How we ruined the Occupy generation

Oldsters “ruined” the Occupy Wall Street Generation with very bad advice, writes John Cheese on It starts by telling everyone to go to college to get a good job, implying that the good job is guaranteed so there’s no need to worry about about paying off student loans.
“A master’s in psychology? Pretty impressive. How would you say that qualifies you to answer the phone?”

In 1950, less than 10 percent of adults had bachelor’s degrees and only half had completed high school, he writes. “College was something that smart kids and people with money did.”  (When I was graduated from high school in 1970, it was above-average students and people with some money.) Now a bachelor’s is seen as the bare minimum. College graduates do much better in the workforce than people with only a high school diploma, but there’s no guarantee.

So when you finally take those first steps out of university life and enter the work field, it’s an absolute system shock to find out your $30,000 to $100,000+ bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee you a position in your field of study … possibly ever. At least 40 percent of you who get degrees will wind up in jobs that don’t require a degree at all. And the rest will wind up in jobs outside the field they studied.

Cheese adds other steps on the road to ruin, such as: Telling young people they’re too good for manual labor and adding another seven years to adolescence by telling young men it’s OK to live with your parents into your mid-20s.

A UCLA graduate in her mid-20s, working at an entry-level marketing job, told me she’s the envy of her former classmates.  One is teaching English overseas; others are working at Starbucks or still seeking that poorly paid dead-end job. UCLA grads with three years at Starbucks believe they’re seen as losers when they apply for entry-level career jobs, she said. Employers prefer shiny new grads. And not working makes you an even bigger loser. These are not slackers with “me studies” degrees from Mediocre College. They are top students whose parents don’t have connections to get them started.

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