestions for someone who graduated with a masters at the top of their class but can’t get anyone to hire me in, or out of, my field? The internships I had didn’t lead to employment (we were told they wouldn’t from the get-go) and I can’t find any places willing to let me get my foot in the door. I have repeatedly offered countless employers to work up to six months without pay if they will just give me a chance and I’ve had no luck at all. I’m at a complete loss. I used to get jobs so easily. The longer I stay unemployed, the harder it is to find anyone to even talk to me. Please, I’ll listen to anyone’s advice and I’ll accept any job for any amount of pay.

  2. This is just another, “walked in a blizzard to school in 30 foot snowdrifts in short pants” story
    Ignore it, it’s not productive.

    The career ladder is a fallacy, a relic from the 20th century that belongs to a generation now collecting social security.

    My advice as someone in their 40’s? Figure out your talents and pursue them till you can figure out how to strike gold. In the meantime take whatever job you can get but don’t get owned by it. There’s a prevalence of the slave mentaility in the workplace these days, avoid it if possible. Treat every employer promise as empty and you’ll find yourself far happier in life.

    The truth is, you can break your back for 20 years, make millions for your employer and at the end have nothing to show for it but the aforementioned broken back. Jobs these days are a means, not and end. Get that straight and you’re ahead of the game.

    Look, you may have to brush your teeth every day but that doesn’t mean you have to become a dentist to prevent cavities.

    Unless you like looking at teeth all day that is…:-)

  3. Pablo Abug says:

    I applaud your personal story it is just what it appears a lovely story. It may be the upmost arrogance to believe that nothing has changed in that time. I won’t even begin with snide latte comment. Yes you were able to work at a low paying job when you were young and out of college. Let me ask you this how many tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt did you have? Simply put that option is off the table for many as they will face financial ruin other wise. Now lets consider if you did decide to take a starter job today. The part time job I had in college pays exactly the same it did 22 years ago. Do you think the cost of say a gallon of gas has changed in that amount of time. How fast was your internet connection when you got out of college. So all those jobs that are now outsourced to Asia and other continents were still here? Were there more manufacturing jobs when you got out of college then there are now? What we are experiencing is a cross the board shrinking of the economy the like of which has not been seen since the great depression. When was the last time the federal government was asked to support private financial institutions to prevent economic collapse? The year you started at that radio station perhaps?

  4. Mr. Whim says:

    I do not know a single person in my generation who has not LOST a job in the past year, myself included.

    One friend was forced to leave a job doing what she loved, working with children, because working with them involved a lot of bending over and picking them up, and she injured her back severely as a result.

    Another got a job after several months of looking, describing it as an amazing job that she felt she was doing very well at, only to be called in the third day of work and let go because she “just didn’t fit the job”.

    Another, with two bachelor’s degrees and almost a master’s (before financial aid cut him off and wouldn’t let him finish,) who spent his entire academic career aiming to be a teacher, got a temp job as a game tester that ended after a few months, a stocking job that aggravated existing back issues and forced him to quit as a result, and now subsists entirely on any freelance writing job he can find. (Assuming, of course, that the work he puts forth for it is chosen and he actually gets paid for it).

    I was laid off from my job of SIX YEARS, which I had since sixteen years old, after watching my entire department around me being outsourced to India. That six years work experience on the resume is the only reason I now have another job.

    The people you are talking about, lamenting their joblessness over lattes, are not the majority in my generation. They are the job-hoppers, who miraculously get hired over people who really need it, and then set a bad precedence for everyone in the age bracket with their entitled behavior.

    “Why would we hire someone that young ever again? We hired one and he was horrible! Obviously, everyone in that generation has the exact same worth ethic! Let’s just stick to giving ourselves bonuses!”

  5. This article is the equivalent of walking up to a swimming pool where a man is drowning, while holding three or four life jackets, and then tut-tuting at him for drowning and wondering aloud about why oh why doesn’t he just try NOT drowning.

  6. Hi, I’m really upset after reading this flippant dismissal of my generation and here’s why.

    I have been out of my field for two years. I had to leave a great job in advertising–let’s note that I got this job BEFORE the financial collapse–to be with my fiance. I don’t know if choosing my fiance over my career already makes me deserving of unemployment, as your idea of “the unemployable generation” implies, but we’ll ignore that for now.

    Two years in Canada and the only job I have been able to get has been working at my boyfriend’s warehouse. That’s it. One. I am either overqualified, not qualified enough, or there are 25 other candidates that somehow have an edge over me (being Canadian citizens might be one of them).

    To date I have done FIVE internships, all of which went amazingly well–one company even tried to hire me. I say tried, because eventually they had to renege the offer because of the economy. The rest of them, I was well liked, they wrote me excellent reference letters, but at the end of it, I realised I’d been used. All of them were your age. I’ve never said “no” to doing dumb, menial tasks for no pay. I’ve brought energy and passion to what I do because I was excited to be getting experience, and my bosses have always genuinely liked me. But at the end of the day, I still have no job.

    I’m really angry that you can write off a whole generation when I’m living proof that those of us who do exactly what you did back in the ’80s or ’90s is now just used to keep companies afloat in a shitty economy.

  7. When I think I’m unemployable, I’m basing it on how I never had a career despite 20 years of trying and a dozen job coaches since I have special needs/high functioning learning disability, and now I’m in my 40’s with no marketable skills or experience and a very bad job history. I have a desire to do certain things in life (involving my love of creative expression) but none of them relate to a “dependable job”, so I figured I’d get a “real job” and pursue my personal dreams as hobbies on my free time, but nothing happened for 20 years besides dead end jobs with no direction and periods of unemployment, and I never had money to do anything really. I currently work part time making about $10 a week. Life is frustrating and seems pointless anymore.

    • the same thing happened to me for 21 years and does so to this day i have a college degree in economics and public administration , i have no marketable skills or experience /there was always some one else who was better qualified or some other reason , your underqualified, your overqualified, no relevant work expericence in your field or degree/ etc etc it can happen to anyone/unless you can become a medical doctor and going to get into medical school or dental school college is a complete waste of time and money if your trying to get a career or any job with a living wage.

  8. I think that nothing good from negative thinking that’s a surety but its very easy to claim that the route to success is A + B and if you’re not able or prepared to do it that then thats hard cheddar. People who worked there way up always say things like ‘i did menial tasks etc’ but discount the fact that it takes someone to take favor on you and this can happen for a variety of reasons – personality, looks, attitude, good luck. Im not saying this is the case but you look cute on that photo and could this possibly have opened a few doors for you? It certainly rarely hinders. We are given what we are given and some people have less and some people have more. Some people are more introverted, some people are depressed, physically handicapped, born with abusive parents, what you describe as the route to success fits your set of circumstances, they are not a ‘one size fits all’. Some people can walk into a company and ask for jobs and because of personality the company will find something for them. Ive never found it to hard to find work, I’m a charming, intelligent, educated man but those are my set of circumstances. I’m not great at towing the line and I understand and accept that. Please don’t eulogize that if you are not successful its because you are not doing it like you. We have to deal with who we are, you and people like you tell us that you are no good if you don’t behave in a way. Its nothing to do with skill or hard work – its behavior.

  9. OK Dayna. You’re clearly out of touch with the times. Getting a foot in the door was a great tactic in days of yore when getting a job meant job security, pay raises, and a career to call your own. Nowadays you’re lucky if your job lasts more than two years. My generation is constantly looking for the next step in a constantly shifting job landscape. Pay is low and stays low employers cut jobs willy nilly and truth be told, after a while it becomes hard to get that next job because suddenly you’re ten years older and you have a family and that starting salary you always seem to be offered doesn’t pay for the diapers. I can’t stand it when baby boomers such as yourself, the very people who through greed and short-sightedness put my generation in this quagmire, get on your high horse and criticize us for suffering through the mess you put us in. Go ahead, have fun with the social security that we’re paying so you can get the cherry on top of the cake you had and ate all at once. But don’t sit there and say that you’re a better generation because you had jobs and we have to suffer at your hands.

    • Warren. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I passed your comment around a recent business gathering of successful entrepreneurs of all ages. All said the same thing. “I think I know why he doesn’t have a job.”

      • To start with, you adressed none of the original poster’s points, only took the time to stick a finger in his eye; shame on you. To move on, you really don’t have any idea what it’s like to try starting on the bottom rung these days.
        Now it’s lovely that you “passed the comment around at a gathering of successful entrepreneurs”, that’s great, but not everyone is, or even can be, an entrepreneur. It’s easy for the people who have their success in their pocket, had the money to get started, and don’t have to worry about how they’ll be paying for food that week to scoff at those without the advantages of: resources, location, timing, economy, or a novel product or business model that they developed themselves or copied off someone else. Take a moment to make a cursory comparison of minimum wage when you started, against the consumer price index, rent rates (or home ownership), and the rate of inflation as compared to those pieces today and you’ll see that you were afforded an incredible advantage economically that none of today’s job seekers are. I suggest you spend a little more time being thankful for the advantages you had, and a little less time pissing on those who didn’t; same goes for you Mr. Svendsen.
        Personally, I live in a more rural state, in a more rural area where my wife is employed in a professional position with a state specific professional license, so we cannot relocate, and could not now if we wanted to. Since the recession began we have seen locally owned businesses, and even a hefty number of corporate entities, shut their doors permanently in this area. From restaurants, to bookstores, to insurance agents, jobs are becoming fewer and farther between here. All the jobs that have risen up to replace those lost are (without exception in this area) either lower paying and frankly dead end, OR require you to be in a trade or highly educated specific field (like plumbing and neurology). Now regardless of what you have preconceived as the reason young people today are finding it hard in the job market here are some facts ACTUALLY influencing employment: overseas outsourcing, delayed retirement, part time jobs for the retired, more selective corporate personality testing for positions, massive competition for any and every job, and the “it’s not what you know, but who you know” problem, among others. I’ve been fired from two separate full time jobs since I was 20, for no specified reason at one, and against written company policy at the other, less than two weeks before my benefits kicked in at both; but such is life when you live in an “at will” employment state. I had a great, and decent paying job, cooking at a nursing home, where I got great performance reviews every time, but since my position was eliminated during budget cuts all I could find was a single labor position that I was let go from after two weeks for “not fitting in”, I did all my work, faster and more accurately than most of my other entry level co-workers, but what I didn’t do was sit around making small talk and socializing with a cigarette in my mouth. Since then I’ve been offered only one job, an hour commute away, for only 24 hours a week, at minimum wage, cooking, a field I have over three full years job experience in. Post recession, if you live in this area, and you aren’t: self employed, a nurse, a doctor, a long haul trucker, or a laborer “who fits in”, then you aren’t employed. Even the people I know with jobs in this area have all seen either: a drop off in work; a drop in pay; increased demands to work overtime hours without overtime pay; or are told that they should feel “lucky to have a job” working at the dollar store for minimum wage, with a college degree, even if they can’t feed their kids without state assistance.
        So, in short, take your snarky, self important and impressed, and superior “I’m so great” attitude and shove it firmly up you colon, until you have it really lodged up in your cecum, but first get your head out of there and try seeing the world from the bottom, instead of just criticizing it from the top.

        • I sincerely wish there was a show (somewhat like the Secret Millionaire) where CEO’s, government officials, and the likes would have to live for a month (or a LOT MORE) as a person with nothing.

          Have to try to find a job in a small town or have a minimum wage job, have to overcome the negative feelings that come with having lost everything – and – possibly other negative factors (having to relocate, lose your social network, depression that comes from feeling like you’re not good enough in comparison to others competing with your for the job when you don’t get a call-back, etc).

    • John Svendsen says:

      Agree completely Dayna. I wouldn’t hire him either — unless I too wanted to play the “blame game”. Sadly there are far too many people out there that believe they are “entitled” and that the “world is unfair” and on and on. The reason Warren’s generation is in a “quagmire” is self evident — they have been pandered and coddled far too long. His generation has been praised and rewarded for minimal effort even in the face of lowered expectations that he continues to have high expectations of recognition and reward from others with minimal effort on his part. And obviously turns a deaf ear to those that may be able to offer him a different perspective on life. The lifestyle they seek cannot be supported by the effort they give.

These people are talking about us...

  1. […] of my posts on this blog  – Are You one of the unemployable generation? – focused on getting a job and staying employed, especially for college graduates. Here is a […]

Share your comments with us...