As I was driving home yesterday afternoon from the grocery store, I tuned in to CBC radio and the program they were hosting had to do with students who can’t find work in their fields, and the first person I heard them interview was some chick from BC who was living in her car because she was unemployed and had massive student debt.

The thing that got me was she was BLAMING the university she attended for having not had some kind of advisor who could tell the students if they’re going to be able to get a job with their degree or not. So why wasn’t she doing that on her own before she started school, or while she was in school? Oh no, she waits until it’s all over and she racked up the debt to lay the blame on someone else.

I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure that if advisors were in place to advise on employability (and there are – they go by the names ACADEMIC COUNSELLORS and INTERNET), students would revolt as soon as they got news that their prospects are pretty dim and those advisors would then become assholes who are trying to kill their dreams. You know that would happen, and I wouldn’t want that job.

But nevermind that. I was more focused on the fact that this girl was passing the blame on to someone else. Oh woe is me, because I’m on the radio with CBC I’ve got to make myself sound so helpless and desperate. It’s such bullshit.

Listen, it’s YOU who chose your program and degree. Why is someone else suddenly the problem? I have no idea what degree she took, but something tells me it probably was not very lucrative if she’s living in her car. Anyone who majors in social sciences and humanities can probably expect that job prospects are going to be dim. Not because they aren’t valuable degrees, but because you’re never going to find a job posting for philosopher, and teaching jobs are very high in demand and also scarce. As for things like the arts, you have to break in to the mainstream to make a living off it… and for most, that never happens. Len’s oldest son, for example, wants to go to school for music production. Personally, I don’t think he’ll find work, and if he does it won’t make him a decent living unless he knows the right people and has an in, much the same as the entertainment world and Hollywood. And this is another problem, is that he’s not paying for his education; his grandparents have set up a trust fund for him, so even if he ends up jobless, he doesn’t have the debt. But that’s a rant I’m saving for a rainy day.

So I have no idea what this girl took in university that would have made her homeless, but that likely wouldn’t have happened if she looked at the job market and actually saw where the opportunities were, and found something she would be willing to do that would also earn her a living. I took journalism, which I could have very easily had work in, but I didn’t end up having the passion for it. However, having the diploma doesn’t mean I’m strictly limited to the media. I could use journalism for a number of fields (ie: investigation). Another problem is maybe a lot of these graduates aren’t looking beyond the name of their degree when they’re looking for work. Just having a degree makes you employable. So what if you’re not working in your field right away? Take what you can and work towards it. Maybe you’ll have to bus tables for a while, or maybe you’ll have to do some volunteer work… or maybe the field you chose has gone through government or funding cutbacks, so jobs are fewer than they used to be. There are all kinds of factors, but there’s no reason for her to be living in her car and using that to put blame on anyone but herself.

There was one guy who called in after her (who was actually from Sarnia) who gave his story about having earned a college diploma and a university degree and still not able to find a job, so he’s going back to college to get a trade. Now at least he finally figured it out, despite now having $40,000 in debt to get there. It’s common knowledge that trades are where the money is right now. Everyone seems to be pussyfooting around these people who whine about how they want to do something they love, so nobody can advise them otherwise. Everyone wants a job they love going to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. There aren’t enough vacancies for everyone to be able to do what they love, so some of us do what we can.

Do you think I loved serving coffee to ignorant prick customers after I graduated? Do you think I liked scrubbing toilets and showers and bending over backwards to officers’ every need when I first got hired with the Coast Guard? Not particularly, but I did like the lifestyle and I did like the money. I never expected when I took the job that I’d move up into a clerical position eventually. From there, there are all sorts of other jobs to branch out into – even if it’s not in the federal government or the Coast Guard. So you have to be able to look at the bigger picture, because opportunities can come from the most unexpected places. Which is why considering a field that is screaming for people is worth looking at, even if it’s temporary. It might cost $10,000 to get the diploma, but what you’d make in five years of dedicating your time to it until something else crops off will likely pay that off threefold.

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