On 30 Jun 2007, at 7:21 PM, Skip King wrote:

> At 06:24 PM 6/30/2007, you wrote:
>> A good friend of mine use to spew the same argument as Skip.
>> Now he has a daughter is a unskilled young adult.   The realities his
>> daughter is experiencing trying to find work has changed his views  
>> on this.
> Sure.  And I scared the crap out of my parents, too.  Didn't you?
> That's why they call it "entry level".  You study accounting or an  
> in-demand engineering discipline, you'll get a decent job offer on  
> graduating with a B.A.
> Study Literature, Sociology, Psychology (like me) or anything that  
> doesn't attach hard skills to the training - you're gonna have a  
> tough time.
> It was like that thirty years ago.  Nothing has changed.

 From the perspective of a [relatively] recent college grad, I'd  
point out that at least one thing has changed dramatically in the  
past thirty years--the average debt load of a graduating student.   
Even aside from the recently-hit-the-news private loan scandal, many  
more students have significant debt loads; consider, for example the  
US News & World Report list of top 3 liberal arts schools for low  
debt at < 
college/rankings/brief/lst_libartco_brief.php>.   One of the three  
schools on that list, Lindsey Wilson College of Kentucky, leaves 99%  
of its students with an average debt of $9,389.   In <http://>, MSU  
found that 72% of its students expected to have a debt of at least  
$10k when they graduated and that 25% expected to be over $30k.  If  
those MSU students are anything like the folks I went to school with,  
those numbers are probably on the low side--a lot of students don't  
quite realize how much debt they're accruing until they get to the  
exit interviews and loan counseling.

And what's an "in-demand engineering discipline"?  Computer Science  
grads were commanding pretty darn good salaries when I started at  
college...and those average salary numbers, as well as the number of  
openings, dropped by the time I graduated.  Even with a good academic  
record, some relevant experience at a local software company, and a  
constant stream of outgoing resumes and cover letters, I think I had  
something like five interviews between April and September, one of  
which was for a temp job as a cashier at the college bookstore.   
Choosing a major based solely on expected demand is a potential  
crapshoot *and* substantially increases the odds of unhappiness down  
the line (or possibly sooner rather than later, as a number of the  
would-be comp sci students with whom I shared entry-level classes  
found out, before they switched majors to something they were  
relatively good at).

Heck, if you want economic security, become a car mechanic or a  
plumber.  Of course, that's only a good option if you're actually  
*good* at either of those things (and my limited attempts are  
somewhat tolerable at the former and left me dripping wet in the  
latter case).  Otherwise, you're facing economic realities that *are*  
different from 30 years ago, in many ways due to competition from  
workers who are not American citizens, whether they're here or  
abroad.  Our current policies--in some cases de jure and others just  
de facto--allow those foreign nationals to use lower costs (and  
standards, admittedly) of living as a competitive edge, thereby  
driving down American salaries and reducing American job  
opportunities.  Where that leads to Americans finding higher-skill,  
higher-wage opportunities, it's a good thing; however, not everyone  
who is affected comes out on that side of the equation.

Kevin T. Broderick
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