Monday, December 06, 2010

EDUCATION - No Reason to Go to College These Days

"Dog-Walkers to Dominatrices: Many College Grads Face 'Malemployment'" PBS Newshour Transcript 12/3/2010


PAUL SOLMAN (Newshour): David Cook got a B.A. in anthropology in 2008. Unable to find work in his native Atlanta, he moved his wife and young son to Fort Collins, Colorado, earlier this year for a government job which looked like a sure thing, but:

DAVID COOK, college graduate: They said that they were considering hiring college students, local college students, to fill the positions as interns for free. So...

PAUL SOLMAN: With a family to support, he set his sights downward, fast-food manager, car detailer. He finally found work washing trash cans at $9 an hour, part-time.

DAVID COOK: I don't want to seem ungrateful. I just feel like I devoted years of my life and thousands of dollars into developing specialized skills that I'm not using.

PAUL SOLMAN: We have done stories about unemployment, underemployment. This one's about malemployment, the mismatch between college skills and real-world work.

Andrew Sum studies the labor market.

ANDREW SUM, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University: Nearly half of all young college graduates -- I'm talking about B.A.-holders under -- 25 and under -- only half of them are working in a job that requires a college degree.

The rest of them are working in jobs that either don't -- do not require a degree or not working at all. On average, by the way, their salary is 40 percent less than a college graduate that is in a job that requires a college degree.

PAUL SOLMAN: After Abigail Lunetta got her B.A. in creative writing two years ago, she worked in New Orleans as a part-time copywriter, then moved to New York to find a real job.

ABIGAIL LUNETTA, college graduate: I just sort of assumed that I would become an assistant editor somewhere for some publication, and just work my way up. It's definitely no walk in the park.

PAUL SOLMAN: Though, actually, given the dog-eat-dog publishing world, walks in the park have become her job.

ABIGAIL LUNETTA: I am walking dogs right now to sort of help feed myself while I'm here.

PAUL SOLMAN: Through an agency, she gets 10 bucks an hour. She bunks for free with friends as the job search goes on.

The theme of one surprising interview: stocks and bondage.

ABIGAIL LUNETTA: I looked into the world of a dominatrix.


It was kind of like out of a movie, you know? The guy, he was a little rough around the edges. You know, he knew that I had absolutely no experience with this whatsoever, but he did say that, to a prostitute, this is pennies, but, to -- for a waitress, this is a fortune.

PAUL SOLMAN: We will spare you more graphic footage about this particular instance of malemployment, and go back to the dogs, to set up Lunetta's reaction when told the typical clients would come from Wall Street.

ABIGAIL LUNETTA: I think that would be some kind of karma. That would be like a stress release on my part. It's kind of their fault that I'm in this position, so slapping them around might feel pretty good.


PAUL SOLMAN: Lunetta was just the second in her family to get a college degree, still a plus for those over 25. Their jobless rate is half that of non-graduates.

But, last month, the jobless rate for older grads topped 5 percent for the first time in 40 years. And for grads under 25, it's 9.5 percent.

Rutgers professor Carl Van Horn says Abigail Lunetta is typical of her generation.

CARL VAN HORN, Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University: The advice that they have gotten since they were toddlers was, get a college degree, and you will have a successful economic future. And I want to emphasize that still is a better bet than not, but now it's more difficult to translate that in this particular economy.

And, of course, the cost of education has gone up so dramatically that many people are facing really significant debts when they are finished.

PAUL SOLMAN: In fact, the debts have been getting harder to pay. Between 2000 and 2009, inflation-adjusted earnings for grads with just a bachelor's degree fell by 15 percent, while public college tuitions rose 63 percent; private school 30 percent.

Small wonder most of last year's B.A.s were in debt, owing, on average, $24,000 upon graduation.

Some advice to those considering collage. Collage degrees are being oversold. They MAY get you better pay but ONLY if a job is there on graduation. Especially considering the cost of collage education.

Consider going to a city collage FIRST. Then get a job, any job, but try for an sector that you are interested in, to gain experience. Work and save some money for further collage education if you want that.

Continue to work, and advance, at the same time you go to collage part time. This puts you in front for job-offerings within the company you are working for. I have relatives who got job advancements BECAUSE they were working on collage degrees while on-the-job.

If you are lucky enough to get a job in the sector that matches your collage degree goals, you'll find your job experience will be a BIG advantage. This is a truism even if a collage degree is not your goal.

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