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Graduated a Year Ago and Still Unemployed

umdclassof80umdclassof80 331 replies41 threads Member
edited September 2012 in Parents Forum
Most of us on CC expect that our kids will graduate from college and go on to find a successful career. But what about the ones who don’t? I wanted to share the story of two young adults who graduated a year ago and are still unemployed. Both mothers are very frustrated because they had high expectations for their children. Yet, I feel that in some way, they may have contributed to this situation.

Grad A received a degree in biology from MIT. She is the daughter of a relative. She received a full need-based scholarship to MIT so does not have any student debt. When most of the students at MIT had summer internships, she chose to return home and do nothing each summer. On one occasion, I remember hearing her brag at a party that when she graduated she was going to make “big money” because she was an MIT graduate. Grad A has NEVER worked (not in high school nor in college). Since her graduation last May, she has not been able to find a job in her field that pays much more than minimum wage (even with a degree from MIT). She has refused to even consider working in retail or waiting tables. She does not want to go to grad school. So, according to her mother, she sits at home with no plans for the future.

Grad B received a degree in veterinary medicine a year ago. She is extremely bright. She is the daughter of a friend of mine. After 8 years in college, she has racked up over $150K in student debt. Her student loans are now in deferment. Like Grad A, she has NEVER worked with the exception of a high school job that only lasted 2 days. She walked off the job because she didn’t like the way a customer treated her. She graduated a year ago, but has not been able to find a vet job that pays a salary that she feels she deserves. So, like Grad A, she sits at home with no plans for the future.

The one thing that both of these unemployed graduates have in common is the fact that they have NEVER been employed. They didn’t work in high school or during the summers while they were in college. Neither one participated in a college internship. Both of these young adults were brought up in households where the parents did not expect them to work. They seem to have a sense of entitlement to a high-paying job right out of college with no work experience. So instead of starting out with an entry-level position, they choose to not work at all.

Any thoughts?
edited September 2012
291 replies
Post edited by umdclassof80 on
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Replies to: Graduated a Year Ago and Still Unemployed

  • PolarBearVsSharkPolarBearVsShark 588 replies11 threads Member
    I wouldn't worry too much about them. Finishing MIT is like getting blown out of a cannon. Takes a while to recoup. As for the vet, she's already degreed. Once either of these two get re-motivated, it'll be business as usual.
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22891 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Well, my S never worked in HS. We live in a small town with virtually no jobs, and no public transportation. He has, however, worked in college, since we give him no spending money at all. It has definitely been good for him, although he has never taken the typical retail or food service job. (He did temp one summer, and really did not like it, since he ended up working in a factory. At least he learned why one does not want to end up having to take that kind of job! :) ) He also did an internship in college. Now that he's graduating, he has actually been handed a summer TA job at a language program in France, for which he did not even apply. Life is tough. :rolleyes:

    He has certainly been a slow starter when it comes to employment, and would rather do without money than do drudge work. It did worry me, but he seems to be willing and/or able to find work that actually interests him, and seems to have finally gotten off the dime when it comes to being proactive about his future. At least he is better than the girls you describe...
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  • limabeanslimabeans 4649 replies105 threads Senior Member
    Colleges should require all students to work with their Career Services as part of their graduation requirements. It certainly is harder to find a job after graduation without an internship or any sort of employment record. At the same time, I know it IS hard to find a job. My 2010 graduate is still home and working only P/T.

    I also think many jobs listed on these job sites are bogus, but that's just me feeling cynical. It used to be the norm that when I graduated in the 1970s, I started working at some retail store until something "real" came along. I think now, with so many job sites, kids get to thinking they should stay busy just filling job applications. But that's a time sponge and zaps the energy required to find something in-between.
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  • sunmachinesunmachine 725 replies99 threads Member
    As Colbert once said, nothing looks worse on a resume than nothing.
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12487 replies541 threads Senior Member
    ""Neither one participated in a college internship. "
    that was their BIG mistake, imho.
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  • collegealum314collegealum314 6683 replies85 threads Senior Member
    ""Neither one participated in a college internship. "
    that was their BIG mistake, imho.
    I agree with Menloparkmom here.

    As for not "working" and being entitled in high school, well that time was probably spent working for free (research, community service), taking classes, and/or doing non-academic ECs which are needed to get into college. I would hardly call not working in high school a "sign of entitlement."
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  • calmomcalmom 20704 replies168 threads Senior Member
    Sounds to me like an attitude problem. Both grads are willfully unemployed.

    My d. worked so many jobs in college that I lost count. It was something like 19 at the beginning of senior year, but then I think she worked about 6 different part time jobs during the course of the year.

    With computers and the internet, kids these days can and do tailor their resumes to the jobs they apply for.

    But there's more to being employed than just getting hired -- it's also a matter of hanging on to the job.

    One more note: at age 20, my son announced that he was going to "take time off" from college & arranged a leave of absence from school. In June of that year, I sat him down and told him that college started in September. I told him he was welcome to live at home all summer, but come September, he could no longer live at home unless he was employed or in school. If he opted to attend school locally (such as via a university extension program), I would pay. He slept on the couch for the rest of the month and halfway into July ... then he went out and got a job. Four months later he had moved out of my house, into his own apartment.

    A big part of the problem of adult college graduates who are living at home without jobs is parents who allow them to make that choice. I'm not talking about the many who choose to live at home while working, in order to save on the cost of housing. My kids would certainly be welcome to live with me, any time, if they are employed. But sitting at home doing nothing is not an option.
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  • umdclassof80umdclassof80 331 replies41 threads Member
    menloparkmom --

    The MIT Grad said that MIT expected him to participate in summer internships, but he always seemed to come up with some excuse why he couldn't. "I don't have a car." "I couldn't find anything that I liked."
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  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 22635 replies127 threads Senior Member
    Son had three internships and great stats but it still took a while to get a job. He just kept trying. I know other kids from good schools and bad that took a while to find work - but the main thing is that they didn't give up. They had internships or previous work experience too.

    An undergrad bio degree is a tough one, even from MIT. A friend's wife has an Ivy Phd and it took her a year to get a part-time contract job that paid about $17/hour with no benefits.
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  • calmomcalmom 20704 replies168 threads Senior Member
    At the same time, I know it IS hard to find a job. My 2010 graduate is still home and working only P/T.
    Yes, it is, but those individuals need to be working on finding a job.

    The OP didn't report on the far more common situation of being under employed. If, for example, the veterinary grad was unable to find paying work but had found an internship or a volunteer position at the local animal shelter -- you could chalk it up to the bad economy. Your kid is working, albeit part-time -- presumably continuing to look for full time employment.

    It takes work to find work. It's possible that the OP isn't aware of the full story with the individuals she describes, but at least by her account it doesn't sound like either of the young women has ever really tried to find a job.
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  • Walker1194Walker1194 988 replies17 threads Senior Member
    You take whatever job you can. That's always been true. I took a job as a govt purchasing agent when I graduated from college with my BFA. Why? Because it was a full time job and my husband was in med school. It wasn't a dream job but I learned things. I moved on within the year.

    My point is many kids today have expectations that are unrealistic to say the least. They also have hovering parents that cater to them. Stop holding your kids hands. Cut the umbilical cord and do it before college!!
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  • calmomcalmom 20704 replies168 threads Senior Member
    Post #1:
    Grad A received a degree in biology from MIT. She is the daughter of a relative. She received a full need-based scholarship to MIT so does not have any student debt. When most of the students at MIT had summer internships, she chose to return home and do nothing each summer

    Post #9:
    The MIT Grad said that MIT expected him to participate in summer internships, but he always seemed to come up with some excuse why he couldn't. "I don't have a car." "I couldn't find anything that I liked."

    Ah, a clue to the problem! It is probably hard to find a job while in the process of sex reassignment surgery.
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  • gouf78gouf78 7795 replies23 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like an attitude problem more than a lack of work experience. Attitude counts for more than experience with most employers. An employer can teach the job to a talented graduate but probably wouldn't bother with someone who feels entitled to a job.
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  • PolarBearVsSharkPolarBearVsShark 588 replies11 threads Member
    I might as well share this story: I had a college frat brother who was in an MIT branch. After graduation, he essentially called his parents to say he was he was going to take a break. He bought a $300 one way plane ticket to England and once he got there he wandered Europe on foot with a backpack, for a year. He tried to enter the Soviet Union, was arrested for a week or so, and got dumped back out in Poland. He circumvented the USSR going south through Turkey and eventually made it to Goa which I think is in India or Sri Lanka. To get "college out of his system" because he felt so burned out, and probably to check out the babes. During his great expedition, he would call me every two or three months at strange hours of the night to say "Hi".

    Sometimes people need time to reorganize their brain because there is so much stuff, and it has been put off for years. So -- it's not so much an unemployment as it is a restaging for the next strategic assault.
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  • parentOfJuniorparentOfJunior 67 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Just curious... Grad B "graduated a year ago, but has not been able to find a vet job that pays a salary that she feels she deserves." Do you know if she was able to find vet jobs, but the salary was not up to her expectations, or she was unable to find any vet job at all (as a veterinarian, not as a technician)?
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  • jym626jym626 56334 replies2941 threads Senior Member
    UMDclassof80-
    The MIT grad started out as a "she" (post#1) but is now referred to as a "he" (post #9)?? Are these real examples?
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  • umdclassof80umdclassof80 331 replies41 threads Member
    "Do you know if she was able to find vet jobs, but the salary was not up to her expectations, or she was unable to find any vet job at all (as a veterinarian, not as a technician)?"

    According to her mother, she was able to find a couple of vet jobs but the salary was not as high as she desired. She is also very particular as to what kind of job she wants.
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  • WhatdidyouWhatdidyou 535 replies4 threads Member
    "The one thing that both of these unemployed graduates have in common is the fact that they have NEVER been employed. They didn’t work in high school or during the summers while they were in college."

    Not a suprise that they don't have jobs.

    If I was a professoinal employer, I would never ever hire someone, regardless of their degree/grades, if they never ever worked before. You learn so many critical soft skills while working these jobs.

    Both these students sound spoiled, arrogant, and ignorant. And the funny thing is that as long as they sit around and do nothing, the harder it will be for them to convince employers to hire them. Although if they are good liars as well, they may be able to effectively misrepresent themeselves in future interviews.

    Im sure you're right that their parents attitudes may have contributed but I'd put most of the blame on them, as I'm sure there are many other students with parents like that who are actually greatful and hardworking.
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  • foreveroptimistforeveroptimist 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Just my suggestions for these grads:

    1) If you can't find your full-time "IDEAL" job, get part-time work in your related fields or if that is not possible, volunteer in a biology lab or vet office to build skills, network, and show your "future" employer that you are committed, hard-working, and add value to the organization. PS. If you are not already, BECOME committed and hard-working...you have been under/unemployed long enough. I know MIT must have been challenging, but you have had enough time to rest.

    2) These part-time or unpaid positions could lead to a more permanent/paid position, but you have to change your attitude that "you'll quit if you don't like how a customer treats you" or "hey, I have a degree from MIT so I deserve a better job!"

    3) You earn your position, it does not get handed to you and definitely not on a silver platter!

    4) Try to get anything in a related or similar area. Biology major: teaching, setting up labs, etc. or if that doesn't work, just try to get ANY job just to start making money and paying for some of your own expenses. Working in a restaurant or in sales can help you build necessary people skills and build your self-esteem. Self-esteem is not given to you, you develop it by overcoming challenges and providing for yourself.

    5) My family's motto "is it is always easier to GET a job when you Have a job." Don't be "unemployed" for so long, it is undesireable and makes employers wonder if you are fussy, difficult to work with, or pampered. If necessary, volunteer, do community service stay active and stay out there.

    6) You may need to consider extending your job search to a different part of the US where you can stay with a relative and keep expenses low. Eventually you could share an apartment with roommates. Some areas of the country have more job demand.

    For the grad's parents: Stop enabling the grads. You can be supportive and encouraging, but you should expect them to start contributing to their expenses gas, food, clothes now that they are adults. Maybe they will realize the NEED to work and can't be choosy. How many grown children would work if their parents provided everything for them--they had their comfy room with cable tv, meals, car, utilities paid etc.-even after they were adults?The grad with debt does not have the luxury to be unemployed. The debt will just become exponential if the grad doesn't start chipping away at the payments. Both grads have marketable degrees and good educations. What they need is to develop their own motivation, desire to be employed, and get hungry for work!

    Good luck, I know the job market is difficult, but they have skills. They just can't be picky or complacent. One job, even if it is not their IDEAL job can be a stepping stone or at least, the first stepping stone to a better job match.

    Again, these are just my opinions...now, get out there and start using your skills!
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  • umdclassof80umdclassof80 331 replies41 threads Member
    I do hope that both of these young women will eventually figure out what they want to do and get on with their lives. They are both very bright. They just seem to have unrealistic job expectations and parents who allow them to continue to live at home without working.

    I worked part-time when I was in high school and college. When I graduated from college, I announced to my parents that I wanted to take the summer off before I began to look for a full-time job. They said "no way" so I got a job. End of story.
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