‘Gifted,’ unemployed and living at home

A proud father responded to Matt Walsh’s radio show to tell him he’s  “the sort of person who never should have been a parent.” Unkindly, Walsh reprinted the email on his blog.

Nick starts by objecting to teaching children “how to think,” writing that imposing your views on a child is “tantamount to child abuse.” Instead, “let them think FREELY.”

Chores aren’t important, Nick writes.

Also, the idea that a kid should be forced to “get a job” is abhorrent. My son was very gifted so we gave him all the tools to succeed academically. This meant we didn’t turn him into slave labor and we certainly didn’t tell him he needed to go work behind a cash register. He concentrated on his school work, and we did our job as parents and financially supported him.

. . . My son is almost 29 and he’s been home with us since he graduated. Unfortunately the job market isn’t the greatest (maybe you hadn’t heard) and I’m not going to let him starve on the street. He has a college education, it’s pointless for him to be out working in a retail store or some other menial job. I will be here for him until he is able to get the job he deserves.

Nick advises Walsh to “grow up and get some life experiences.”

Children need guidance, Walsh responds.

 How ’bout I blindfold you, drive you out into the middle of the desert at night, and then leave you there without a map or a GPS? It’ll be great. You can just travel FREELY.

Walsh wonders how Nick knows his son is gifted if he he’s never accomplished anything and would “starve” if forced to take care of himself.

News flash, Nick: Junior ain’t special. He graduated school, good for him. Anyone can do that if they’ve got money, time and no pressures or responsibilities from the outside world. Your little pumpkin doesn’t “deserve” a job.

Walsh,  two years younger than Nick’s son, is married with two children.

No work experience, no respect for “menial” jobs, a sense of entitlement . . . I wonder why nobody wants to hire Not-so-Young Nick. After all, he’s a college graduate!

You’ve probably heard about the Philadelphia mother who advertised for a “sugar baby” to deflower her socially awkward 18-year-old son before he leaves for Harvard. I hope it’s a hoax.

Colleges teach workplace social skills

To help graduating seniors find jobs, colleges and universities are teaching the social skills of the workplace, reports the Hechinger Report.

After final exams are over, MIT students will return from their holiday break to experience something different from their usual studies—but almost as important.

It’s the university’s annual Charm School, offering instruction in everything from how to make a first impression to how to dress for work to which bread plate to use.

Other colleges have started teaching students how to make small talk, deal with conflict, show up on time, follow business etiquette, and communicate with co-workers.

Employers complain new hires don’t know how to act professionally. “This is a generation with an average of 241 social media ‘friends,’ but they have trouble communicating in person,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

“Students don’t really know what’s meant by professional dress,” says MIT’s Hamlett. “Most students just roll out of bed in whatever it is they want to wear. There’s this ‘come as you are’ about being a college student.”

At Wake Forest University’s business school, master’s candidates are required to wear business attire to class, and be in the building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

. . . MBA and law students at the University of Iowa learn table manners at an annual “etiquette dinner”—where to rest their silverware between courses and on which side of their settings to return their water glasses.

“Helicopter parents” haven’t taught their entitled children what the real world demands, says Aaron McDaniel, author of The Young Professional’s Guide to the Working World. He also blames universities for letting students slide by without working hard. In the workplace, McDaniel says, many graduates “expect that, just for showing up, they’ll get credit, just like they used to get at school.”

$100,000 in debt for a dream college?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, writes a graduating senior at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High. After earning top grades, test scores, etc., the well-rounded student got into three dream universities — but the financial-aid offers were meager. She’d have to borrow $100,000 over four years or ask her near-retirement-aged parents to drain their life savings.

. . .  I could either take on the debt for a brand-name school and pray to the deities of the job market that I’d get a job lucrative enough to pay it off (which is what many of my peers are doing, I learned), or I could graduate debt-free from a less prestigious school and hope that I’d get hired despite my not-nearly-as-impressive-but-decent undergraduate credentials.

She’s heading for a state university, where she plans to graduate at the top of her class with minimal debt, get a good job and start saving so her kids can go where ever they want.

She’s bitter about having to say no to her dream schools, but she’ll enjoy the freedom to do the work she wants. It’s no fun being a debt slave.

If your parents can’t afford private-college tuition, but are paying your state university bills, don’t whine about it, advises Ann Althouse. “The culture has truly tipped, with everyone feeling entitled to things they can’t pay for and assuming somebody else over there will pay somehow, some time.”

The entitled student

College professors may be enabling “academic entitlement” in their students, according to research by Tracey E. Zinn, a psychology associate professor at James Madison University. Entitled students learn less because they don’t think they need to do the work, notes Inside School Research.

Signs of entitlement include the beliefs that:

• Knowledge is a “right” that should be delivered with little effort or discomfort on the student’s part;

• A high grade should come, not from mastery of material, but in return for non-academic aspects of education, such as the student showing up to class, or the student or her family paying tuition or taxes which go to the teacher’s salary; and

• If a student didn’t perform well on a test, it is a sign that the test was too difficult, not that the student did not understand the material.

Entitled students want instructors to give them the right answer, while students who don’t feel entitled ask for help understanding concepts, Zinn and her colleagues found.

A lesson in respect

After the Gunderson High basketball coach suspended five starters for tardiness, back talking and disrespect in late December, the whole team walked out. The San Jose school’s coach, Mike Allen, called up freshmen and sophomores from the JV squad. The team is losing every game by large margins, reports the San Jose Mercury News. That’s not important, says the coach.

Allen said he had given his players “two, three, four chances” to turn around their attitudes and prove their commitment to the team before suspending the five for what was supposed to be the winter break.

Instead, he said, they continued to talk back, disregard his instruction and showboat on the court.

“These kids nowadays feel they are privileged and have a right,” Allen said. “But they fail to realize what being part of a team is about.”

The mutineers blame a “power-hungry” coach.

“We weren’t being that disrespectful,” said Eddie Perez, a senior who walked out with the suspended players. “He wants to run the team his way and doesn’t listen to our own opinions.”

Lesson not learned, apparently.  Good luck in your first job, Eddie. And your second job. And, if you continue to be a slow learner, your third job.

Why some college grads aren’t employable

Some college graduates aren’t prepared for work, recruiters tell Jeff Selingo. The top students at nearly any college and most students at top colleges are worth interviewing. But a surprising number of applicants “clearly were not ready to go to college in the first place, yet possess a degree.”

“The focus on access and completion has come at a real cost,” one recruiter told me (he didn’t want his company identified because he’s not allowed to speak on its behalf). “We’re encouraging students to go to college who should be considering other options, and then we’re pushing them through once there.”

In the past, college graduates have fared much better than less-educated workers. That may change for average graduates of average colleges with not-very-rigorous degrees. And that’s a large group.

Many graduates write poorly. “It’s clear they’re not learning basic grammar, usage, and style in K-12,” recruiters say.

While many graduates are hard workers, others skated by in college.

The recruiters complained about professors who clearly gave grades that were not deserved, allowed assignments to be skipped, and simply didn’t demand much from their students.

In addition, many young workers feel entitled to a job, recruiters say. They blame “parents obsessed with their kids’ happiness.”

Many employers have cut training and mentoring to save money, the recruiters admit. Employers want to hire well-educated people who are ready to work with minimal support.