Why Is This Young Lady Unemployed, Broke and Miserable?

Let me start the way I’m going to finish: you don’t “earn a degree” in higher education. You buy it.

Or someone buys it for you. But is is bought, not earned.

Yes, you do work hard, put in the time and eyestrain, and sacrifice, to get that degree.

But, you wouldn’t get it if you didn’t pay for it (or someone paid for it). It’s a product.

Which brings me to the young lady in the Internet meme that drew dozens of comments on my Facebook page.

She’s hiding her face behind a sheet of paper on which she’s written: “I am 25 years old with a fine arts degree. No job. No Insurance. On foodstamps and $20,000 in college debt. I am the 99%”

Let’s break that down:

Is is scandalous, or even surprising, that her degree didn’t make her immediately employable? Are there headhunters looking for fine arts majors to fill the e-suites at Fortune 100 companies?

“No job”—I assume she means that she doesn’t have the job she “should” have, but surely she doesn’t mean she can’t find “a” job? Jim on Facebook suggested Uber or Lyft (and you meet all kinds of people to network with) Others mentioned McDonald’s, pizza delivery and the service sector. Why not follow the example of “Cosby” actor Geoffrey Owens—who bags groceries at Trader Joe’s between TV gigs? There’s dignity in any work, and people are drawn to someone who’s trying, not complaining.

“No insurance” and “on foodstamps” need no elaboration. See above.

“20,000 in college debt”—makes me think she may have had some help paying for college. It’s actually low for a four-year degree. If she DID have help, why complain? If she didn’t, her debt load is not insurmountable. But there needs to be some cash flow.

As I said in the beginning: you don’t “earn” a degree, you buy it.

You apply to a school (even the application costs you money). If accepted, you are charged a hefty tuition (offset by some forms of aid). Everything costs money: the housing, the books, the meals, the “facilities”.

As Stephanie wisely pointed out on FB, “making a life choice at 18 is pointless”. I mean, how many people could pick out the right mate for life at 18? 

Yet, we expect young people to pick out a career path, or a major for which they have a “passion”. Pretty much all of my “passions” at 18 were ill-advised.

Bottom line, this young lady behind the sign either chose poorly, or with scant information. She (or someone) bought that degree. It’s not society’s fault, or the government, or the mythical “one percent” (who probably buy almost all the “fine art”).

You bought a product without understanding it. And you can’t return it.

It’s on you.

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