After the pomp and circumstance of graduation, many recent graduates now face the harsh reality of failed job hunts and substantial student loan debt. What’s a twenty-something to do?
According to Brandon Wade, founder of SeekingArrangement.com — a website that facilitates relationships between young, attractive people (primarily women) and older, wealthier people (primarily men) — some young Americans are finding rather creative ways to make ends meet in these hard times. Wade told the Washington Examiner that his website has seen a spike in new (mostly female) members in June and that, “By June graduates who have yet to land a job in their desired fields have very few options open to them: settle for less pay than they deserve or settle for a job they don’t want.” Or, apparently, use his service to trade sex for financial support.
The website, launched in 2005, is explicit in defining its niche, billing itself as “the largest dating website for those seeking mutually beneficial arrangements — i.e., a relationship between a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mommy, and a Sugar Baby.” It brags that “no other dating website is focused exclusively on helping the rich and successful meet the young and beautiful!”
Yes, this really exists. And some people are using it. A quick browse shows profiles with women listing what they expect, including one who wants up to $10,000 a month, and the website boasts it has helped thousands of its members find arrangements.
One college sophomore is quoted on the website as saying: “Men my age are too immature. My current arrangement is wonderful. Unlike other cash-strapped students, I am pampered with expensive gifts. My sugar daddy is the sweetest man I know. He is my mentor, my benefactor and my lover.”
For current students, recent graduates and their parents, no doubt this is a frustrating time. According to Generation Opportunity, the unemployment rate for 18-29-year-olds in May was 11.6 percent (10.6 percent for women). If you count the additional 1.7 million young Americans who have quit even looking for jobs, the unemployment rate for young people jumps to 16.1 percent.
Yet is this really the best that young women and men can hope for?
While some companies, like SeekingArrangement.com, are exploiting the sluggish economy and the obstacles that young people face, other organizations are creating professional development opportunities to help students and recent college graduates enter the traditional job market.
Young people in Washington, D.C., for example, have the opportunity to attend a number of evening events this summer designed to offer them advice on pursuing employment options. This week, America’s Future Foundation, a non-profit network of liberty-minded young leaders, is co-sponsoring an event, “Welcome to Washington: Networking for Career Advancement,” to give interns the chance to meet and get practical tips from some successful young professionals.
The Network of Enlightened Women, the nation’s premier organization for conservative university women, hosts its annual National Conference this week. The conference kicks off with “A Night to Network” networking reception on Thursday for interns and young professionals, which includes time for attendees to meet with others in their industry. And the Friday session features a professional development panel on how to succeed in the workplace.
These are just two examples of organizations creating programs to meet the demand of young people eager for assistance as they launch their careers.
Students and young professionals should be seeking out and taking advantage of networking and learning opportunities as well as exploring the less-than-ideal jobs that are available, which will still provide important real-world experience as well as income. Young adults need to find ways to take advantage of the opportunities out there, rather than being taken advantage of themselves.
Karin Agness is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and founder and president of the Network of Enlightened Women.