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Put the gun down, it's not that kinda huntin'

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, May 16, 2011.

  1. Frank

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    It's mid May and the academic life for many young people is now finished, the job hunt will no doubt prove to be a bitter cold whore for many in this economy, but I'm sure some of the more ambitious, amicable, well skilled and (most importantly) well connected grads will find a nice opportunity for themselves.

    Focus: What was the job market like for your career path when you graduated and how did you fit into it?

    I graduated with a math degree which doesn't exactly lend itself to specific careers (unless of course you have a masters or PHD) and through a happy combination of laziness and entitlement I figured I could just shoot an unpolished resume off and people would be banging on my door with job offers.

    As you can probably guess nothing happened and I was getting pretty nervous that January was looming and I'd be off my parents' insurance. The only job I was able to get was a job in a call center through a person I knew, that was not what I had in mind when my professors told me the possibilities were endless.

    Luckily I've since moved on and the skills I developed there are highly sought out in my current profession since most actuaries can't explain their work in English. And I was technically an analyst when I left... so if a future potential employer takes that to mean I was in the actuarial program as soon as I got there, well who am I to correct them?

    Alt-Focus: Give advice to those about to graduate. Or if you are about to graduate ask for advice.

    I think Frylock summed it up really well here, but one piece of advice I would give would be to seek out a recruiter in the field(s) you are looking to get a job in. They have the most up to date information on what people are looking for and have a financial stake in getting you a job, not only that but they'll have contacts with companies that you've probably never heard of. Not that you should stop looking on your own (a lot of companies don't want to pay recruiters these days) but a recruiter is an excellent tool for the job hunt, especially if they concentrate job hunting in only a couple fields.
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    Dear Graduates,

    Well, if you wasted your time in college, be ready to start paying for that. For years to come. No, really. If you didn't take that golden opportunity to distinguish yourself from your peers, you've fucked yourself right in the ass. You are now squarely in the middle of the biggest pack of humans ever: everybody. Your resume will go halfway down in a foot-high stack where only the top 10-20 have a shot. Your average GPA and your average set of extracurricular activities and your average retail job for your uncle's store for 6 weeks over the summer of your sophomore year aren't really going to help you much.

    You might consider nepotism or just using your connections to get a job you don't really deserve, taking advantage of a hiring person who's too lazy to do a better job at screening candidates. With luck, you can be that lazy person in a few years. God knows you have the practice. And just remember: just because a lot of people do it doesn't mean it's not deeply shameful.

    Another thing to look forward to: nothing. All your life you have had these milestones to guide you: graduating from elementary school, middle school, high school, college. You've made it through all of those. Congratulations! Your next milestone is death. Retirement if you're lucky, but let's be honest: death. You may thrash around trying to invent some extra milestones, like grad school, or getting married, or having kids, but those are perfunctory. You don't have to do any of those things. You don't get extra points later for them. Those are primarily just lifestyle choices.

    For lo the next many years, your life will exist on a continuum. Responsibility and security are at one end, freedom, enjoyment, and uncertainty are at the other. Every time you move toward one end, you move a little away from the other. Want to splurge on an expensive car? Fine, but you're just borrowing from your future self - enjoy that extra six months of work when you're 65. Want to get that great, steady job with awesome benefits and career advancement possibilities? Start counting your vacation hours up, you get exactly 80 of them per year. Not a minute more.

    Note also that most of the things you really enjoy now will rapidly become socially unacceptable for reasons beyond your control. Going to the dance club at 18? Awesome. Going to the dance club at 26? Creepy.

    You've moved out of the city on the hill, try to get used to life in the wasteland as soon as you can. It's not so bad out here, at least in some spots. Also, something about sunscreen.
     
  3. Rob4Broncos

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    Fry Man's optimism aside, I have a question about this part: how much do extracurricular activities actually matter? And which ones are worth investing time and energy into?

    When I think of EC activities, I think of band camp and chess club, things I've always considered to be largely irrelevant when put on a resume. I'd think something like being a tutor within your major or having an internship within that industry would speak much more towards how productive and worthwhile an applicant is.

    I'm asking this as someone who hasn't done dick outside of academia throughout undergrad (thus far), and if I'm going to change that, I want to make sure I do it in the right way, and for the right reasons. Honestly, I think of most EC activities as silly checks in the box that don't have much utility otherwise.
     
  4. vex

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    I am always baffled by students who "work hard" to "earn their degree" and then expect the world to welcome them with open arms. How does one fail to see that that process doesn't put you ahead? It puts you square at the beginning.

    In an ideal world, I would recommend that the student study what he is passionate (if he's figured that out). That natural interest will give him the motivation to truly learn about his subject matter instead of focusing on the next quiz. That extra learning is exactly what I would recommend to everyone else as well. If you're in computer science and studying network administration, then you should be getting some experience by building your own servers and making your own mini network. Are you in programming? Make scripts in your free time. Web design? Why aren't you already building your portfolio and looking for free lance work?

    I've got a couple friends who are aspiring to be movie directors. Throughout university, they didn't make the slightest effort to do anything to further their cause. After a few months trying to get a job, they realized that it just wasn't going to happen and they finally found the drive to travel and start making their own shit.

    If you can afford to do it, get a hands-on internship even if you aren't paid. You'll get experience AND you'll get a reference AND maybe even some contacts. While I wouldn't recommend doing bitch work for free, it's still better than nothing for the references if your alternative is clocking in a couple of hours at pizza hut.

    Get out there and DO something. Get certifications in various fields. Looking to become a nurse? Get CPR/FA certified and volunteer as an EMS. Just DO something.
     
  5. SMUGolfer

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    I graduated in '09...I was supposed to graduate in '06. There are multiple reasons for this, but one lesson: grind it out. Embrace the challenge because from here on out; it is going to be one challenge after another and in order to have the life you want you must overcome that which is put in front of you.

    It will not be easy to complete or understand, and that is what will separate the pepper from the chickenshit.

    It took me 14 months to get the job I currently have and 7 months of working a job where I was mocked as "college boy". Your situation will not be the same as mine, but you will have to put all the stress aside and push onwards towards your goals.

    Two of my proudest moments in life are graduating college and getting my current job. I am proud of them because I took all the crap, disregarded the naysayers, and most of all WORKED to earn those achievements. I don't know much, but to be able to go through all of that and achieve your goal...that makes a great hook to hang your hat on.


    Tim
     
  6. toddamus

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    From one sort of recent graduate to another, good fucking luck. If you don't have 2+ years of experience in the field you're planning on getting a job in, don't plan on getting that awesome 40K a year job you were expecting. Instead, plan on barely getting a job that pays $11/hr and working crappy internships to gain that 2 years experience. It will be a grind, and for most of you, there will be a pronounced period of unemployment. If however, you were smart and had internships in college, your odds are better. Or if you are lucky and know someone who can hook you up with a job, you may fare decently.

    Be prepared to work jobs you wouldn't have thought to consider. Why? Because those shit jobs are the only ones you may get a crack at. I had to work a job where I woke up at 3:00am, and then had to drive an hour just to get to the job site. My prestigious job was doing resets in Ralph's in Southern California.I have a freaking degree in Economics for Christ's sake. So be prepared to be humbled. Be prepared to accept your circumstances and be prepared to struggle.

    Also be wary of scams, because they will hire people who have zero experience. Once you get hired at one of these places you will be exploited, worked to the bone, and paid shit. This jobs will seem appealing because they can build experience. In the short run they are worth it, but be aware if being associated with one of these will negatively affect you in the future.

    If you don't know anyone who can hook you up, or aren't exceptionally gifted at what you want to do, good luck!
     
  7. JWags

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    Ahh, I could write novels on this. I graduated in '08, originally was class of '07. My classmates I came into college with as freshman graduated in '07 with multiple offers, played companies off each other, got signing bonuses. I came into the market a year later and there wasn't shit going on as the country was heading towards an, ahem, rough patch. I was a psych major with a finance minor, ready to go into behavior finance, or any investment realm really, preferably as a trader.

    Yeah, I couldn't even get an interview. I had struggled with a few things my freshman year, and gotten a terrible GPA, however, I busted my ass, made Deans List more than once, and ended up over a 3.0 safely (3.2 just for posterity). Couple that with 2.5 years in a business organization that I usually invested 10-20 hours a week in with officer positions and an active role in my college's portfolio management club. Despite all these, even with a professionally critiqued resume (from my friend's dad, a retired hedge funder; a newer grad I Banker, and a "professional resume coach") and honest cover letters, I couldn't get a sniff. I later found out people were seeing I wasn't a finance or econ major and trashing my resume right there, lazy elitist fucks.

    After that I took a job with a logistics firm, sucked ass, I hated it, was decent at it, but 75% of my class was laid off shortly before our 7 month anniversary. Most of the kids that survived, not that they necessarily sold well or suceeded, ended up basically falling into jobs at Groupon (same investment group) a year later, bastards. Then I finally got my trading position...at a crooked firm where payouts were witheld and shortly after I began, 2 multi-million dollar lawsuits from former traders sprung up and the firm closed 6 months after I got there. Then I spend 14 months at diamond wholesaler which unfortunately lived up to every horrible stereotype about that industry (at least I got Jewish holidays off!) However, I have been at a major ad agency for the last 6 months and I absolutely love it, and for the first time in my career I am professionally content and moderately compensated.

    So that was long winded, what advice do I have? Three big points

    1) Don't get discouraged. This job search is gonna take way longer than you want or hope. Its bullshit but its true. Don't judge yourself based on your peers and what they have locked up. People get lucky, have connections, etc... Its not apples to apples. Trust me, once you find a place that you are content with, it will all seem worth it. I hated a large portion of my path post college till now, profesionally that is, but I am grateful because it gave me perspective alot of my coworkers don't have when they act like spoiled brats and whiny bitches despite working at a company who gives us awesome perks, great benefits, and a jump on anywhere we want in the industry, mainly cause they've never been anywhere else and don't know what its like out there.

    2) Lose your fucking sense of entitlement. This is hard cause I had it myself. Some old fucks will say your degree doesn't make you any better and take any job cause you're not better than any one position. I don't agree with that. However, a college degree alone doesn't make you an unique and beautiful flower anymore. Don't turn your nose down at internships or temp gigs post graduation. Logistically it didn't work out, but I almost had a position with a top hedge fund in Chicago because I basically told my recruiter, "I don't make much as it is now, I don't care what I have to do or what I make, I just want to get in the door." They were gonna basically have me do whatever needed for 3 months and if I did well, I would have went right in to the same track as kids from the Ivys and Northwestern who worked there. Bottom line, when it comes to jobs, its the destination, stop worrying about the journey.

    3) Finally, this isn't black and white, but take advice from parents, relatives, and older peers with a grain of salt. This is a different era and a VERY different job market. Some of the things that worked 20 years ago just aren't feasible. For example, I was trying to get into finance and investments. You look at some of these famous hedge funders or banking heads and and their majors had nothing to do with their industry. They were History majors, English majors, fucking Philosophy majors, my friend's dad I mentioned was a British Lit major and got a job at a major fund out of college. Now, you would get shredded. Econ, Finance, Computer Science, or get bent... Some people suggested to me I should go door to door at firms I wanted, cold call, etc... Now I am not saying don't get creative or hustle, but this isn't Pursuit of Happiness where you just walk into an office anymore. Use your social networking tools, GET ON LINKEDIN, get yourself out there. Thats the new way of networking. Take the general advice, but you know the market and what you're up against as good as anyone, be smart about it.

    That last point may seem jaded, but I went through alot of rejection, and even worse, flat out ignoring, to listen to anymore fairytales of telling the firm you really want to work for "I will work for free, just give me a job", cause you're far from the only one that would say that.

    But stay confident, learn how to market yourself, and you'll be fine.
     
  8. toddamus

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    The last point mentioned above is key. The labor supply right now is huge. The supply of qualified applicants is enormous. If you can't differentiate yourself from your competitors, then you are a step behind. Also, like the cliche goes, its not what you know its who you know. Don't be afraid to get involved in trade organizations, in fact do that. Meet people who can help you out. Don't rely on craigslist or monster to find you a job, because odds are you won't find anything that great on those sites.
     
  9. Flagrant

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    I graduated with a degree in Secondary Education/ English this last December. For about 3-4 months I was substitute teaching and working at Walmart, all in all about 350-400 a week off of 50+ hours. I was frustrated to say the least. Things did look promising at that school district however, and a job was opening up that I most certainly had the inside track for.

    I texted my friend in frustration one day about how I was fed up with the bullshit of working at Walmart, and by the following week I had moved 3 hours away, and began on the job training with the company he was working for. He graduated with a Geology degree and was working for a company based in Michigan ( We work in PA though.) I'll make more this year than I ever would as a teacher, and if I worked as much as I could, I could probably pull around 70-90g this year. Not bad 1 year out of school for a job I was completely uneducated for.

    My best piece of advice? Keep your head up, your options open, and network the shit out of everything. Family friends? School friends? The lunch lady on campus? All of these people, just make sure they know you. You never know when one of these people are going to pull through and land you a job.
     
  10. Juice

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    Dear Graduates, take heed of the following:

    -Everything everyone else said about entitlement when you graduate is absolutely true. Youre not entitled to anything. I graduated with a 3.8 and two degrees and had to work at Staples when I first graduated because the job market sucked so bad in 2009. Theres no shame in a minimum wage job, and in fact it will make you appreciate the one you eventually get so much more.

    -After-college life doesnt suck. College is a great 4 years, but its not the end of the world when youre done. Yeah you wont be getting shitfaced or acting irresponsibly nearly as much, but you get to have money instead. This will allow you to do even more fun things especially when youre single. The biggest lie I was told was that the world is a cold, dark and dreary place when you graduate. This isnt true at all.

    -Someone else touched on this, but its worth repeating. Youre GPA and college resume dont mean shit when getting a job, and its not going to help you on its own. Theres still plently of people who were laid off looking for jobs, and guess what? Theyre your competition (along with the other graduates) and they have experience and possibly more education. If you can get a job through someone, then do it. People who claim theyd rather get a job on their own merits are idiots. No one gives a shit about that.

    -If you picked a career path, or are maybe in a temporary one (like me), then rise through the ranks as quickly as possible when youre in your 20s. If you dont have a family to support, then the skys the limit and you should be putting the majority of your focus on your job through age 30 or 35. This way you can bank a good chunk of change into your 401K early (which will pay off later) and save an shitload of money very quickly.

    -Take a good look at your college friends. In about a year youll keep in contact with most of them. In 2 years that number will drop to 50%, and less and less as time goes on. People move on and move away and start their own lives. It can be a struggle to keep in touch, but its the way it is. Your very core group will be solid, but the casual ones you wont see much.
     
  11. Disgustipated

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  12. lust4life

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    Finding a job is your job at this point. Use your time wisely and productively. Another round of COD on the XBox isn't doing much for your goals.

    This is entirely up to you. You get out of life what you put into it. Find your passion and you'll find your happiness.

    And I just wanted to add, "Good luck. We're all counting on you."
     
  13. Frank

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    Yes and no, but this really depends on expectation versus reality. If you already have it in your head that you are not going to be living large right out of the gates it won't be bad. If you think that post college is going to be just like college except with more money you are going to be sorely disappointed.

    It's also going to depend on how your college experience was, if you were the kid busting his tale working to get by while going to school full time, post graduation is going to be fucking awesome. If you were a spoiled shit that slept till noon every day and had no responsibility other than classes, the real world is going to be a wake up call.

    The other big thing you have to consider is that a 40k a year job sounds like a lot of fucking money when you're a broke college student. But a lot of people on here can tell you that after you factor in taxes, insurance, 401k, rent, vehicle expenses, utilities, food and money you fucking better be setting aside there's really not much left over to enjoy yourself with. That was one of the biggest wake up calls for me, shit even the money you spend on cleaning supplies, toothpaste and other crap adds up to more than you'd really think.

    A couple years later even your core group will start to deteriorate. I live down the street from one of my best friends from college and about an hour from the other, I'm lucky to see the one down the street once every month or two and the one an hour away twice a year. Don't get angry about this, life just happens.

    Now granted I still see a lot of my high school buddies quite frequently despite living in different states, but we are an anomaly that way.
     
  14. Nom Chompsky

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    Don't give up.

    Look, there will be plenty of time for you to settle into a life you hate, surrounded by people you can't stand, into a person you're not even sure if you recognize. But unless you have kids, that time hasn't come yet.

    Obviously, you have to pay rent. So by all means, go out and get the best job you can. If you really want to do something else, though, your only real enemy is complacency. Just fucking do it. Do it nights and weekends if you have to and worry about somebody paying you for it later. Add value to a field that you want to find you valuable. Want to be a marketer? Find a friend who wants to be a musician or something and help each other out however you can. Want to break into the crazy world of accounting? Make sure you're on top of the latest in the accounting field, and offer to help your family out with their books and such. Want to get a great job in IT? Try building your own site so when an opportunity comes along you can point to something that says, "fuck yes I can handle this."

    So be smart about it. Get a day job. But the time for surrender is not upon you.
     
  15. Now Slappy

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    Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 2011...

     
    #15 Now Slappy, May 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  16. Whothehell

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    I graduated in 2009, and for me the single greatest asset I had in finding employment were the internships I worked while in college. (I work in IT if that matters at all)

    About 2 months before I graduated, I sent out 17 resumes. I heard back from exactly 2 of the employers. The 2 I did working semesters with. The other 15 didn't even bother with rejections.

    Admittedly I did luck out and get 2 very good positions for my internships and would have gladly gone back to either position.

    Also, when intervieing for internships, having good grades can leverage you above the competetion a lot more then when getting a big boy job, where they become a lot more worthless.

    Did Frylock's post make anyone else want to kill themselves?
     
  17. rei

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    There is a ton of IT work out there.. if you have experience and know your shit.

    I graduated with an Ontario College Diploma, which is probably worth less than an Associates Degree, but had the practical offshoot of teaching me mostly job skills - I'm still working my degree part time, but this was still the second most valuable thing in getting me a job post graduation - the most valuable thing was having worked as an underpaid tech at a datacentre for three years. The company that hired me as part of their "Grad program" was looking for someone just above entry level with experience and competence as opposed to just knowing the theory and this benefited me greatly.
     
  18. MoreCowbell

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    I run a very high risk of sounding full of myself or out of touch here.

    It's not that I want to brag, but this all seems very foreign to me as a recent graduate. Basically the world that you are all describing is not the world in which I looked for jobs. So I think it's worthwhile for me to chip in.

    Now, there's a reason for this very different view: the pool of college graduates in very segmented. What things look like at the top is very, very different from what they look like near the bottom.

    For context: I graduated from a top-25 university near the top of my class, with a few internships (although not necessarily the best ones, given the jobs I was applying for and compared to some classmates) and a degree in two very marketable fields (economics and mathematics).

    The job market now is, from my perspective, quite different from two years ago. I had no trouble arranging interviews. In fact, I sometimes had more than one interview in one day, and once had seven in one week. My estimate is that I sent out 30 or so resumes and cover letters via my college's job board, and had at least one interview with 15 or so companies. I had final round interviews with four companies, and got offers from two. I ended up with two very good job offers (finance and consulting, I went with the latter) by mid November. If I had continued looking after October 31, I'm sure I could have gotten more interviews.

    What more...this isn't unusual for my peer group. Amongst my peers, at least half of them were employed by Christmas time prior to graduation.

    Now, why is this? One reason is that many of them were going into fields in which the recruitment schedule is very early. Finance and consulting, at least for the more desirable firms, tend to do most of their interviewing in September and October of your senior year. Which means that you need to be on the ball as far as having application materials ready.

    Another reason is what Frylock said: if you fuck around, it WILL bite you in the ass. In many ways, the job market is Revenge of the Nerds. Likewise, there is a reward for taking care of business in the preceding years.

    To echo what scootah said: it really helps to check boxes. I have a good GPA, a relevant degree, some reasonably respectable internships, my application materials are on time and error free...and this is often enough for an interview. And if you don't meet those criteria....it's an uphill battle. I've been on the other side of the desk at one of my old jobs, and it's impossible to sort through forty or fifty resumes for one position (sometimes 100) without some very simplistic decision criteria.

    Finally, many people are poorly prepared for successful interviews. And not just in a "I don't like to brag about myself" kind of way, which I commiserate with. I also mean that college does not train people to think well on their feet. Many of the postions that I was applying for used what are known as case interviews. These are instances where they present you with either a puzzle or a highly stylized/simplified situation in their field, and ask you to think it through. These are not difficult...if you know what you're in for. But many people are blind-sided, or just not very good at this sort of thing, and nothing in the average college class room prepares them for it.


    Now, here's a pet peeve of mine: internships matter. They really shouldn't and it's almost unfair. Most people can't afford to spend summers working in cities that they aren't from for little or no pay. But if you really want to compete for high level positions today....you kind of have to. This system is a scam that is severely biased against the middle and lower class, but it is what it is. The fact that working at an ice cream shop back home is looked down upon (even though it pays the bills) is unfortunate, but a fact.


    I'd also like to pretend that (at least in terms of the first job) that a great student from an average school should be able to compete with an average student at a great school...but I don't think that's the case. For the real big names, they have a list of schools that they want to recruit from, and if yours doesn't make the cut, you might be shit out of luck. People at "name schools" have the advantage that with companies posting to their job board, they can at least get their resume in the stack for on campus interviews. Sure, other schools will have lots of more local opportunities, but if you want to work at (for example) Goldman Sachs, it helps to be somewhere that they are going to be looking.




    Frylock and scootah's posts are very accurate based on my experience. Think long and hard about whether there is anything that differentiates you from the other applicants. I was somewhat lucky (although there was plenty of hard work involved) to have very good grades and two prestigious/recognizable university names (one here, one abroad), and got a foot in the door that way. For others, it's a rock star internship. If you're a writer, maybe you have some piece that is truly exception to send along. But if you haven't thought about why they should interview YOU, you're half assing the process.
     
  19. bewildered

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    As a soon-to-be grad, I guess I have some questions about my future job search. Specifically, how much does experience come into play? I have started a kind of informal search on some of the big name websites where employers can post jobs and about 99% of them want 3-5 or 5+ years experience. I know the job market is shitty and employers can afford to keep this requirement simply because of the sheer number of applicants floating around, but how important to those hiring is experience really important-- especially in jobs that are essentially entry level anyway? Do these people actually read your resume? I'm not sure what thread it was in, but Scootah posted a long description of his hiring process and my brain almost exploded. When your employer is simply punching in some seemingly random parameters to filter the applications, how the HELL am I supposed to show that I am the best person for the job, or get any notice at all?

    I guess a lot of this could be answered in a resume writing workshop, but I am curious to see if any of you have answers to this.
     
  20. Rob4Broncos

    Rob4Broncos
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    Emotionally Jaded

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    I can't help but feel that this has relevance:

    It seems pretty obvious to me that many job markets are tough because, as Frylock wrote, "There are N jobs available and M candidates, where M > N. [...] Greater education is worth less and less when finding a job not necessarily because of inherent flaws in education, but because everybody else has a Bachelor's degree and everybody else is getting a Masters."

    It's as though everyone forgot to question why going to college or law school was so valuable in the first place, and people just continued to go through with it, with some idle thought that it was their Golden Ticket to success. Now there's a flood of supply and a dearth of demand; of course it's fucking difficult to get an interview, let alone a position. Am I missing something here?

    Meanwhile, how many people do you know who actively seek out construction and plumbing work, as mentioned above? Exactly. Keep that in mind the next time you have to pay someone $100/hour to get your A/C fixed. I don't want to pretend like I know everything, but this much of it seems simple enough. Getting a B.S. in Underwater Blowjob Engineering doesn't mean much if every other bright, ambitious mind out there is doing the exact same thing.