Belfast Telegraph

Don't let piercings fool you, our youth are not getting worse

By Liam Clarke

At any point in history - from classical Greece to yesterday evening - some writers have consistently recorded a crime wave.

Similarly, the behaviour, speech, appearance and language of young people has always been outrageous.

Standards are always slipping - or so it seems from the vantage-point of middle age.

There may have been an element of this in the complaints from employers that job applicants display body piercings, tattoos and the wrong attitude, as reported in this paper this week.

It reminded me of one of my first jobs as a welfare rights worker for an EU project in the 1970s.

Unemployment was high, but some people still didn't want to take the jobs they were sent to by the dole.

I remember advising one client that he would have to take a post if he was offered it, even though he believed it was too far away and the wages were too low to make travelling there worthwhile.

"There's a way round it," he told me. "Don't shave for the interview and have an old bottle of wine sticking out of your coat pocket."

He reckoned Mundies - a fortified concoction - would be the most effective choice.

At least today's young people weren't accused of that by would-be employers.

It's true that they should learn to spell, but they tend to be a conscientious bunch. Let's cut them some slack on the dress-code.

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