Do these new college grads think they're in France?
ONLY about a week ago, Washington Square Park was littered with giddy NYU graduates giving each other high-fives, brandishing diplomas and jumping into the fountain.Do you hear it? Do you?
So what's become of this lot?
At this moment, an inordinate number of them can be found sitting on their parents' couches watching "Tyra," eating Cheetos - and drying their tears.
"I've been crying every day," says [name redacted at her request], a 22-year-old who just graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
"It's just been really intense, between graduating college and trying to find a job. I just want to be happy and find something I can enjoy doing!"
Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.
In the last month, Murphy has sent out 30 resumes. The only response she received was from "Cruella DeVil's mean sister" - a publicist who told her she needed to do more research about the field before deigning to apply for a p.r. job.
"When I hung up the phone, I looked down, and I'd broken out into hives."
Could anyone feel less for her than I do? By sending out a mere 30 resumes a month (one a day), she thinks she can find a job she'll enjoy doing, with the implicit requirement that it pay enough and be strictly 9 to 5. She's fortunate that someone replied, "Look, you don't know anything about the industry. Good grades and showing energy aren't enough. Do your homework if you expect to impress someone enough to land a job." That person did her a favor.
Note that the reporter used "deigning," which many people tend to misuse. The word involves condescension. However, if that's the attitude the recent grad shows, that she's "deigning" to apply for those jobs, then it's no wonder only one out of 30 bothered to reply.
Welcome to the real world, kids. This is the United States of America, not France. In this country, you're not just expected to work hard, but with smarts and resourcefulness. Above all, you will learn humility, especially when you realize you won't get paid what you think you're worth. It's called supply and demand: you're not as indispensable as you think you are, and even if you're really good, odds are that you are not the company's only option.
As part of this post, I wrote about Americans having very high opportunity costs, so high that they won't take any job they can. They don't need to. In one way that's very good, because it indicates our wealth (in this case, the wealth of the graduates' parents, and their willingness to let them continue living at home). In another way that's deplorable, because so many young Americans are spoiled. They graduate from good schools with lots of book smarts, but nobody ever told them how to get a job: how to apply for every possibility advertised in the newspapers, the usefulness of headhunter agencies, how to interview, even how to write a resume. Worse, recent grads think that they can land a good job right away.
When my father graduated from high school in 1936, he went to work. He was fortunate and found a job in a mailroom, which was cleaner and less physically demanding than alternatives. After serving five years in the Army during World War II, he went to Bentley for a couple of years, got a certificate, then returned to Schenectady and got a traveling auditor position with General Electric. But the important thing is that when he finished high school, he was willing to take any job he could. More than once in my life, I've been guilty of laziness, or as I justified it, "waiting for the right job so I don't waste time elsewhere."
I got bored and dropped out of college after a couple of years. After working for five years and gaining real world experience, I went back to finish my degree. Though I learned a lot of painful lessons, they still had less pain than had I graduated in four or five years with no idea what the real world is like. I've had good and bad jobs, and right now I consider myself really God-blessed to be in the best job I've ever had. Today was a little rough, since I had to work through lunch and then very late. A massive project came up this morning, and it had to be done by the time I left, so my regular 9 to 5 wasn't possible today. But hey, that goes with the territory.