Where have the jobs gone?
For awhile I looked around and thought the legal field was singular in its fall from grace as a worthwhile career aspiration. It does not seem to be so. It seems instead a great many higher education degrees are becoming more and more worthless. And the debt incurred in no way compensates you later in life for wasting your time earning a degree which can’t earn you any money. Sometimes you look at someone and ask “how could you not see that what you were doing was worthless?” I wish I could find a clip to link here… There was a comedian who was talking about the unemployment problem. Specifically he referenced a reporter who was going around a university campus talking with various people about how they couldn’t find jobs. One person they interviewed gave the moving story that his friend who had recently graduated with a PhD couldn’t find a job. When asked what his friend had gotten his PhD in, he said English – with a concentration in ghost stories.
I’m beginning to feel that I got a PhD in ghost stories. But, as it turns out… I’m not the only one. And neither is it limited to the questionable value of a JD. There are a growing number of degrees which at one point offered the promise of real employment after graduation, yet now offer only huge student debt and no ability to repay it. A close relative of the JD has fallen as far and as fast it seems; the MBA is now a nearly worthless endeavor. Hell, with that type of worthlessness why not double-down in law school and get a JD/MBA. I recently talked to someone who made that calculated mistake and now works as an E-Dat attorney. That’s right… his dual degree got him all the way into document review.
What about other high student debt value positions? Well it turns out that very selective admission only goes so far as a DVM won’t let you make enough money to eat either. The oft maligned degree in any one of the humanities is now a short ticket to living in your aged parents basement and attempting to figure out how you can get into the military past the enlistment age.
So you don’t feel so sorry for the people who spent 10 years getting a degree in Classical dead languages? What about some of the more practical degrees. You know, the ones you always heard were a sure fire way to get a job without incurring a ridiculous debt load. How about pharmacy… nope. Oh wait.. what about that huge nursing shortage I heard about ad-nauseam. Yeah… turns out there’s nothing left there either. Education has become big business claiming to set up graduates for success in a competitive job environment while merely siphoning money to themselves. It has become a booming business to the point that there is more money to be made in education, that there is in actually being educated. Oh, but I forget… the invaluable and incalculable benefit of actually being intelligent and educated more than makes up for earthly pleasures like… food.
The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma. Even with this new baseline, most graduates can’t find substantive work. Of those who are working, half of them aren’t making enough money to live comfortably. This sounds eerily familiar. The only difference is that in the US, it seems to be happening to everyone even those with advanced degrees. If we are to believe NPR’s report, everyone without a decent degree is being shuffled off onto disability.
Are we becoming the United State’s Lost Generation?
I’m getting off my soapbox now. And taking it with me. Soapboxes are expensive. And at the minimum I can recycle it for some change… Dollar menu here I come.