Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It’s May and hordes of new college graduates are flooding a country where there aren’t enough jobs to go around. But is this really a bad thing? In one sense our society is becoming overeducated and overqualified. Look at college towns, for example, where grocery baggers have BAs, waiters have MAs, or baristas are working on a PHD. Most of us recent graduates make some attempt at finding a career-like job, but those being scarce many of us give up the perpetual job hunt and take a less-beaten path. In a way, we have a guilt-free excuse to opt out of the mainstream path of graduating, establishing our profession, and then preparing for retirement. With this get-out-of-a-career-free card, graduates may go teach English in China, work on farms in Europe or Australia, volunteer in South America, or backpack through Southeast Asia. If grads can’t find work in their field they may still want to put their educations to good use, which explains why non-profits like Teach for America and The Peace Corps are getting more applicants than ever. Or some grads may just work menial jobs while they self-actualize in their free time with art, tutoring, freelancing or whatever. It's a time when we can do all the things that if we don't, then in the future we'll say we wish we had. Someday the job markets will get better, and someday we rovers and bohemians will need to find gainful employment, but these rough and wayward years will prove to be formative in ways we can’t predict.