With this being an election year we are finding much is again being said about the fact that those who are graduating from college either are not finding employment or are taking jobs unrelated to their fields or beneath their qualifications. This is always worthy of notice during election years but never so much as it is during a recovering economy. Welcome to the reality that we all face when understanding politics and getting out of college. The degree has never guaranteed us that we will be starting out as CEO of any company unless perhaps our Fathers or Mothers own the business or sit on the Board, nor have the politicians ever changed an economy that guaranteed us jobs. They can simply deny us the ability to get the degree by denying us affordable student loans.
Of the three generations who I am personally attached to, who did graduate from college during strong and boisterous economies or mixed to poor economies, these were the facts when leaving college as well. As long as we have an economy we will find the directions that it takes ever-changing. When the economy changes then the need for different professional choices, often changes along with it. The experts have been trying to make an intelligent guess as to which degree will benefit us best long-term for three generations that I know of, and probably longer than that.
Certainly the automobile, railroads,inter-State system,manufacturing, opening global markets, and the internet changed how we all were able to change to different professions and see the world differently. Remember those courses that you took that you thought was a waste of time and you only took them to fill your requirements for graduation? Do not be surprised if you find that they are the direction that will lead you to the job you ultimately will take and become successful at doing.
The college degree has never guaranteed anyone a job. It does not prevent us from waiting tables or taking minimum wage jobs or starting in businesses at entry-level. What it does do is open doors for us so that we can and do have an opportunity to show how competent,imaginative,
and just how dedicated to working hard we really are.
If Mom and Dad paid for college and we did not work to pay our own expenses while in highschool or college then even with the degree we are going to have to get work experience first before any employer will consider us for a job. This is not a product of a bad economy but instead the product of a lazy student. Work requires working with or without a college degree. Without previous work experience we do not have the opportunity to show the employer the discipline that we did learn during the college years.
Discipline was the reason we took what we called”stupid subjects’ that had nothing at all to do with our degree at the time we took them. It taught us to consider other possibilities and to think outside of the narrow box that we placed ourselves in. Many a boss before you felt as you did and when given the opportunity to prove themselves they learned that the only way the degree works for us is to just get over ourselves and to work at something, even if it does not pay well. Even if it is in community or charitable work,flipping hamburgers,selling products,work in motel chains, we all need to prove to ourselves first, that we are willing to start low and make the sacrifices necessary that are made by all people and every generation many times before us.
When we do prove ourselves we can move onto the next step of the proverbial ladder.Those who do not have the degree often find the ladder is missing when their skill levels are resourced out or shipped to an over-seas market;it is literally yanked out from underneath of them. The degree is our built-in protection to readjust to the needs of the market place. With the degree we are able to stretch our ability to adjust to other markets. We all need to know and understand that the first job we get following college rarely, if ever, is anything more than the next step we take. When we don’t take the first step we fall behind everyone else who does.
You are certainly not the first generation to get out of college to find that armed with the degree you are going to find that bosses are not standing around to hold the door open for you or to pat you on the back and say what a fine job you did in college. Nothing disappears faster than yesterday when it comes to finding our own futures today and “Nothing is gained when nothing is ventured”,through our own strengths.
When I hear families say none of their sons or daughters or their twins can find work, I like so many others who realized the American dream do question why you aren’t all joining together to share expenses instead of depending on the hospitality of Mom and Dad. If I wonder that then you can also bet so is any future employer also curious, and it will and does lead to their not being willing to hire you.
With profit margins always being the underlying source of Capitalism, no one will take adults serious when they continue to rely on their parents for handouts. The longer you are unemployed the longer your ability to be hired or rehired does become. We may need temporary help once in our lives but to become dependent on it not only hurts your parents, it hurts you as well.
Many things can get in the way of those who do not get an education but it is only ourselves,who prevent ourselves from working up the ladder of success with a College degree. Your future is only limited by your lack of imagination and ambition. By your insistence to continue living the lifestyle that was provided to you by your parents, you will not ever find the level of job performance that is required unless you are given both the job and lifestyle by family members. Many a college graduate started measuring people for suits, waiting tables, flipping hamburgers,as entry-level bank or insurance employees, and at minimum wage. Many, if not all of the rest of us, learn to eat a diet of canned soup for days and in other cases to drop down to 1 meal a day. The credit card is destroyed and rent is shared by enough roommates that makes it feasible for us to enjoy a little of the college life after graduation.
Other times we find that the college life depicted in too many minds existed in the movie industry only;those who tried to live it often flunked out before achieving the degree. The rest of us were waiting tables and often working two jobs. Some of us already had families,held a job and went to college at night school. Others did what ever it took so they did not have to have roommates after college if it meant working two or three jobs. This attitude that todays college graduates are somehow an unique or special generation because they did get educated and there are no jobs waiting for them has been the reality of all college graduates of at least the last three generations, that I am aware of having both experiencing as well as knowing.
Sometimes there are fields that appear to hire while others like drama will require exceptional talent and not usually be the career choice of many either yesterday or tomorrow. It however will give us the imagination and inspiration to find ways to turn it into a job that uses unique qualities not found elsewhere. In the past if we specialized in degrees that pertained to teaching and nursing we were almost always going to be hired but with the lay offs in education, you will find yourselves facing the reality that people with art degrees and business degrees have faced since graduating college for generations before you.
The door is opened for you to explore other possibilities, so now what are you going to do with it? You may have to teach English in Mexico or China. You may have to move to a rural area. You may have to accept the fact that the college degree will not make you a great success unless you, yourself, are willing to add the ingredients of both imagination and ambition along with it, but I do assure you that once you do, you still can become all you wanted to become.
You may be like all the other people who graduated before you and discover that the job you take is not in the field you thought you would excel in but excel you can. Many find they took the easier subjects in college in order to get that degree instead of challenging themselves in more difficult arenas. That attitude will never cut it in any kind of economy or competitive field, now that you do have that degree, if you are going to make it work for you.
It is still and always will be in the hands of those who are willing to go that extra mile to get out of the home of Mom and Dad and to prove their own mastery over their own level of ambition and willingness to go where the jobs are that will give back to us the value that the degree really gives to all of us who make the sacrifices to get it.
Until the global economy pulls itself out of the malaise and greed that has rendered itself ineffective from buying American products and the College graduates do the same then our economy will not rebound at a more progressive rate regardless of what Mitt Romney and the Republicans try to convince us, otherwise. To compare this recovery with that of Reagan’s is to compare apples and oranges.
We were not relying as heavily on the European and South American markets for trade then nor were our hands tied by the huge deficit occurred as a result of not paying off two wars. Reagan also raised taxes to replenish the Treasury and we had restrictions placed on the corruption of corporations and banking, whereas they were lifted under a Republican majority later and it led to the worse financial crises in America since the Great Depression. Combine that with the fact todays Conservative led Republican Party refuses to raise taxes on the wealthy or to cut Corporate welfare or subsidies, and we have an entirely different problem to deal with than what Reagan had.
When your voices are heard about the injustices taking place in America on the backs of the middle class due to excessive greed in Capitalism and its refusal to use their profits to better us all so we can better ourselves, then they will continue with an overbalanced and unjust system that weighs heavily on the backs of the middle class while taking welfare and subsidies that only make the wealthy richer. Not many of us can claim to make 20 million a year while unemployed unless we earned it on the backs of others, won a lottery, or inherited the same. It is time for a more equitable tax system where everyone pays to variable degrees of ability into the Treasury, so that America can still defend itself and it’s future without becoming reliant on others who would defeat us all.
With discipline and independence along with imagination and ambition, no one can stop the spirit of the American worker. Rare is the person lucky enough to have a job provided for them regardless how the economy is doing, so we who do not have that potential then must try harder to show others that, “Yes We Can,” regardless of how good or bad the economy is when we do get out. Don’t deny yourself your own success on your own terms, regardless how high or low you set the bar. It still is and always will be up to you to prove it to yourself before you prove it to anyone else that you are willing to go that extra mile to make the sacrifices often involved to get started towards reaching your own goals of success. Make every day count since there are so few of them. Good Luck and Good Reality!