Dear Barb—Doesn’t anybody want to work anymore?

Hey! I’m a hard-working guy in my thirties, plus working on my degree at Athabasca.  I have never had a problem finding a job, maybe not a top paying job, but at least I was working.  I have a problem with all these young people in their twenties complaining about not being able to find work.  Come on! I can walk through any mall or down any street and see signs in the windows looking to hire people.  Also there are many online sites offering jobs.  For example, is the number one job search site in Canada.  You just upload your resume and send it off to the jobs you are interested in.  I don’t understand why people don’t want to work anymore.  I also know a lot of people who are on disability or trying to get on it.  Am I the only one who doesn’t get it! Thanks for reading my letter, John. 

Hey John:

Work eth·ic – the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward.

I’m sure many people share your feelings, but I don’t think it’s simply that young people don’t want to work.  I believe the foundation of a strong work ethic begins early in life and for many this may be absent.  Also, many of today’s young people want to skip the lower levels and go right to the top.  If they have a degree, they believe this automatically gives them the advantage of higher pay and to be able to begin at a more advanced position in the company.  In some companies this is true, but not always.  A degree will give you the opportunity to work your way up, but rarely do you start out at the top.  As well, many of today’s young people who have degrees in Human Resources, Marketing, or other specialized fields are finding it difficult to find jobs in their field, as these positions are limited.  I know of a friend whose daughter graduated from college as an auto mechanic and has not been able to find a job in her field for over a year.  A woman working in a male oriented field, such as auto mechanics, is just not readily accepted yet.

Another reason why many young people are not motivated to work is because they are not ready to leave home; often called a “failure to launch.” While living at home they have everything they need: meals are prepared, laundry is done and all they need is a part time job for spending money.  The desire is just not there.  For whatever reason many of today’s parents are not motivating their children to do the adult thing and move on with their lives.  Beyond these reasons, there could be a mental health issue which is preventing some young people from being able to work and ending up on disability.  For example, they could be seriously depressed, addicted to drugs, or suffering from anxiety.  John, you are not alone in your thinking, but as with all situations, we don’t always know the whole story.  Thanks for writing.

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Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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