generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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I don't really know where iatee is coming from, actually. What he's calling "what's going on in the world", as if it's an immutable fact, I think is wrong. If students are putting in minimal intellectual effort, then why should an employer want to hire them?

maybe you just had lousy professors or a silly major? I don't really get the resentment here.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:55 (seven years ago) link

his point is that students do sometimes put in a great deal of intellectual effort at their philosophy majors but graduate and face the same job prospects as someone who cased a 6 pack of schlitz while playing battlefield i.e. 0

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:57 (seven years ago) link

wait euler are you implying that unemployment is high because kids dont get good grades in college?

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:58 (seven years ago) link

I know you live somewhere where panera will pay somebody $20 to slice bread but there are many parts of the country, where fresh grads graduate and they can't get jobs that are commensurate with how hard they worked in college!

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:59 (seven years ago) link

it's not about grades, because of grade inflation. if we had realistic grading & mediocre students got Cs, then maybe grades would be enough. as it is, grade-hungry students without any appetite for knowledge or self-motivated drive end up striking out because what can they contribute to this economy? maybe in the 90s just showing up was enough. it's not now.

does that mean I'm wishing everyone were Steve Jobs? no, just come to class! do your homework! come to my office with questions! ask questions in class!

I'm probably just repeating now what DJP said yesterday concerning the infantilization of Western culture.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:06 (seven years ago) link

?? how does a philosophy major differentiate between grade-hungry students and those with an "appetite for knowledge" or who have "self-motivated drive"?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:08 (seven years ago) link

euler, in terms of employment prospects/"investment", how does a philosophy major justify itself?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:08 (seven years ago) link

as it is, grade-hungry students without any appetite for knowledge or self-motivated drive end up striking out because what can they contribute to this economy?

heh, this is a pretty.... unique explanation for unemployment

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:10 (seven years ago) link

again I loved going to college and I went basically for free, I'm not personally bitter about how things went, but you should check the 99% tumblr if you want evidence that there are about a million people who are very disillusioned. the most disillusioned are the ones who *did work hard and don't see the fruits of their labor*. maybe they worked hard ~the wrong way~ but if there's any evidence w/r/t what ~working hard the wrong way~ is, it'd point to working hard during your 'mostly a signal' BA.

the fact that people in your generation are so incapable of understanding how the general dynamic has shifted so violently is amazing! and sad!

I'm not sure how you miss this again and again: employers don't want to hire lazy people but at the same time don't judge work ethic based on how they did in your class. internships, jobs, outside of class stuff generally gets more attention. that is pretty good evidence that the market doesn't currently place much value in 'how hard you worked in class' and considers it mostly just a hurdle to jump over.

xp

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:11 (seven years ago) link

and again, a clear contrast is the law market. that's a market w/ a ridiculous dynamics for its own reasons (and again a place where this generations has things so, so, so much worse) but it's a job market that directly rewards working hard in class.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:14 (seven years ago) link

I don't think a philosophy degree is worthless btw I actually was accepted to college as one! didn't go w/ it tho.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:17 (seven years ago) link

good grief it's not "how hard you worked in class" that I'm talking about, but rather: did you make anything of that effort? do you see what you majored in as constructing some skill set that you can use to do work you value enough to warrant doing it, & that employers warrant? philo majors are doing fine enough (ours are, at least those who haven't sleepwalked through their degrees, & I'm not talking about service jobs).

keep in mind if it were up to me I'd eliminate all degrees except math, philosophy, & maybe physics and/or biology. I value skill-teaching over content-teaching, & think undergrads should have a pretty good idea after their first couple of years of what sort of work they envision. I think faculty & universities generally should help undergrads with this, but ultimately it's the student's responsibility to think through this for herself, & if she's too young to do so, that's not our problem.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:17 (seven years ago) link

you can use to do work you value enough to warrant doing it, & that employers warrant?

do you see that there can be a pretty big disconnect between the first half and the second half of this sentence?

and your viewpoint begs the question - the person who is self-aware enough to do that in college doesn't need college - she is steve jobs!

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:20 (seven years ago) link

there's a disconnect between the first & second half mainly because we teach people to ~follow their dreams~ when thinking about careers / majors. Which is a mistake. Follow the money.

my view doesn't beg that question: I take it that students have some feeling for what they value, & we can help them shape that into practical career choices. If we did our job right, of course.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:22 (seven years ago) link

so euler your big theory of the economy right now is "recent college grads are unemployed because they dont know what they value and havent developed skill sets because they were lazy in college"?

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:24 (seven years ago) link

okay, so what employers value the skill of talking intelligently about plato

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:24 (seven years ago) link

I mean, under your view the logical step would be for high school grads to jump directly into employment after graduation - what better way to learn the skills that employers value than actually going to work for that employer and being forcefed those skills directly?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:25 (seven years ago) link

nobody is doing 'fine enough', the fact that you can even think that is astounding. I don't know where exactly you live and maybe the white collar job market is (in the short-run btw) a little better there but I personally know 'hard working' philosophy majors from name schools who are struggling. (I also know some who are famous bloggers otoh.)

xp

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:27 (seven years ago) link

and how are employers to know which professors are evaluating their students using the right metrics? how can they differentiate an A in your class (given, presumably, because the student demonstrated "skills that employers would warrant") over another student who got an A from another philosophy prof (given idk for sucking the prof's dick after class)?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:28 (seven years ago) link

a few things

- its probably p hard to isolate the impact that 'getting good grades' has from all the other good things ppl who are going to work hard at college do but it seems p obv that the ppl who are working hard have a better chance at a getting a good job, being 'successful' &c

- there are direct benefits to good grades which iatee is kinda hand-waving at (and lots of big co.s ask for transcripts now even in stuff like advertising/pr) but there are clear indirect benefits (like impressing yr professors haha)

- it also seems probable (at least ime) that even the ppl working really hard are making efficiency decisions i.e. i am going to work exactly as hard as need to get a B+, keep an A average, impress this professor to get a good letter of rec

- but lots of students are bad at making efficiency decisions (haha thats why theyre there in the first place) and while there may be lots of things that are just as influential in finding a job postgrad (internships, creative extracurr, frat parties) its hard to say these are either strictly better or need to be independent of 'good grades'

- while macro factors are really whats going to fuck u, might as well control the micro factors amirite?

and a butt (Lamp), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:32 (seven years ago) link

because grades don't mean anything anymore? what matters are letters of recommendation that highlight specific skills & accomplishments of students: "this student can use statistical reasoning to shed light on current debates on public policy, and can write up her results clearly; see attached short writing sample for details of her work, which you can expect to be applicable to your company on day 1 for the following reasons". this takes faculty who have their heads out of their ivory tower asses & obv mine is partly there but I've worked enough in "the real world" & keep up with friends out there to have a pretty decent idea of what's needed, & what's not.

but I think there's a disconnect here & I'm gonna have to drop out---this lecture is coming along but I can't afford the distraction anymore. It's interesting!

actually it looks like I'm gonna come to NYC in Feb or March---could talk these things out then? not sure how long I'll be around & I'm there for work as usual but it could be fun to hang out.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:34 (seven years ago) link

heh letters of rec are written just as much for signaling purposes as they are written as substantive evaluations of a student

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:35 (seven years ago) link

- while macro factors are really whats going to fuck u, might as well control the micro factors amirite?

this is fair but its aggravating to have euler here on this thread blaming the shitty postgrad job market on the students for not working hard enough and not like i dont know..... low aggregate demand

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:36 (seven years ago) link

I mean, under your view the logical step would be for high school grads to jump directly into employment after graduation

they should!! the fact that we have a system that discourages it is terrible!

haha this thread is making late for a lab im running in 20 mins...

and a butt (Lamp), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:38 (seven years ago) link

last word: my gf has a friend who is philosophy phd from a relatively good school and is now in the shitty as fuck job market - is this somebody who didn't work hard enough at philosophy?

Euler NYC fap sounds good!

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:40 (seven years ago) link

I do think there's more disconnect than there should be between college and the "real world", but it's hard to think of ways to solve it. Should we stop teaching things like philosophy and teach only marketing and Powerpoint? I don't think so. Maybe there should be graduation requirements tied to "real world" experience, or maybe people from the realms of business/nonprofits/government should be invited to campus to talk with students about what skills they think are useful or to teach courses? I don't know what the best answer is.

o. nate, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:42 (seven years ago) link

ok cool I'm out on this now---my actually pretty good students await---but the academic job market is a totally different thing than what I'm talking about, batshit though I may be.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:42 (seven years ago) link

i know english is not the rigorous righteous discipline that philosophy is but i know about 10 english phds from an excellent school who are scraping by, jobless, some of them 3 years out from their ph.d. at this point. these people were crazy academic go-getters all their lives. i have to admit i always take arguments like Euler's really personally. i guess it's all their faults because lol English.

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:42 (seven years ago) link

they should!! the fact that we have a system that discourages it is terrible!

haha this thread is making late for a lab im running in 20 mins...

― and a butt (Lamp), Thursday, November 10, 2011 11:38 AM (3 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah, they should! unfortunately america's graduating way more high schoolers than it knows what to do with so they're tightening the sieves, degree creep &c.

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:42 (seven years ago) link

xp wait we were only talking about the academic job market all this time and not the job market in general? *facepalm*

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:43 (seven years ago) link

"this student can use statistical reasoning to shed light on current debates on public policy, and can write up her results clearly"

haha this is killing me. "this student can dress neatly and type 80wpm." "this student can discuss proust without making a jackass of themselves."

s.clover, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:43 (seven years ago) link

i know english is not the rigorous righteous discipline that philosophy is but i know about 10 english phds from an excellent school who are scraping by, jobless, some of them 3 years out from their ph.d. at this point. these people were crazy academic go-getters all their lives. i have to admit i always take arguments like Euler's really personally. i guess it's all their faults because lol English.

― horseshoe, Thursday, November 10, 2011 11:42 AM (30 seconds ago) Bookmark

heh I will remember always attending the english ph.d info session at my school and the first words out of the mouth of the prof running it was "only 50% of our grads actually get jobs"

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:44 (seven years ago) link

one of the best decision in my life so far was not going into grad school for english right after graduation

still i ryde english till i die

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:46 (seven years ago) link

i am so glad you didn't do that, max <3

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:46 (seven years ago) link

one of the best decision in my life so far was not going into grad school for english right after graduation

You were a wise person. (I might have done similar if I hadn't received the fellowship, which couldn't be deferred.)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:46 (seven years ago) link

worth keeping in mind that "business" is currently the #1 undergrad major (which if it's a choice between that and math/philosophy for undergrads then imo Euler Is Right And Don't Even Get Me Started), and those guys aren't getting jobs at a notably better rate than English grads so.

http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/NILF1111/#term=

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:47 (seven years ago) link

tbh i didnt really make that decision, i belly flopped on my thesis and the decision was made for me, so actually it was me being lazy/unmotivated that led me to have an irl job and not be staring down the academic market!

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:47 (seven years ago) link

looks like i just disproved euler

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:48 (seven years ago) link

shit all the triangles are gonna disintegrate

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:48 (seven years ago) link

and i'm talking about the academic job market because these english phds are older than the millenials but kind of in the same boat economically because they delayed their career arcs because of grad school and inherited this horrible economy

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:50 (seven years ago) link

- its probably p hard to isolate the impact that 'getting good grades' has from all the other good things ppl who are going to work hard at college do but it seems p obv that the ppl who are working hard have a better chance at a getting a good job, being 'successful' &c

correlation vs. causation q

- there are direct benefits to good grades which iatee is kinda hand-waving at (and lots of big co.s ask for transcripts now even in stuff like advertising/pr) but there are clear indirect benefits (like impressing yr professors haha)

in the not so distant future I think everything (grades, job history, everything) will have to be verified online via some linkedin type system, that is my prediction. maybe some peoples' 2.3 gpas will haunt them more in that future?

- while macro factors are really whats going to fuck u, might as well control the micro factors amirite?

this is otm but at the same time euler was making macro comments, ya know?

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:51 (seven years ago) link

oh the humanities job market

Mr. Que, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:51 (seven years ago) link

so it's about the humanities job market but it's also about the fact that it's hard to transition into another field because of the economy.

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:52 (seven years ago) link

ok cool I'm out on this now---my actually pretty good students await---but the academic job market is a totally different thing than what I'm talking about, batshit though I may be.

the academic job market is pretty similar to what's happening everywhere else, it's just ahead of the curve

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:52 (seven years ago) link

i was told by an adviser 3? years ago that i would have no trouble finding a great job, she was a big fan of me dropping out and it's really hard for me not to feel like it's my fault that hasn't happened. i guess that's why the Euler argument rankles.

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:53 (seven years ago) link

it might have been four years ago jesus christ

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:53 (seven years ago) link

not enough plato, i think

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:54 (seven years ago) link

haha i know, right? philosophy ph.d. students were always seriously telling me a version of that! english grad students lack reasoning ability, apparently

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:55 (seven years ago) link

skim phaedrus tonight and youll have an even better job the next morning

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:55 (seven years ago) link

also we can't write

horseshoe, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:55 (seven years ago) link


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