Now, I trust all of you, so I’m hoping you can help me weigh in on this.
About once a week I see a thread on Fark.com like this one about a news story concerning youth unemployment, debt, or other factors in a failure to launch. Each and every one of these threads devolves into a raging flame war between people who believe young people aren’t working hard enough and twenty-something college grads who can’t get jobs.
I wonder why some people get so angry when college grads expect to get better jobs using degrees they paid thousands of dollars for. Why shouldn’t they? The government expects them to. Billions in student loans go out to colleges and universities every year with the expectation that they produce graduates that make enough money to pay those loans back. The US is facing another debt crisis because they can’t collect on these education investments.
Moreover, it’s not like getting a degree just involves smoking weed and arguing about Sartre. Students spend hundreds of hours doing research and writing papers in order to graduate. In essence, they paid for the opportunity to work hard at something. Does that not mean anything in today’s economy? Even if someone is over-qualified for a position, isn’t a degree a written guarantee that a person can get up in the morning and follow through with their degrees?
Probably not, given that there are millions of people out there with these degrees. It’s almost as if an important human element is now missing from the hiring process. We’ve put so much stock in degrees and certificates, but all we’ve done is create a soulless buyer’s market. Where is the future of industry going to come from if we don’t create a path for new workers?