Why the Millennial Generation is screwed
Dear Dean Vernon Warner,
I am of the millennial generation and a recent graduate of your prestigious college. I just wanted to thank you because I am realizing that I have learned the greatest life lesson and I have your college experience to thank for it.
I just spent the last 4 years of my life trying to offset future college loans by working 25 hours a week with a minimum wage job. Despite all of those hours I could have spent studying, I am still in debt to the tune of $85K. Your school is $25K a year and after 4 years, I spent $100K on tuition. This doesn’t include the books I purchased for $100.00 and then 3 months later was able to sell back to the school for $15.00. This doesn’t include the lab fees and it doesn’t include the room and board, which ran $10K a year while sharing a room with three roommates. I consider myself lucky. I have a number of friends that were not able to graduate in 4 years and will end up spending another year in school to finish, but since tuition went up this year, they will spend an additional $27K.
Other millennial generation friends couldn’t afford to finish and had to quit after 3 years. These folks are in debt for $105K (3 years of tuition at $25K and 3 years of room and board at $10K) but although I am sure they are worse off than me, I am not sure I feel any better about it. With only 3 years of education, they won’t qualify for jobs requiring a college degree. Like myself, this leaves them in debt and not just unemployed, but they can look forward to being unqualified for jobs requiring a college degree.
4 months ago, with the diploma in hand, I and my fellow millennial generation graduates were ready to take on the world. I was looking forward to the American dream. I had finished my education and had your signature on my gold leaf embossed diploma to prove it. I even spent $75.00 on a real wood frame at the university bookstore to frame my newly minted diploma. I was ready to start a new job, climb the career ladder and retire with a gold watch.
4 months later I am flat-out depressed. I have sent out hundreds of resumes and have had 2 phone interviews and 1 in-person interview. I haven’t heard from the hiring companies after any of the interviews and the situation feels pretty hopeless.
I have moved back into my parent’s basement and because I have yet to find a job they question my work ethic and intelligence. They don’t doubt me, they doubt the entire millennial generation. Intelligence and work ethic??!! I just went to 4 years of school and graduated with honors!
My parents want to kick me out of the house because these last few months have felt like DOG months to them. They may feel like each month is the equivalent of 7 months for them, but each month under their roof is 14 months for me. My father reminds me that the average rent in Seattle is $1,800.00 a month and I should be “chipping in”. He says I will learn more on the street than in college. I have a friend with a college degree who is a Barista at Starbucks and he says he can get me a job as the guy who writes the customers orders on the cups and rings up the customers. But hey! At least I get free coffee every week and will be eligible for benefits, even if I work part-time. Hell, they even have a college reimbursement plan. Maybe I will go back to your school and get my MBA!
While going to your prestigious institution, I worked 25 hours a week at a national burger chain. Now I cannot land a job with that same chain in my hometown because with a college degree I am “overqualified”. They don’t want to hire someone like me because they are afraid that as soon as I find the job I really want, I am going to quit. (don’t list the college degree on the resume, just list the 4 years of hamburger experience)
Over the past 4 years, within the confines of your prestigious academia, I took classes on the topics of English, math, physics, accounting, astronomy and 3 years of Spanish. I took art history, business, and computer science, Quantitative reasoning, Cultural Diversity, Critical Thinking, Natural Sciences and English just to name a few. And this is NOT a liberal arts degree. I feel sorry for the folks that busted their asses for that degree. When was the last time you saw a job description on Monster.com that was looking for a liberal arts degree. You have a lot of nerve even offering that program. I thought I was a well-rounded individual. I thought I would use this diploma to land a good job and then contribute to society.
As of my graduation date, I can:
- Recite the periodic table by heart.
- Name 100 artists and their paintings from the Renaissance and Impressionistic periods.
- Explain the Big Bang theory and identify the Milky Way through a telescope.
- Tell you how to calculate EBITDA.
- Speak Spanish at a conversational level.
BUT I CAN NOT F*&%ING LAND A JOB INTERVIEW.
When I was going to school, I figured anyone that is charging a kid $100K knows what they are doing. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now I know what I don’t know.
What I know: I just spent $100K to get a piece of paper I thought would help me land a job.
What I don’t know: I don’t know how to write a resume that will grab a recruiter’s attention and I don’t know how to conduct myself in a job interview.
How do I know that I don’t know how to write an effective resume? If I did know how to write an effective resume, you would think that by sheer odds, one of the hundreds of companies I applied to would have at least sent me a “we received your resume and would like to talk to you about a potential opportunity” email. Crickets bitches. . .crickets.
If I don’t know how to write an effective resume, I sure as hell don’t know how to effectively interview. When I ask my unemployed friends if they took a class on interviewing, they all just shake their heads in silence. Nothing listed in the curriculum. Who would have thought?
Where was the class on how to write a resume? Where was the class on how to interview in Corporate America? God forbid we have a class on how to negotiate a raise or a promotion.
I spent 5 hours a week learning the periodic table and 5 hours a week for 3 months learning the paintings of 100 Impressionists, but no class on interviewing?
Yes, there was that 1-hour session in the business class where a couple of recruiters came in from Acme Publishing and gave the 300 of us in the class a crash course on how to find a job. The only real practical knowledge we walked away with was:
How do we introduce ourselves at a career fair?
How do we shake hands with a recruiter or hiring manager? Yes, we all lined up to practice shaking the recruiter’s hand and introduce ourselves. We were all a little insulted when we were done and realized the lesson was over. Question for you: If I need coaching on how to introduce myself, don’t you think I need coaching on the actual interview?
(HRNasty quit volunteering at these “how to find a job’ sessions at the local college when I was assigned to role play the career fair introductions with 150 students which consisted of a single handshaking exercise. This was all we could help folks within the 60-minute sessions and no Purell was provided.)
WHAT THE F*&#HAPPENS AFTER THAT?
How do I answer the question: Tell me about yourself
How do I answer the desired salary question? Hell, What is my desired salary? I need to pay off my $100K student loan. The average price of a home in Seattle is $504K and not only requires a 20% deposit, a home requires a J.O.B! The average rent in Seattle is $1,800.00. Where was that discussion? I didn’t get drunk in school, I attended class. I was a good student. Why can’t I find a job?
The lesson I took away from my 4 years at your institution for the bargain price of $100K?
Buyer beware. For every sucker out there, there are 10 to take him for it. And if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Yes, I am the sucker, you took me for the $100K, and will take thousands more following in my footsteps. Why did I think that spending $100K on an education would get me somewhere? What I really need to know is how to write a resume, how to interview, and how to manage my manager. I wish there was someone out there that could really make a difference and had a blog or something I could research.
Thanks for nothing,
Millennial generation, Class of 2015
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.