The generation before mine is often called "The Best Generation". I have no argument with that. They, as a whole, were an amazing group of people who accomplished great things.
I would like, though, to nominate my generation as "The Most Courageous Generation". This is why.
The economy, as we know, is horrendous. Budget deficits abound and with those deficits come layoffs. I know more than one person who, when their position was deleted or their company went under, lost their jobs. These are educated, accomplished people who thought that, after years of service, they had job security. They did not.
So, these people who were suddenly unemployed, what did they do? Did they give up their homes? No, but some did lose them when they couldn't find work. Did they apply for welfare? The folks I know didn't, at least not until they had used all of their own resources and some of their family's. Did they sit and wait for the government to help them? No, they did not.
Most of them, after looking for a new position for months, after sending out resume after resume, after travelling to interview after interview, often on their own dime, did not find a new job in their chosen field. A lot of them were not hired because of their age. We all know that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of age. We all know that employers do. I am not blaming them.
But, what did those people of my generation do? They looked around. They asked for help. They got training in fields that they never, ever thought of as a career. I know attorneys who are truck drivers. I know business owners who became door greeters at the big box store. I know accountants who are now private tutors.
Most of these people are not making, monetarily, what they did in their previous lives. Most of these people, however, can still look at themselves in the mirror when they get dressed to go to work and know that they have done the best they can. That they are doing the best that they can.
It takes a special kind of courage to face a world that you never intended to enter and to make a success of it. It takes a special kind of courage to get up every day and do what needs to be done, whether it is going to school or knocking on doors or calling old friends for leads or making cold calls for jobs. It takes a special kind of courage to not give up, to not sit in a government provided house, eating government provided food, and just waiting for the job fairy to show up with that 6 figure job.
So, friends, I am proud of you. I am proud of each and every one of you and I am proud to call you my friends.