Graduates And Employment: Is Society Too Focused On Jobs And Careers?

The Ticket to the Rat Race
The Ticket to the Rat Race | Source

I remember a beautiful Sunday morning not too long ago when I settled down to read the papers. It was probably sometime in the early months of 2009, when we were in the midst of what is arguably the worst economic crisis the world has even seen. I had been without a proper job for a few years but have been somehow making ends meet doing whatever projects that come my way and fully intended to continue along the same path. Jobs, careers, employment and employers were words and concepts that were starting to grow alien to me while entrepreneurship, initiative and business were becoming my constant companions.

I flipped through the first few pages. There was the usual news about US government bailouts, and assurances that the bailouts will work given a little time. There were some rumors about a big bank in Europe being in trouble, and some minister was quoted as saying that inflation will start to be a concern in the coming months.

I turned to the local section. There were some investors asking a local bank to compensate them for losses sustained. A government minister was saying that we have enough in the kitty for any and all eventualities, should they arise. And then, a comment from a graduate of a local university regarding the financial situation caught my eye.

He said, "The government expects us to be self-reliant. But how can I be self-reliant if I can't get a job?"

That comment disturbed me.

He is a university graduate, probably reasonably intelligent and capable. As a graduate, he would have been taught to think for himself. He should have a wide perspective on things and be able to approach a problem or situation from different angles. He should be well-read and be familiar with world affairs.

In short, a graduate would have the best education that the country has to offer.

As a result of his education, I would expect a little more from him. It might be too much to expect him to want to be the CEO or founder of the next Fortune 500 company, or to invent the first human powered craft, or to eradicate poverty.

But still....I expected him to dream. Or, at the very least, to be proactive.

But when faced with a financial problem, his response was a plaintive cry that he needs a job. I had expected more from a graduate.

What do you think?

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Comments 6 comments

tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

Part of the current crisis for graduates is the assumption that a degree, any degree, will result in a good paying job. The masters' degree in a field without any value to employment is useless, but students still get to pay for it. The myth that getting a degree in what you love will result in a job you love, regardless of demand for those skills or even your own capabilities means wasting money and often human talent.

The second part has been the infusion of federal money that is then used to pump up tuition costs, burdening graduates with loans they cannot discharge. More government loans resulted in the colleges raising tuition. If health care costs were a disaster rising at twice the rate of inflation, then there should be a RICO Act investigation into why college costs rose at THREE times the rate of inflation.

The third part of this problem were the mandates to allow almost anyone to go to school coupled with an assumption that everyone HAD to go to college. Many people started college who did not have the mental capacity to do upper level academic work. Now they were saddled with college debt and no degree at all. Others slogged through an easy program only to find that their grades denied them employment in that area. Off to retail or manual labor, when going to trade school would have been easier for them AND paid better.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Since I'm not American, I'm not familiar with what you mentioned, but it really does not sound like people are getting the education they need to be a productive member of society...and that really does not bode well for the country.

In Singapore, while our students are good at excelling at their studies, they seem ignorant and uninterested in everything else. I remember a survey of local university graduates sometime back. It appeared that a few of them were unable to locate Singapore on a world map!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

We put too much emphasis on people getting jobs and going to college. Many people make money everyday from creating their own work. Not only that but we need entrepreneurs to create more jobs for more people.

Colleges are bad about encouraging kids to take classes to fill slots so their professors will have a full class and don't tell the truth about the job market. You can go to school to be a teacher but if they are closing campuses and there aren't enough jobs your degree with be worthless.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Maybe it all started from the Industrial Age, where instead of making their own things, people go to factories to help other people make things. Now the culture seems to be "who can I help to make their things" rather than "what do I want to make". Soon, with automation getting more sophisticated, the factories may no longer require any workers. I wonder what all the workers will do then?


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

In America - absolutely!


wandererh profile image

wandererh 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Sophia Angelique - I could understand it happening in Singapore, where the people expects the government to solve all their problems. But if that is also the case in America, I would think that the world is in trouble. :(

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