All that hard work. Where's the payoff?

 A couple years ago, Lindsay Runyen's father was laid off from work. She saw how much he suffered -- how his many years of experience turned into a liability on the job search front, as did his lack of official education credentials. 

So Runyen, 23, with her college degree in education and a yearning to teach history, isn't going to complain about her bartending/waitress job at Winnie's LeBus in Manayunk. It's a good job. She's paying the bills, she likes the work. Anyway, it's not her style. "I'm 23. I'm making money at the restaurant. I'm comfortable. I've learned how to manage," she said. "Who am I to take a job away from someone who needs it?"

Her father eventually got a job, and the story is a triumphant one that Runyen proudly shares -- how her father showed the value of his experience and people skills when the younger, more educated guy couldn't close the deal. How someone like her father could lose a job, Runyen doesn't know. "It's the way of the world," she said. "You just have to shake your head. That's the way it is."

Like many of the young people described in the Inquirer series, "Struggling For Work: The Broken Dreams of a New Generation,"  Runyen says she's willing to pay her dues. In fact, she has paid them all along.

At college, she saw her classmates park their nice cars in the lot, heard about their great vacations, and saw how they got mentored. Meanwhile, "I worked every weekend in college. You learn hard work. You learn how to manage yourself, you learn how to manage your money. You learn how to budget your time."

But what about a payoff?

More on that tomorrow.

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