It's bootstrap time for Generation X

Two recent developments worry me greatly about my generation. The first is that one in five men in this country – 20% – are out of work. The second is that employers have stopped hiring workers in the 35-55 age group. This makes perfect business sense. We’re either approaching, sitting on, or just past the top of the bell curve of our career earning potential. Why hire me with my wife, daughter and mortgage when you can hire the bright 20-something who’s happy for the job, any job, and costs a third what I do? If you want a little gray hair, hire the guy who planned to retire at 60 but is hanging on a few more years. He’ll gladly take the gig and maybe learn a new skill to do it, if that’s what it takes.

As my generation is actuarially responsible for the safety nets of our elders, we should double-down on the assumption that we’re on our own. Not much more complaining needed on that front: We made a promise to look after them the day we joined the workforce; maybe even the day we first showed up in our parents’ arms.