How Not to Get a Job: Go to College

5 January 2012 at 12:21AM Leave a comment

A story in yesterday’s WaPo sheds some interesting light on which type of college grads suffer more from unemployment:

Recent college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the arts, humanities and architecture experienced significantly higher rates of joblessness, according to a study being released Wednesday by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

Among recent college graduates, those with the highest rates of unemployment had undergraduate degrees in architecture (13.9 percent), the arts (11.1 percent) and the humanities (9.4 percent), according to the study.

The recent college graduates with the lowest rates of unemployment had degrees in health (5.4 percent), education (5.4 percent), and agriculture and natural resources (7 percent.) Those with business and engineering degrees also fared relatively well.

One of the study authors makes the point:

“People keep telling kids to study what they love — but some loves are worth more than others,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, one of the study’s authors. “When people talk about college, there are all these high-minded ideas about it making people better citizens and participating fully in the life of their times. All that’s true, but go talk to the unemployed about that.”

The analysis, which was based on 2009 and 2010 data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, comes amid an increasing debate over the value of college education…

The Hard Times report from the source, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, describes their major findings:

  1. Choice of major substantially affects employment prospects and earnings.
  2. People who make technology are better off than people who use technology.
  3. In general, majors that are linked to occupations have better employment prospects than majors focused on general skills. But, some occupation specific majors, such as Architecture, were hurt by the recession and fared worse than general skills majors.
  4. For many, pursuing a graduate degree may be the best option until the economy recovers. But, not all graduate degrees outperform all BA’s on employment.

All good points to keep in mind.

Study author Carnevale points that studying what you love (a.k.a. Following your Passion) is no guarantee of success. Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs spoke at “The Entertainment Gathering 2008” and addressed that same problem.

Follow your passion? What could possibly be wrong with that?

Probably the worst advice I ever got. Follow your dreams and go broke.

That’s all I heard growing up. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I was told that if you follow your passion, it’s going to work out.

I can give you 30 examples right now.

Bob Combs, the pig farmer in Las Vegas who collects the uneaten scraps of food from the casinos and feeds them to his swine. Why? Because there’s so much protein in the stuff we don’t eat that they grow at twice the normal speed, and he is one rich pig farmer. And he’s good for the environment and he spends his days doing this incredible service. He smells like hell, but God bless him, he’s making a great living.

You ask him, ‘Did you follow your passion here?’ and he’d laugh at you. The guy’s worth… he just got offered 60 million for his farm and he turned it down. He didn’t follow his passion. He stepped back and watched where everyone was going and he went the other way.

And I hear that story over and over.

See Mike Rowe and the War on Work for the video. The Passion part starts at 12:00

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Entry filed under: College, NotJobs, Unemployment. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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