Thursday, October 27, 2011

The State of the Job Market

One thing they don't tell you when you're in college is how meaningless a college degree feels after not being able to find a job after over a year of searching. Not to say that there aren't jobs to be had, but finding a job that has the slightest relevance to the degree that was earned is about as hard to find as whatever analogy the needle in the haystack uses to tell someone how hard something is to find.

For example, I have a Bachelor's degree in journalism. And sure, I should've known that the job market was shrinking for print journalism when I was taking classes towards the degree. I did know that; still don't care. Freelancing is one thing, but it doesn't quite pay the bills as well as one would hope. I'm no dinosaur. I know how to use a computer and make things on it, so I'll be fine eventually.

A professor once told me that over 1 million students graduate with a degree in journalism every year. One million. So, I'm one in a million. Guess I should feel special, eh?

I'm considering grad school. What better way to stand out amongst the other 999,999 journalists entering the workforce than a master's degree, right?

According to an article in The Huffington Post, wrong. The article cites a staggering statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which states that the unemployment rate for 20-24-year-olds jumped from 7.1 to 12.1 percent in one month, between May and June of this year alone.

Is this what college grads have to look forward to in this economy? Working a shit job while checking job sites during breaks and lunch for something that might make them want to put a bullet in their brain a little less? Is it this bad for all degree areas? Or do all those business-major kids find work immediately?

Universities should offer a class that deals specifically with finding a job in your career area, nothing else. Homework should be sending out resumes and cover letters, preparing portfolios. If you don't at least find a non-paying internship by the end of the semester, well then you might just suck.

Where have all the real jobs gone? 

Besides freelancing, I had to find a 9 to 5 to make some money in the meantime. During one summer off from college, I worked a job as a screenprinter, so with that experience I found a job at a local screenprinting shop as an assistant screenprinter, off-loading t-shirts onto an industrial dryer for less than $10/hr. The job seemed pretty laid back at first. Cool people, easy work, a little heat (it's Florida in the summer inside a warehouse), no big deal, right?


My supervisor, or boss, as he likes to put it, is a an ex-con who collects twice as much per paycheck as the college graduate. Now, this wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't already feel extremely over-qualified for the work I do. But, the fact that I watch my supervisor do nothing but walk around, bark orders and smoke cigarettes is just fuel to the fire. Add to the fact that he collects that much more per pay check with no degree and a felony with time served under his belt and there's an inferno raging.

God, or somebody, help the job market for college grads.