There’s a lot on the news today about young people being “job snobs”. In such an economic crisis someone with let’s say – a First in History or Biochemistry or even Equine Studies – should be happy stacking shelves or cleaning toilets of the big firms they want the job with.
My opinion is this : If the government think that people who worked for three years at university and got good results are going to be happy in these jobs they are seriously mistaken. I give you two examples.
- A girl studies Biology with a year abroad, four years studying and she got a 2:1. She couldn’t find a job in her industry because she was very shy at interviews, she ended up working in Poundland for a year before finding a job in a museum, she’s now studying for another qualification that’s more useful for that.
- A girl studies languages, she didn’t want to do the normal language career of being a translator or a teacher. So she gets a second degree, a Master of Arts. Then she’s very fussy and out of work for five months while looking for a job with languages. Finally she gets one in Export at a big company, and loves speaking the languages all day long.
The first girl was a good friend of mine, we lost touch a few years ago. That second girl is me. I was a statistic, one of those millions of people claiming benefits in 2007. Even back then before the crisis I couldn’t understand why the Job Centre felt I would accept a job in a supermarket or a retail shop. I admit maybe I went out clubbing more than I should have, or watched TV rather than made a start on that essay – but I still went to university to study and gain a qualification to help me up the career ladder.
We might be in the midst of an economic crisis, but we need to put the right people in the right jobs. The immigrant fresh from Poland or Lithuania might kill for that warehouse job but his English might hinder him in interviews, or that university biology graduate with no experience might actually flourish with a bit of guidance in that low-paid-but-first-step-on-the-ladder office clerk job in a pharmaceutical company.
Apparently in the USA you can live this American Dream, go to college on a “football scholarship”. This I have only learnt from films really, so you can be crap at everything else but good at sport and still get in. I think you have to do two subjects no matter what, a Major and a Minor. That’s what I like about the UK, you can do both equally, I don’t think I could have chosen between Spanish and French. But that’s how you get noticed, it’s the same thing, you want to play football so you play at college. College football is big news in the US, here it’s a rainy Wednesday afternoon at a neighbouring uni. And nobody’s brilliant at it anyway because they actually went to uni for Business Studies or Sociology because they want to run a tech start-up with a few friends, or work in local government.
My next post will be about College Football, I promise!