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. Cesar

    Come on fake Cesar, what's wrong with you? Honestly. Use your own name.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TonyP

    Jobs that are "hobbies" are useless if you want to find a job like graphic design, art, fashion design, literature, etc. Leave those degrees to the rich kids with an inheritance.

    May 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      The English majors all go to law school -notice the glut of lawyers.

      May 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • gb333

      I agree. If you are in those "hobby" fields, you better be damn good because there are just too many just like you .

      May 20, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Pip

      TonyP:L only a bottom feeder would think such things im guessing your a failure

      May 20, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. PANGEA47

    Remember due to President Obama's immigration Dream Act, an employer can now save money by hiring foreign student recent graduates.
    Why pay Social Security and Medicare for an Amercican, when the government will excuse the payment of these taxes by employer (and the student) when a foreigner is hired

    May 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Im not sure where you get your news but dream act required parents of the kids pay taxes and the student would do the same. Also dream act did not pass congress. so in short "YOU ARE WRONG"

      May 20, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Petra

    It took me a while to get the joke.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike Brown

    Little Timmy walks into a bank and asks for a loan to go to college, goes to college 4 years (every year taking out a loan to pay tuition), gets out and pays back his loans to the bank. That's how it works end of story right? Wong, big time.

    After Timmy walks out of the bank with his loan, the bank packages his debt with a whole bunch of other student loans into what are known as student loan asset backed securities (SLABS). SLABS are then sold to investors on Wall Street who make money off of principal payments and payments on interest. SLABS are also guaranteed by the government, so even if tons of students go into default, these investment instruments will still payout courtesy of Uncle Sam. The capital that is created after the lending banks package and sell slabs then allows them to go out and issue more loans and repeat the whole process over again. It's a GIANT PONZI SCHEME. The never ending flow of credit and loans then allows colleges to raise their tuitions almost every single year at hyperinflationary rates.

    The only ones screwed in the whole process are students. They are the ones loaded up with all the debt so that everyone else can make a HUGE profit off them. No wonder the banking industry spent huge sums of money to lobby politicians to make student debt impossible to get rid of–by not allowing students to get rid of debt, it cuts down on the risk of SLABS and guarantees that investors get paid. Open your eyes, you are just a pawn to the system built to make the rich more wealthy while they offer you the American "dream", which in reality, is nothing more than a nightmare. A huge portion of people that invest in SLABS aren't even American, they're European. In other words, people who are far, far away have vested interest in trying to drive up tuition costs as much as possible here and want to see our kids loaded up with as much non-dischargeable student loan debt as possible! Outrageous. Infuriating. True. Just like the article below says, I guess this wouldn't be America though if you couldn't monetize and gamble on your children's debt and futures on Wall Street.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug Stephens

      hey man you got a email you should be my financial advisor lol.
      from a student!!!

      May 20, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Brown

      Well Doug, I haven't received an email, so just try again.

      Look, the government already guarantees student loans and SLABS. Even if the student defaults, the SLABS and loans will be paid. When this student loan bubble pops, Uncle Sam will be liable for it ALL. It's already written into law on the books. In other words we already have a highly socialized system of higher education like they do in Europe. The government practically IS paying for it all. The only difference is that here, our system is set up in a ludicrously stupid way. If the government is going to guarantee student loans and SLABS, why not just get rid of the unnecessary debt in the first place for students and pay for college directly? It makes no sense.

      May 20, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike Brown

    Little Timmy walks into a bank and asks for a loan to go to college, goes to college 4 years (every year taking out a loan to pay tuition), gets out and pays back his loans to the bank. That's how it works end of story right? Wong, big time.

    After Timmy walks out of the bank with his loan, the bank packages his debt with a whole bunch of other student loans into what are known as student loan asset backed securities (SLABS). SLABS are then sold to investors on Wall Street who make money off of principal payments and payments on interest. SLABS are also guaranteed by the government, so even if tons of students go into default, these investment instruments will still payout courtesy of Uncle Sam. The capital that is created after the lending banks package and sell slabs then allows them to go out and issue more loans and repeat the whole process over again. It's a GIANT PONZI SCHEME. The never ending flow of credit and loans then allows colleges to raise their tuitions almost every single year at hyperinflationary rates.

    The only ones screwed in the whole process are students. They are the ones loaded up with all the debt so that everyone else can make a HUGE profit off them. No wonder the banking industry spent huge sums of money to lobby politicians to make student debt impossible to get rid of–by not allowing students to get rid of debt, it cuts down on the risk of SLABS and guarantees that investors get paid. Open your eyes, you are just a pawn to the system built to make the rich more wealthy while they offer you the American "dream", which in reality, is nothing more than a nightmare. A huge portion of people that invest in SLABS aren't even American, they're European. In other words, people who are far, far away have vested interest in trying to drive up tuition costs as much as possible here and want to see our kids loaded up with as much non-dischargeable student loan debt as possible! Outrageous. Infuriating. True. I guess this wouldn't be America though if you couldn't monetize and gamble on your children's debt and futures on Wall Street.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Petra

    You advertised for a man. I am a woman. I know there aren't many women in tech. Petra is feminine for Peter.

    May 20, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nick

    I graduated in december with Double major of Computer Science and Economics. Had 5 job offers before I finished. took the one from my dream job in silicon valley making 85K a year and only racked up 22k in school debt. My degrees are from a good state university and I was a B+ student. i spent 3 years of college working long hours and hard but partied when i could. now, i live the dream. a buddy of mine did the total opposite, went to private school studied communication and partied it up to the max. now 3 years out with 80k in debt he is still unemployed and can only get unpaid internships. Science and engineering in a decent state college is the way to go....

    May 20, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      Maybe we shouldn't tell the IT secret. We don't want a glut of people. There is a difference between people who haphazardously slap code together and a good computer scientist. Besides programming languages it is good to know a little math.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Science isn't always the way to go, I graduated with a degree in chemistry and biology (2008) and there were no positions open, so now I'm in grad school making 20K a year and working ridiculous hours...

      May 20, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • MK

      Your friend's issue isn't that he went to a private school instead of a state school, it was his choice of major.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sheule

    I have a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering, with B nd B+ GPA. Graduated in 2008, still unemployed. After reading comments like Nick's ... I am thinking what am I doing wrong? Would anybody tell me please ...

    May 20, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Have someone experienced review your resume and do a few mock interviews. There has to be something that you're missing. Too many opportunties on those fields today.

      May 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Petra

    I have a friend who just got a MS in mechanical engineering and got a good job but she specialized in alternative energy. I think there is a glut of biology people. I use to be a molecular cell biologist but couldn't find work so I switched to computer science. Our department head did the same thing.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dwight Stegall

    Unfortunately, the better looking ones will get the best jobs.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. MK

    Seriously people...you can't think that a college degree is the solution to making it in the world. Yes, a degree does separate you from those who don't pursue a higher education, but you can't think that just because you have a college degree that means you should be earning more/doing better than those who don't. There are always jobs that are going to pay more (i.e. IT, finance, accounting, etc.). As much as I support the idea of people pursuing their passions, young people need to be realistic...there are always going to be more jobs in one field than another ( i.e. IT vs. Art history, for example...and no, I am not an IT major). The idea of training students for a specific job rather than teaching them certain ideals is falling by the wayside. As someone who hires future employees, I couldn't care less what your degree is in, what matters is really whether you have the skills necessary to complete the job. Just something for students/job hunters to think about.....

    May 20, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Petra

      Our engineering school requires a couple of courses in engineering ethics for the undergrads besides requiring courses in the liberal arts.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      Point taken, but the problem is that all these kids think they should expect better jobs/more money than people without college degrees because that's what they are taught. The whole reason they go to college is because they don't want to be someone who can't pay their bills because they don't have a fancy piece of paper hanging in their office, and they're taught from very early on that a college degree is their ticket to the golden land. If going through an extra four years of school won't give you a solid expectation of getting what we're told to expect, from the day we're born to the day we get out of college and find out none of it's true, then what's the motivation? I would tend to think that most people, if they didn't feel like they had to sit through another four years of school, wouldn't bother if they thought they could just go get a decent job right out of high school.

      I struggled with this quite a bit throughout my career, as I felt like I had gone through it all for nothing and wound up working unfulfilling jobs for way less money than I expected, and I felt like it was all for nothing. I felt like if all I was going to get was work that, quite frankly, you probably don't even need a high school diploma to be capable of, then I had just wasted four years of my life and a lot of money because I was handed a story for no reasonable explanation. It felt like being told that I need to buy a ticket to take a bus from New York to Los Angeles, so I wait on line for four years and buy the ticket, then get on the bus and end up being dropped off in Pittsburgh because there's a million people out there with bus tickets across the country and just because you have one doesn't guarantee that you're going to get the whole trip. The good news is that now I'm a well-rounded person because I got to talk to so many interesting people while I was waiting in line, but that's small consolation when I spend the rest of my life hanging out at the Pittsburgh Bus Depot watching every bus to Los Angeles slam their door and speed off the moment they see me.

      I've worked past these feelings for the most part (except when I get drawn into stories and conversations like this, obviously), but I think that the issue at the core of this (and many other problems) is that kids are raised on unreasonable expectations, one of which reads, "Get a college degree and you will be guaranteed numerous, high-paying job offers." Speaking as someone who was raised on these false expectations, it's a huge blow when you find out how the world really works and it takes a good long time to come to grips with it.

      May 20, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. LetsBeReal

    A major problem is that people are not willing to work their way up. When I graduated (December 2009) I took a customer service job right away, this allowed me to seriously look for a job in the area that I wanted to work in, while making some money. When I found a job at my dream organization I took it. Sometimes you have to do something you don't want to do until something better comes along.

    P.S. Everyone can't pursue science, technology, etc. Some people just don't have the talent or ability to pursue those fields.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Petra

    With all the technological issues in government policy and in the work place it is sad there are people who don't know much science and math. There have been industrial accicents where the non techical executive over ruled their engineer or scientist advice. Non technical people are in such a hurry they can lose good judgament.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Erik W.P.

    I graduated today, May 19, 2011 from a community college in AZ. I now have an AAS in computer aided drafting. My last job was as a plumber, 8 years ago, from which I had to go on disability and have been on ever since. I worked hard at school and my GPA is 3.93. I have 2 job offers already, one from a local company and one from out of state. Hard work and perseverance does pay off. One of the offers is quite generous.

    May 20, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
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