I have a couple of friends studying to take the US citizenship exam this year. I’m getting periodic test questions from them, that I’m completely clueless about. “How many amendments are there?” I know we have at least two – you can hardly escape the discussion about the 2nd amendment these days, but what the first one is and whether there are more, I truly have no earthly idea (that is until today, when I learned the answer is 27). Shocking. I know.
What’s my excuse? I am an American citizen by birth. I didn’t grow up in this country, so was never exposed to American history or government in school. Would I be able to earn my citizenship today – if I came from a poorly educated European background, as my ancestors did in the 1800s? Probably not without a lot of book work.
In fact, it seems that there may be more ‘clubs’ that I lucked into that I might not be able to gain entry to if I was starting over in today’s world.
Would I be able to get into the same university? Maybe in England, where I studied. However, I know many of my University of Texas peers tell me they would never have been accepted to study there under today’s tighter entry requirements. The narrow top 8% of your class would have left them looking for other options.
As a 7-year experienced IT analyst cum-job-hopper, would I be hired today as an employee into the cradle-to-grave Fortune 1 company I recently retired from? Probably not. The employment model has shifted. You have to catch the wave as you roll off the college campus, or else you are relegated to the contractor ranks.
Would I find employment at any other major corporation with best-in-class retirement benefits today? Highly unlikely. Many companies are bringing in new hires without these programs. You and your 401K are on your own.
Would I be selected for an ex-pat assignment with a promise for my husband to also get an assignment on the same project? In the IT field, no longer as likely either. These skills are more readily found across the globe today.
There are lots more examples to be found, if I dig deeper. Each generation has their chances and opportunities. These here seem pretty amazing to me looking in the rear view mirror.