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Job Supply and Demand

Updated on May 20, 2011

When we were growing up, we were told that we can become whatever we wanted to be and do anything we put our minds to. In reality, it doesn't always work out that way. Ideally it's how life should be, but the world isn't perfect. If you've looked at the "General Help Wanted" section of a newspaper or any online job listings, you can see that there are only a certain amount of jobs in a given area, and odds are none of them may be for you. Who is at fault here: the lousy job market or you for not meeting its needs?

Just as there is a system of supply and demand in the economy, the job market is no different. In the years it takes to get a degree, the needs of the market may change; by the time they change in your favor, you might need to go back and retrain. This is costly for you, but the market just turns a blind eye and cares not for your trials and tribulations. While it's true that everyone has to start somewhere, even entry level positions that require no experience are difficult to find even for high school students, who are more often than not shuffled off into unpaid internships, volunteer work, and odd jobs for their neighbors.

This is one of the worst ways that the education system dissociates itself from reality. Granted it may be difficult to get some students interested in any sort of career path specifically, and therefore students with any sort of plausible plan for the future are encouraged to follow it, but nothing ever goes according to plan. When one door closes, another may open for some, but others will be fated to have one door after another slam in there faces and eventually tire of looking. While we do not want to discourage today's youth from following their passions and their dreams, we also should not lie to them about what the job market is really like.

In the movie Accepted, starring Justin Long and featuring Lewis Black, too much emphasis is placed on going to college by the parents while the students who didn't make it (due to being too average, sustaining a sports injury, or being passed over in favor of the rich and well-connected) are swept under the rug or written off as disappointments. While the film has a rating of only one star, it does send a powerful message about the disconnect between what is possible, what is expected, and what is desired from a college education. Black's character mentions that college is supposed to be a service industry, which means that the students (or would-be students) should be learning what they want to learn rather than being dictated to from a list of required courses. He also says that the reason why students go to college is that they want to get a good job and base salary, while the system continues to churn out generations of buyers and sellers. Though this movie does not cover job searches directly, in one instance or another it does depict a mismatch of jobs and skills and the fallout from that.

In conclusion, not everyone can get the jobs that they want and will often have a difficult time finding one that matches their skill set. It's the worst now, when so many people are out of work that there is always going to be stiff competition and you may not be ultimately chosen for a job even if you make it into the top three for consideration. In many cases, the job may be cancelled without anybody being hired for it. However, you must not give up hope, even when your family members are angry at you for being out of work or your peers gloat over their success and your failures.


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