Overheard on CNN.com: Will they ever get good jobs?
May 19th, 2011
06:11 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Will they ever get good jobs?

Comments of the Day:

"I'm a 2008 Economics graduate and I've had to change my career goals three times. Despite my bad luck, I've got my head up and am still charging hard. Bottom line is grit your teeth, eat lead, spit bullets, punch a grizzly, keep going through hell." - bravodelta

"We, the recent college graduates, are going to be the strongest, wisest and most determined generation this world has seen in a very long time." - HawaiianCane

Fresh out of college, slim hope for a job

This year's college graduates will be competing with millions of unemployed and under-employed graduates from earlier in the Great Recession, according to a new national research report out of Rutgers University. Some CNN.com readers said it could be easy, with the right major.

JMAA111807 said, "I just graduated May 2011, found my job in December 2010, starting salary of 65,000, and everyone told me I was crazy for doing engineering. All it takes is a little hard work in college and everything else will come easy." Chrisscott48 said, "You need to go where the job market is: that is IT, Finance, and Medical. I graduated a little over a year ago. Found a job in one month. Seven months later I took another job and increased my salary by 17K. I am in the IT field."

NocommentCNN said, "Woo Hoo, I graduated! They told me at my commencement that I am now better than everyone else. I have $80,000 of debt and no prospects of a job. This is the new slavery in America. The return on investment for a college degree is not there and has not been there in decades."

The Great Recession's lost generation

And how are some of those older grads doing? Hemuda01 said, "I graduated with my bachelor's degree in 2007 with double major in finance and economics. I could not find a job. Now I am going for a degree in IT." Lenoriarose replied, "Wish you luck but the IT field sucks too. My husband can't find work that isn't temporary contract; he has a masters in computer engineering and was in the field with IBM for 5 years. I started my own company since I can't find a job as a special education teacher since most districts are laying off."

monalicia said, "I graduated from a top university, and I now bartend at a strip club. This job pays more than an entry-level office job, which is the only other thing that I'm qualified for, according to the many job rejection letters I've received. It pays the bills, but with every year it gets harder to explain the growing gap in my resume." aaronby said, "Hardly ever do I meet a college graduate working in the field they studied. They aren't scientists, engineers or executives; they are shift managers at Wal-Mart or the Gap, and most of them very bitter about it."

Many said the problem was too many college grads and not enough students in the trade schools. diluded000 said, "We oversupplied the college system by eliminating trades and manual skills from high school. We made this mess ourselves." PandaWanda replied, "A college degree today is the high school diploma of 1950. And our young people pay through the nose for it." LeftWingL0se said, "Maybe education does not lead to success."

Sweetwalter said, "My neighbor's son went from high school into an apprentice job with an independent auto repair shop. He saved his money for five years and now owns his own shop with three employees. He has no student loans, a great credit score, and all the work he can handle."

Obama announces 'new chapter in American diplomacy'

How has U.S. policy changed in the advent of the Arab Spring? Speaking at the State Department, President Obama said, among other things, that while the United States can't intervene militarily everywhere, it had to act in Libya to prevent an imminent massacre. He also said: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

Guest said, "Obama is a much better speaker than Bush, but he has the same ideas, that we are going to change the world: Just shake, bake and instant democracy. Years are necessary for the democratic socialization process. Just get us out and let them resolve their issues, Mr President."

Jrod86 asked, "Why in the world is our president focusing on the Middle East and not his own nation? Explain!" fofotavour replied, "Because the world is connected and you cannot just isolate yourself from the world. Furthermore, there are opportunist countries such as China, who cannot wait to forge friendship with these people and will give them anything, including nuclear, for the right price."

BCJonah1111 said, "Your president and his policies are spot on, and since he has become president this side of the border stopped holding its breath."

What the Internet is hiding from you

When you search the Web, Google and other online hubs are tailoring the results to fit your profile, writes Eli Pariser, former director of MoveOn.org, in his new book. Results will differ from person to person, meaning that what appears to be an unbiased "world view" offered by the Internet is really one narrowed to fit each searcher.

jslam said, "Good article, something I never considered personally. It seems that in the age of information overload, the only thing that filters through confirms your preconceived notions." Guest said, "Big brother isn't the government, its Google/Facebook. You should be scared."

brayrobin said, "It's true. Now when you do a search, instead of the information you seek, you are getting page after page of ad listings. This will kill the web faster than anything else. Even the ads on web sites like CNN are out of control. I am more likely to ignore an ad the larger it is."

matreyia said, "We are at the mercy of Google's filters until some one creates a new engine which is unbiased. Currently, companies that pay to have their names artificially put up on the search results bar are the ones benefiting from Google. The rest of us are just captive audiences."

Genesis1267 said, "These companies are doing stuff that is really on a thin line. For example, after a week of using GMail, I noticed advertisements familiar to the text of my personal emails. The software was apparently reading my emails. I verified my conclusion with an associate who started using GMail at the same time. I don't like anyone reading my emails except the recipients!"

But other CNN.com readers thought it was a nonissue. PatHenry76 said, "It is naive to think that before the Internet people actually sought out views different from theirs. The Internet has only changed how FAST people can access information. People will naturally seek out what comforts them." jason22 said, "People have been buying newspapers aligned with their political views forever."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below, or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Just Being Honest

    Really I hate this planet and everyone on it, but since I'm here I'm going to do what I can to be successful. Im pursuing 2 degrees. One for Construction and the other for biochemistry. I will be willing to relocate anywhere in the world if I have to. Many students are flooding the market with the same skill set, instead of investigating where the demand is. Nothing is guaranteed even with a degree, but I feel the pain that many are going through.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Checkmate

    And everybody hates you. Just being honest.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • etamkcehC

      You do realize you're the only one playing right? I'm just trying to make my way through life the best I can. All your time and energy is spent on me for what? In the end we both know I win and you lose. Your little one trick pony show is nothing more than annoying. Sure you're irritating, but we both know there is no Queen to capture, because the queen is you dressed like a b-it-ch. You're a slave to me, not the other way around. Nobody hates me only you. If you can do anything more than buzz in my ear like an insect then do it, otherwise you just look like a cowardly little puppy barking at people walking by. Have a nice eternity. 🙂

      May 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt Caron

    From the other side of the fence – I work for a technology company, and we can't find qualified people. It's taking us 3+ months and dozens of interviews to fill open positions. We need folks that understand: Linux, programming (specifically C), networking, and industrial automation – and not all in the same job, either. Anything you don't know, you can learn on the job. Above all, however, you need to NOT BE DUMB, and that's where most folks seem to fail. It seems like there's tons of programmers and IT folks out of work, but that the industry used the economy as an excuse to shed dead weight – flooding the market with people who should have been fired long ago.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Couldn't agree more!! We are currently having the same trouble. We want to hire onshore but these days it is easier to hire offshore b/c they have the skills....and are good at it!!

      May 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      I'm working on a MS in computer science and I have the skills. Hire me!

      May 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tyler

    The generation that won't do better than their parents.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Thomas

    I graduated back in 1979 with a BS in Social Science from our states only four year school. Then came "Reaganomics"
    of the 1980's, and it was so bad in my state a lot of people left the state. I have done some subsitute teaching in
    the local school district. But I have found it hard to find "decent paying jobs" in my state. I have to give credit to the
    local paper and local community college doing Job Fairs in the town. The local community college runs a Career Fair
    for the Medical and Trades.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Seth

    I like how all the focus is on surviving the job market and there's no mention of all the crooks on Wall Street that caused this whole mess. Don't forget the lax regulators and corrupt politicians in Washington.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anon

    @ Lenoriarose
    I find it hard to believe that if you have that much expierence and education in the IT field you can't find a job. My boyfriend is a recruiter for IT people and there are a lot of jobs out there all over the country.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      I wouldn't be surprised if his skills are out of date.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ScientistsPerspective

    In response to aaronby's comment: I work in the science industry and am surrounded by people who use their biology degrees. We always have some sort of technician position open, as well as tons of administrative jobs that could use people with science backgrounds (i.e. grants, compliance, project management). Thees jobs do exist. Honestly, many of the graduates we see applying are either horrible at interviewing, expect the job just because they have a degree, or lack qualifications. The jobs are out there, maybe your friends just did not want to actually look for them.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cricket

    It has been my experience that people expect too much too soon when trying to get a job; I know a few people who say, "well, that job only pays ___, I want ___. So, in looking for a wage they cannot possibly get, they're bringing nothing in at all. That, to me, defies logic.

    Conversely, I know people who apply for jobs, only to be told, "You're over-qualified for this position." Really? I'm sure the applicants *know* this already! My sister is going through this; she'd be happy to take *any* position; it just seems like the employer would be happy to get an over-qualified person willing to work for less pay.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Checkmate

    Hahahahahahahaha! That's the best laugh I've had all day, you overbearing, arrogant, pompous ass! Slave to you? Oh, dear lord, that's the funniest thing I've read here all day!
    And you responded, didn't you? So obviously you're playing too. I win. Now buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz off!

    May 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Notice that the engineering student had job before even starting their last semester? ...interesting. Also, interesting some people said she was crazy. Crazy how? because she actually worked hard a got a degree that was worth a damn? Compared to most who party their way through college slipping by for some crappy dime a dozen degree? The real world knows who really got a good education. A college degree is not an instant job ticket. Like everything in life you get out of it what you put in.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • heymike...

      engineering is tough....so are other majors. i'm graduating from Hopkins (go jays LAX) w/ an honors degree in philosophy...most BME kids i meet are intelligent, no street smarts, no "real intelligence" by my gauge, anyway... my point is, graduating is tough, no matter what...

      May 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • nickfr21

      @ heymike
      philosophy? Give me a break. I graduated with an engineering degree and had job offers from 3 different places in weeks (in late 2008). If you want a job you should study something that actually has a demand. Also, most (notice I said most) engineers i met were well adjusted social human beings with "street smarts". Sounds to me like you're reaching.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      A liberal artsey trying to judtify his choice of a major.

      May 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enginerd

      Engineering is the place to be right now. I'm graduating from a 5 year bachelors/masters program, and found a well paying job in the exact field that I wanted to be in, well ahead of graduation. Was it hard work? Definitely. Was it worth it? Definitely. Is it for everyone? Definitely not.

      I got out with about $50,000 in debt, which isn't bad considering that I go to one of the most expensive schools in the country. My family isn't wealthy, and I have two siblings who are also in college now. To me, it was an easy choice to spend more to get a world class education, even though I had to take out loans to do so.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. h8evry1

    it will be the phd from outside the us, most likely india. foreign policy, thanks big government.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Overachiever

    I quit college 3 times and never finished. I'm not bragging and it's certainly not something I'm proud of. Yet I'm doing better than most college grads I know. I have a good job where I get to travel and make an above average salary. Why? I have the needed and desired experience. Because I lack a degree, I had to start at the very bottom. But I worked hard, learned as much as I could, stuck with it, slowly worked my way up, and now, 10 years later, I'm being rewarded. I am not at all downplaying a higher education. Please don't misunderstand me. But they can't teach experience in a classroom. And a lot of employers realize that. That's why a lot of job postings clearly state "bachelor's degree desired" OR "equivalent experience". I had an HR recruiter tell me one time that they will take experience over education 75% of the time. Now granted, not every field is like that, and I'm perfectly aware of that. But I thought that was a very telling statement. A degree is a good thing to have. But it's hard work and commitment that will get you places.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MK

      oh. and it's all who you know...hard work doesn't mean crap when you're being considered against a candidate with an inside referral...

      May 20, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. I know how it works

    The rich kids get it all handed to them. Nothing has changed...it's just worse right now. This IS The Great Depression. History books will have to rename what is currently known as The Great Depression. I wonder what it feels like to know that you don't know anything, that you just were handed everything in life. Oh, wait a minute - I forgot. They don't think. They expect it and their parents do everything for them. Spoiled brats who never know what a hardship is.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lana

      You are right about parents giving their kids everything for nothing. I don't think there will be a job shortage in the future because these kids won't make it in the real world. I have been a nanny, teacher's assistant, and I've worked in many daycares. Most kids I know are so spoiled and they rule their parents. They are rewarded for doing things that they should be doing anyway. When I was in school my parents never took my side over a teacher's side, now if you tell a parent about bad behavior they make an excuse or say that their child is being singled out. How are these kids going to function in the world? If you mess up at work, your boss won't baby you, and he or she won't give you a cookie and a trophy for doing some small task that's your job. If you don't respect authority, you won't be able to keep a job and these kids have no respect because they were never taught by their parents. The ones that have no choice but to work will need to be medicated so they can make it through the day. So I guess it would be smart to invest in pharmaceutical companies.

      May 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cricket

    @I know how it works:

    Although you do have valid points, what we are going through as a country is NOTHING like the Great Depression.

    Otherwise, your post is mostly spot-on.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
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