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Gen Y Grad Sues College Because She Can’t Get Job

August 4th, 2009

This cracks me up.  An article on NYC NBC site says College Grad Can’t Find Job, Wants $$$ Back. Check out the image from the site (ouch!):

OMG, where to even begin on this one.

In summary, this person went to school, apparently got a BA degree in something to do with “information technology,” and I guess couldn’t land a job.  So she is suing saying her career services office “didn’t [live] up to its end of the deal [by] offering her the leads and employment advice it promised.”

This recent grad has lived at home with her mom, who is a substitute teacher and is “the only one of the two who makes any money.”

I know school is hard, but I also know that thousands of people work during the time they went to school.  You gotta do what you gotta do… living off of $70k in student loans is not a way to finance your education.

In my post Letter to University Professors: Stop Failing Us, I said that I went to school to position myself for my career (well, I was looking for (cough cough) job security).  NOT for learning. I definitely got learning-loving-people who beat me up for that, but I don’t care.  I think they are the exception (and I respect them for wanting to learn, blah blah blah).  Apparently this new graduate agrees – suing the school because they didn’t land her a job is like saying “I don’t give a crap about any of the junk I learned in this program! I paid you $70k to land me a job, and that didn’t happen, so give it all back!

I think that’s taking my point a little too far (:)), but I still think that our educational system is set up to help us become more career-worthy, not to fill our heads with all kinds of goodness (we have Google for that :p).

Here are some misc. thoughts:

  • If I knew about this lawsuit when I got a resume from her, or before an interview, I would NEVER, EVER, EVER hire her.  EVER.
  • Gen Y – I’d love to hear you weigh in on this.  The NBC site has over 400 comments, and the NY Post article has a bunch (I can’t figure out how many)… how many of you feel this way?  Does the word “entitlement” have any negative meaning anymore?  I hope the Brazen Careerist, who seems to be the spokesblog for Gen Y picks up and opines on this.
  • Career centers are not to blame, really, for any of this.  I’ve seen a number of career centers throughout the country.  Some are so underfunded they are only there so the school can say “yep, we have one!”  Others are very well-funded and have overqualified (read: awesome) staff, I’m surprised they aren’t losing the staff.  But most of them (99%) have a singular problem: A MAJOR DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE CAREER SERVICES AND THE PROFESSORS.  There is a wall that has to come down between career services and the professors who should be promoting them. This is not a wall that was put up by career services – this is a wall that professors built and honor.  It’s crazy, and it does a gross disservice to the students.

Update: here’s an interesting thing, from an anonymous person… Monroe College’s Career Center has a Platinum Club… which is invitation only.  It “strives to provide selected students with career planning privileges at the Office of Career Advancement.”  I doubt that this person’s 2.7 GPA would have qualified her to be in the Platinum club…

What do you think?

(hat tip to my Allan T. Young who sent me the link to the NBC post)

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8 Responses to “Gen Y Grad Sues College Because She Can’t Get Job”

  1. demetrius says:

    The way this is being handled is a bit far fetched (suing the school), but, I understand where she is coming from.

    The cost of obtaining a degree today is not on the same level as pay. Employers aren’t going to bump their pay scales up to match the cost of Higher Ed anytime soon, so, students are stuck for MANY years…paying off loans.

    The cost of Higher Ed needs to drop..

  2. Allan says:

    @ demetrius – interesting tangent. As much as you understand where she is coming from, there is no way that the cost of higher education drops because people are suing career centers. In fact, higher education will rise if this becomes a trend.

  3. bill says:

    Interesting news.

    I have to say that I came from the “old school” that believes in education is about learning, not about getting a job.

    I think this particular individual who sued her school went too far — I know the job market is tough, but there are still a lot of opportunities out there if you try enough. Instead of blaming her school and her circumstances, she needs to focus on improving her own skill set, and make herself more marketable. Take on free internships, start a blog, learn how to sell things online, etc. One simply needs to be resourceful in order to land a job or start a business. Those are skills school cannot teach.

    I also want to point out that Branzen Careerist give very biased advice to young people. I read Brazen Careerist for its entertainment value, but I think it’s very dangerous to make opinionated, over-generalized, generation-specific career advice. Yes, there are difference between generations, but there are also a lot of commonalities too. After all, we’re all humans. Brazen Careerist tends to say things the so-called millennium-generation likes to hear, but it doesn’t necessarily make it good advice.

    When I came out of college in 1997, there were ton of “career expert” and media pundits saying the rule for the games were changed. We were a new generation of “free agent”. When the dotcom bomb exploded, all of those “new career thinking” were gone. Things went back to reality. I sense similiar hype from the brazen careerist. :-)

  4. This is a very good example that shows us just how some people value education differently than others. Her use for getting a college degree was not just to get the education but to help her land a job after college which is completely understandable.

    Although I do sympathize with her on not being able to get a job with her college degree, I do feel as if she could work in a different industry and at the very least, begin paying off her student loans until the economy starts looking better.

    There is plenty of opportunity for a young woman or man who is fresh out of college to work in a restaurant, bar, or retail store just to get by.

  5. Gary Sanchez says:

    Are we merely enjoying the sin of judgment on this blog or are we actually posting articles that contribute to helping people with their job search. Maybe some think its helpful to point out others failings just for the sake of feeling superior but if there is no lesson other than “we’re better than that person” it’s not helpful to anyone and it’s actually destructive to anyone who smugly makes the judgment and anyone who joins in judging.

    I love the informative articles on this blog but find these judgmental rants in very poor taste.

  6. Catch this! I have coached Career Services staff at tech/trade schools that are required to place 70%+ of their grads in jobs… within a year of graduation… in the student’s field of study… or the school can lose its accredidation and funding — and they do it! It’s great! I wonder how many colleges and universities could stay in business if they had similar requirements — too few. And you are right. It’s not the Career Services staff. Most of our higher-education system is way too academic and not real-world enough. The ‘college’ experience is in for big changes over the next decade.

  7. This is totally ridiculous. This is what’s wrong with America. No one is willing to do ANYTHING for themselves anymore. I mean, is Trina Thompson serious? She’s joking right? WOW. It’s not the responsibility of the career services center to get her a job! It’s HER OWN responsibility to find herself a job. I have to wonder how the heck she made it through school. (SIGH)

    What’s next? Will it be the responsibility of her employer to make sure she gets to work on time? Will it be someone else’s responsibility to make sure her kids are learning in school? Will she sue McDonald’s for getting high cholesterol when it is common knowledge that eating fast food is bad for your health?
    Ok, now that I am done with my ranty-rant, this actually reminds me of something that happened to one of my colleagues in the resume writing industry.

    She was approached by a former client for a refund stating that the new resume did not get him a job. Well, my colleague did some probing only to find out that the only thing he had done to try to get a job is post his resume to Monster.com. He didn’t do any networking, he didn’t apply to job postings, and he didn’t try to do anything for himself. And even if he had, resumes are not supposed to get you a job…they get you the interview.

    I used my colleague’s unfortunate encounter as a learning experience and wrote a very strict contract to try to protect myself from the “Trina Thompson’s” of the world. I’m actually concerned that people like her could actually get into leadership positions…it will only worsen what’s happening to our economy.

    Ok…I’m off to work. Reading stuff like this stresses me out LOL.

  8. Callina says:

    Wow, interesting! I’m a Gen-Y’er, and here’s my take: getting a job out of college is as much about networking as it is about knowledge–sometimes even more so. Networking is a great benefit of a college education, but it is not the purpose. I think college is about much more than just learning–exchange of ideas, progression, discovery, innovation, etc. These are the types of things that help advance society and the different professional fields we’re all involved in. Hugely important, but not always relevant to getting a job when you graduate. That said, I still don’t think it’s the college’s job to get you a job. It’s their job to educate and prepare you for the job, and if your program is a good one, it WILL assist you in the job search. I think the divide between career services and the classroom is definitely real, and something that could be improved upon. Ultimately I do think it’s up to the student to be able to find a job, but I also think that professors out there need to spell it out to students–NETWORKING IS EVERYTHING. I didn’t know this. I thought that if I had the knowledge and ability, I could get the job. I realized it much too late–I thought if I just went to class and did well, I’d be okay, but I learned that I should have gotten far more involved in student orgs, gone to my prof’s office hours even if I didn’t have a question but just to talk to them and get career advice, and to just participate more than I did. You can’t be a passive student and expect to have an easy time finding a job. But the problem is, I’m not sure if students are even aware of this fact, or aware that some of them are, in fact, passive. I was definitely in the dark. I didn’t need the college to help me find a job, I needed them to give me a wake-up call so I could find one for myself.

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