Realistically, any full-time job in this economy would be a blessing for the millions of unemployed with a BA, JD, or PhD. Over the years, Angel and I have received emails and testimonials from law students eager to flush down the last remains of their dignity to clean toilets as long as it was a 9-5 job that gave them health benefits and allowed them to put food on the table. That is the tragic reality for the victims of this economic depression. Last week, The New York Time's Paul Krugman wrote briefly on the failure of many college graduates to find employment:
Of the 74 percent of graduates with jobs, plenty of them - and I know a few - are out there working as bartenders, fast food workers, or waiters. People with graduate school degrees who are unemployed are even worse off as we are older and have fewer years to get back on track before we're completely cast off as old and damaged goods.
Here’s the question: of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree who aren’t enrolled in further schooling, how many have full-time jobs?
In December 2007, on the eve of recession, the answer was
By December 2009, it was down to 72 percent.
As of December 2010, it had recovered only slightly, to 74 percent.
To me, that’s a tale of young lives blighted, not just in the short run but perhaps permanently: failing to get a job when you get out of school colors your whole career. And it’s still happening.
Yet unemployment has virtually dropped off the political agenda.
The irony of all this is that there are jobs out there, even under our noses at the same institutions we graduated from, only we are over-educated to even be considered. Take for instance these two job openings at T10 schools Columbia and NYU:
Columbia University Law SchoolThere are so many unemployed law grads out there that any job associated with the law now has to have a disclaimer warning unemployed JDs not to apply. But they will gladly consider your application if you have a GED with job experience. It is very likely your alma mater would rather employ a high school or community college graduate with work experience over you. Why? Because they know that work experience counts a hell of a lot more than someone who was duped into buying one of their worthless degrees but lacks any real world job skills.
Job Title: Development Assistant
Salary Range: $43,000-$48,000
Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma and/or its equivalent, plus three years of relevant work experience required, or the equivalent combination of education and experience. College degree strongly preferred. Strong interest in fund-raising and some fundraising experience preferred. Must have excellent verbal and written communications skills and ability to handle highly sensitive and confidential prospect information discreetly. Must be detail oriented, self-motivated, and able to work independently and manage multiple responsibilities simultaneously and meet deadlines in a high-volume environment. Must be able to work a flexible schedule including some evenings and weekends. Proficiency in, Microsoft Word/Excel required, Raiser's Edge preferred.
Quick Link: jobs.columbia.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=123270
New York University School of Law
Job Position: The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is seeking two full-time Research Associates for the Center’s Democracy Program. The Democracy Program seeks to change the ways in which citizens participate in their government by fixing the systems that discourage voting, hinder competition and promote the interests of the few over the rights of the many.
Salary Range: $35,000-40,000
Qualifications: Initiative, drive, and commitment; excellent research, analytic, and writing skills; computer skills; professionalism, reliability, flexibility, and attention to detail. Candidates must be willing to do administrative and clerical work. Experience with democracy issues a plus. Paralegal experience or experience in statistical analysis preferred, but not required.
This is an entry level position; lawyers and individuals with advanced degrees should not apply.
Go to Shit Law Jobs on any given day and you will find jobs like these:
Again, work experience will almost always trump a useless graduate degree unless you are one of the few lucky people to get a job in academia, biglaw, Wall Street, or consulting. The great majority of graduates will be left out in the cold, either unemployed, underemployed, or in entry-level jobs they could have gotten without the degree and a lot less debt.Thanks to the reader who submitted this:
We are currently seeking (2) additional recent college graduate or JD to work a contract assignment in a Legal Department in a Reston, VA organization through April. Will be reviewing/editing legal agreements. Must be proficient in Mircosoft Word. If interested and qualified please send a resume in a Word Document. Pay is 14/an hour. This is not negotiable.
Location: Reston, VA
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/lgl/2207544154.htmlWe are a new law firm in Downtown/ Financial District looking for an intern to assist in legal research, writing as well as administrative duties. This is an unpaid internship position that could lead to permanent position in the future open to law students and recent law graduates. Speaking Spanish and/or website construction knowledge is a plus.
Here is a personal example of how work experience trumps education. I am dating someone at the moment around 5 years older. He went to a non-elite university and graduated with less than $15k in student debt. He has no plans to ever attend graduate school. He became interested in computers during high school in the 90s when he began learning on his own about web application frameworks, design, and other computer science subjects which I know nothing about. He did freelance work while he was in school and built up connections, knowledge, and experience on his own. No help from alumni services, career services, or professors. The college degree is merely dressing on his resume as almost all of the skills he acquired outside of school would have been enough for him to do well as a web developer.
He now works in web development in a management role. He has no debt, owns a house, has health benefits, vacation time, and makes a very good salary. The irony is that if the average person met us on the street, I would be considered more accomplished because of a useless JD and the academic prestige of attending a top 14 school. Even my boyfriend believes I'm the smarter one for getting into a top university. If only they knew the real fool is me for believing the hype, taking out massive loans that will take me years to pay back, and probably spending the next decade trying to match what my bf makes today.
The higher education business has successfully brainwashed the public into believing that someone with an advanced degree deserves more respect, is smarter, and automatically more accomplished. With help from their friends in Washington, they have convinced millions of Americans that spending $100k or more for a degree with no guarantee of a good job is a good investment. That the best years of your life are better spent paying a fortune to attend their school than being out in the world making money or starting a family.
As Angel said so well last week, stop listening to politicians and crooks in bed with the student loan companies, banks, and higher education industry. They tell you that education is key to the success of our country then turn around and slash Pell Grants for needy students. Follow Angel's advice. Whether you decide to go to college or graduate school or go out into the work force straight out of high school, be entrepreneurial and learn skills on your own outside of your useless liberal arts major that will help you find a job - any job - if you happen to find yourself without a good job offer. One of my friends works as a bartender in New York and makes a decent living. She has a college degree and never knew that her part-time job at a bar in her college town would someday save her from being homeless or moving back in with her parents.
Lastly, don't spend 4-8 years in school without being in the driver's seat of your own life. Don't put your future in the hands of career services and depend on your adviser to help you find a job. View higher education as dressing. The essential ingredients to finding a job depends on you being equipped with real world skills and connections outside of school. The administration is only there to take care of daily operations and take your money. Once they hand you a degree and shove you out the door, you won't be hearing from anyone other than a lemming calling you for a donation.