Phi Beta Cons

Unemployed College Grads: Are They Just Lazy?

If you are one of a growing number of recent college grads who can’t find a job, you might be blaming the sour U.S. economy, which features one of the highest national unemployment rates in recent history. But maybe, just maybe, there’s another reason why you can’t find a job. Maybe the problem is you.

Well, I’m not sure I buy the argument, but that’s the suggestion in a story over at the Daily Caller.

Young adults searching for their first job are becoming frustrated and blame the economy, but some high-powered search executives think the problem is young people.

John Dick, CEO of CivicScience, a digital polling and consumer research company said, “I think a lot of it is just a general aversion to competition… so when things look bleak, like they are now, there are more ways to prevent going into the job market.

“So you are seeing people looking for extended education opportunities instead of toughing it out, throwing out a thousand resumes and going into job interviews.”

It might be true that the current generation of grads is a bit spoiled and entitled. We didn’t pass through the Great Depression or World War II, for example. Maybe we don’t know how to fight and struggle with the same determination and tenacity that defined our elders. Considered alongside our grandparents’ generation, we’ve grown up comparatively wealthy and untried. We’ve had it good. We’ve had it easy.

Furthermore, when it comes to education, we’ve grown up with a cultural expectation that earning a bachelor’s degree provides a certain promise of greater wealth and opportunity. A BA equals a job — a good job — that’s what we grew up believing.

By way of contrast, far fewer of our grandparents’ generation went to college, and they certainly didn’t see a college degree as a prerequisite to a prosperous, middle-class life. So if graduates today are surprised by how much of a struggle it is to find a descent job, it probably has less to do with a lack of drive or motivation, and more to do with the overly earnest faith our society has come to place in the degree itself. So many employers now require college education, and this requirement somehow fed a false belief that a degree should amount to an automatic ticket to employment.

There is no doubt a degree opens up more job opportunities. But it never was, and never will be, a guarantee. Our grandparents, having grown up in a time of so much hardship and turmoil, understood that life is full of twists, turns, hard knocks, and few guarantees. My generation is just starting to figure that out for itself.

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