Friday, May 28, 2010

No answers.

"Liam O’Reilly, who just graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in history, said he had applied to 50 employers — to be a paralegal, a researcher for a policy organization, an administrative assistant — but he had gotten hardly any interviews. While continuing to search for something he truly wants, he has taken a minimum-wage job selling software that includes an occasional commission."

Over the last few weeks, I have been applying to be an administrative assistant for various companies and corporations. I knew what I was getting myself into. Certainly the jobs appear to be there now, but at a closer look they are mostly plugs employment agencies, and private parties. Two things I have been trying to avoid. Not to mention half of the ads that appear online are just scams.

“Had I realized it would be this bad, I would have applied to grad school,” Mr. O’Reilly said.

Amen, Liam. But why are people like Liam and I even in school? What's the point?
And here we are my friends, back to where we started. Liam was a history major. Shouldn't Liam be able to pursue a career based on his field of interest without having the wade in the kiddie pool for a few years? Isn't that what college is for?
With those four years, what makes Liam more qualified for a job, than someone straight out of High School, if all employers are looking for is experience and seniority? Employers that won't give it out if it doesn't benefit them finacially, especially in this job-market, as we all know by now.

“I’d call it a just-in-time job market,” said Thomas Tarantelli, director of career development at Rensselaer Polytechnic. “Many employers are holding back, waiting to see what their profits and orders will be, to see if they’re able to hire.”

So, of course, it is all up to the employers to decide whether or not to put themselves out there. It's not about whether or not you are qualified enough to even hold your head above water. There are no jobs. Right?

Jenna Alt, newly graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., applied for 20 jobs in construction management in New York beginning last fall, but came up empty-handed. While she was attending a tennis party at her aunt’s house, she said, “A friend of my aunt’s said, ‘You seem like an intelligent young lady. One of my brother’s friends owns a construction company in D.C.’ ”

Thanks to that referral, Ms. Alt will join Clark Construction in the Washington area in September, and she feels grateful.

And she's damn lucky. See what I mean about ass-kissing...I mean networking? It works out 8 times out of 10. So maybe there are jobs, but you can only find them through word of mouth.

This article is called 'Glimmer of Hope' and so it does have SOME positive outlooks on the current state of the economy:

Thomas J. Nardone, an assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that the jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 was 8 percent in April, up from 6.8 percent in April 2009 and 3.7 percent in April 2007, before the recession began.

The 8 percent unemployment rate is lower than the nation’s overall 9.9 percent jobless rate, but it is high for college graduates, who typically have a lower unemployment rate than those without bachelor’s degrees. Mr. Nardone noted that for high school graduates under age 25 who did not enroll in college, the jobless rate was 24.5 percent last month, up from 11.4 percent in April 2007.

So are we college grads really better off than those without a degree? It would seem at least a percentage of us are. Well of course, the ones who have degrees for the jobs in high demand. The rest of us were duped into "pursuing our interests".

We should all face the facts: Some degrees are worth more than others. shows in its 2010 report on the earning power of bachelor's degrees.

No surprise, engineering degrees continue to be top earners--and (also no big shocker) you have to go pretty far down the list before you see the liberal arts well represented.

But there's more to choosing a major than comparing dollar amounts. We salute and congratulate the graduates whose interests (and hard work) have led them to the following degrees--the lowest-earning degrees on PayScale's list.

10. Drama (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $56,600)
Some mega-millionaire movie stars with drama degrees (Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, for instance) may be skewing these numbers upward--for every Denzel and Meryl, there are thousands of thespians struggling to make ends meet. But you don't study drama because you want to get rich--you study drama because you love the theater. (And an ability to act comes in handy in many professions.)

9. Fine arts (starting annual salary: $35,800; mid-career annual salary: $56,300)
Well, it takes an artist to make a thrift-store wardrobe look like a million bucks.

8. Hospitality and tourism (starting annual salary: $37,000; mid-career annual salary: $54,300)
Jobs that include tips may be skewing these numbers downward--and this is an industry that looks to be on the rebound as the economy improves. Plus, the perks associated with jobs in hospitality and tourism may compensate for the comparatively low salaries--many jobs in the industry allow extensive travel (or provide considerable travel discounts).

7. Education (starting annual salary: $36,200; mid-career annual salary: $54,100)
For the right people, teaching is an immensely rewarding career--and it's truly a noble one. The good news is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment opportunities for primary, secondary, and special education teachers are expected to grow by 14 percent in the coming decade. And there will be plenty of new opportunities in continuing education for adults, as professional skill requirements change ever more rapidly.

6. Horticulture (starting annual salary: $37,200; mid-career annual salary: $53,400)
It seems that a green thumb doesn't necessarily bring in the greenbacks. But when you work among flowers and plants in a nursery or garden, who needs 'em?

5. Spanish (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $52,600)
As an old proverb puts it, when you learn a new language, you "gain a new soul." Who could put a price on that? And certainly, knowing Spanish--the language with the second-highest number of native speakers (after Mandarin)--in addition to English opens up a world of job opportunities beyond Spanish teacher or translator (as a plus, you can better enjoy a world of fantastic Spanish-language music, movies, and literature).

4. Music (starting annual salary: $34,000; mid-career annual salary: $52,000)
Hey, if being a musician were easy, everyone would do it. Some of us are guitar heroes; most of us just play the video game.

3. Theology (starting annual salary: $34,800; mid-career annual salary: $51,500)
This is the perfect example of a degree earned by someone who's "not in it for the money": people who choose to study theology often feel they're pursuing a higher calling (and often feel a strong desire to do good in the world, no matter the cost).

2. Elementary education (starting annual salary: $33,000; mid-career annual salary: $42,400)
Specializing in elementary education means a lower median salary than an education degree (number 7).

1. Social work (starting annual salary: $33,400; mid-career annual salary: $41,600)
They say that crime doesn't pay. As this list seems to point out, neither does helping people. So it's a good thing that many college students seem to believe that helping others is its own reward--social workers are an indispensable safety net for people who've fallen on difficult times. And the BLS reports that the outlook for opportunities in this field are favorable--particularly for social workers who work in rural areas or with senior citizens.

(Source: PayScale salary survey. Methodology: Annual pay is for bachelor's graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting salaries are for graduates with two years of experience; mid-career salaries are for graduates with 15 years of experience. PayScale also provides salary information by college; for more information, check out PayScale's Best Colleges Report.)

Funny how "English" isn't even on the list...

Economy fails College Graduates

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