Being young in Europe: ‘surreal and ultimately sad’

The second sentence in this article about lack of opportunities for young adult Europeans is pretty heavy stuff for a New York Times lead:

LECCE, Italy — Francesca Esposito, 29 and exquisitely educated, helped win millions of euros in false disability and other lawsuits for her employer, a major Italian state agency. But one day last fall she quit, fed up with how surreal and ultimately sad it is to be young in Italy today.


The rest of the article rings pretty true on this side of the Atlantic, as well.

It galled her that even with her competence and fluency in five languages, it was nearly impossible to land a paying job. Working as an unpaid trainee lawyer was bad enough, she thought, but doing it at Italy’s social security administration seemed too much. She not only worked for free on behalf of the nation’s elderly, who have generally crowded out the young for jobs, but her efforts there did not even apply to her own pension.

Question to readers: to what degree do you think this article rings true in the U.S.?

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

2 Responses to Being young in Europe: ‘surreal and ultimately sad’

  1. Bill Werner says:

    I think that “surreal” is an excellent word–precise and appropos for the situation. We are told all of our lives that if we work hard, study, pay our dues–then we will be successful. But alas–regardless of the age of the person we are discovering that someone has raided the cookie jar. Job prospects are shot down because: Company’s are out-sourcing middle class jobs elsewhere; or extremely restrictive and onerous tax, zoning or EPA requirements by Governments keep manufacturers from opening or expanding–let alone competing with cheap and inferior imports; The centralizing of monies with National Banks and companies–they take money out of a community and send it elsewhere.

    google the term ” koyaanisqatsi” and you will see that the problem is observed much earlier than now.

    She should consider sending her resume elsewhere–a command of 5 languages is a very rare commodity when combined with a Law and Masters Degree…..

  2. elainemeyer says:

    I just put that movie on my Netflix queue. Thanks for the suggestion. I just wonder how we can keep middle class jobs here. Penalize companies for outsourcing? Incentivize new industries? Hope that doing business abroad becomes as expensive as it is here?

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