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Crabby Lioness
04-19-2012, 01:29 PM
This is one of the most disturbing articles (http://www.esquire.com/features/young-people-in-the-recession-0412) I've read lately, and that's saying something. I'm not sure how to prepare my children for a world that eats its young.

Amanadoo
04-19-2012, 01:57 PM
Hmm good article.

I think they key is teaching kids how to remain flexible and REALISTIC. My personal experience with most of my friends/peers (I am 27) is that they just went to college with no direction. And they move back home because they said something like "I like reading books so I'll major in English." without ONCE thinking what an "English" degree would translate into after college. So many people I know, majored in something that REALLY OBVIOUSLY wasn't going to translate into competitiveness in a thriving job market after graduation. So they took out a bunch of loans, and now work at grocery stores and live with their parents. Or some variation thereof.

Our parents, however, and to a greater extent, our grandparents had really clear trajectories. They lived in a world where you did just have to be a hard worker. That was all it took.

Today's world demands flexibility and creativity and foresight, and more than anything a strong sense of personal responsibility. You have to get out there and MAKE it happen. You can't just go to work at a factory or a firm of some sort and expect to work your way up the ladder in time. Gotta be willing to MOVE Gotta be willing to think outside the box...et cetera.

It's a different world, for sure, but don't think it's altogether hopeless. And there's always always always the military;)

baker
04-19-2012, 02:33 PM
I agree with Amandoo - we need to teach our children about the hard work, planning, and personal responsibility. Kids also need to know patience ("no, you do not get a brand new car when you graduate"). I have several nieces who have floundered in college - either getting several useless (not much potential for making money) degrees (obtaining loans each time) or starting and stopping college repeatedly. In each case, the girls were given an awful lot as children, never having to work hard for anything they wanted. I've already had numerous talks/lessons about "want vs need" with my young kids.

Crabby Lioness
04-19-2012, 03:52 PM
Funny, but when I went to college in the 80s, the English degree was the one favored by high-end businesses (and law colleges) because it taught people how to think and not just how to use the (soon to be outdated) office equipment. The "hot" business-oriented degrees usually involved programs that are now obsolete.

farrarwilliams
04-19-2012, 04:14 PM
Yeah, see, that gets back to what the article was saying. If people of our generation went to college without clear direction and did liberal arts majors not knowing where that was going to lead exactly... do you define that as being directionless losers or as listening to the older generation tell us that you have to go to college and liberal arts degrees from good schools will be flexible and valuable. Because that's what I always heard.

I didn't agree with everything in that article, but I do think the boomers are basically full of it. They want to be the greatest, make us feel like nothing we do can ever live up to the 60's and then treat us like crap politically and socially. Bleh.

Amanadoo
04-19-2012, 04:23 PM
I didn't agree with everything in that article, but I do think the boomers are basically full of it. They want to be the greatest, make us feel like nothing we do can ever live up to the 60's and then treat us like crap politically and socially. Bleh.

I agree. Not to take away from their massive contributions (but how can you HELP BUT contribute? Just be being alive...anyway) but it seems to me that for the most part, they had things laid out clearly for them. It obviously wasn't the greatest, since the generation after really rebelled, but the tough choices...eh. Not so much. They just plugged themselves into a formula, expected it to work and 99 times out of 100 it did.

Life does not in any way, shape or form work like that any more.

I also agree that people were/are getting these useless degrees (English is just one example) because we have been told our whole life that everything hinges on this degree.

But it does not. Not all the time. I think there needs to be a lot more informed decision making going into college and degree choices. If you have a clear passion, by ALL MEANS we need more passionate people. As many as we can get. But going into massive debt JUST to have a piece of paper that may or may not (probably won't) get you a job is not smart life planning.

So there's blame enough all on sides. But the take-away is that OUR kids, that we are raising now, will have to rise to the challenge of personal responsibility and creativity.

dbmamaz
04-19-2012, 04:43 PM
wow, you guys were told that english degrees were sought after? Well, honestly, i just thought of english as lit, which i hated, so I didnt really consider it. But i still remember being flabbergasted when a friend of mine got a degree in philosophy. it took him a LONG time to find a career. He framed pictures for many years.

I didnt really find this article disturbing except for how angry and manipulative i found the writer to be. I thought it was blown rather out of proportion.

Accidental Homeschooler
04-19-2012, 04:54 PM
wow, you guys were told that english degrees were sought after? Well, honestly, i just thought of english as lit, which i hated, so I didnt really consider it. But i still remember being flabbergasted when a friend of mine got a degree in philosophy. it took him a LONG time to find a career. He framed pictures for many years.

I didnt really find this article disturbing except for how angry and manipulative i found the writer to be. I thought it was blown rather out of proportion.

Yes, I am with you on this one.

farrarwilliams
04-19-2012, 05:00 PM
I was told... not so much that English lit was a good choice, but that "a good school" would help you make connections and that it didn't matter much what you majored in because a liberal arts degree was flexible. And, being 18, I believed it. I'm not bitter, don't get me wrong... and college was okay, I guess. I just think that's what a lot of kids are sold on. Just go to college. Everything will follow from that. Um, no - it won't.

I did think the article's author was being absurd in places. I mean, the youth are out there plotting and will take revenge? Youth should be the only issue in the upcoming campaign? Come on. And the implication that it's all a big conspiracy? Puh-leeze.

Crabby Lioness
04-19-2012, 06:11 PM
And the implication that it's all a big conspiracy? Puh-leeze.

Not a conspiracy, more of an unintended consequence. Conspiracy implies motive, intent, and coordination.

dbmamaz
04-19-2012, 06:25 PM
It is certainly harder for people to find jobs now, but I really think much of it is the economy. Of course, the jobs that pay well and arent filled are always things people dont want to do - either hard manual labor or hard tech education required. But when the economy was booming 10 years ago, anyone could get a job, just about. Now you have to have something the market wants. I do think there was some magical thinking about jobs just 'appearing'. I mean, i was really surprised how hard it was to find a job. admittedly, I didnt finish college, but i was a year away from a BS in Psych, and when I started looking at the school jobs office for positions, the only things open to me were pretty much sales jobs. That was part of why i quit - why push through for another year if there were no jobs? (this was the mid to late 80s, i guess).

the policies . . . yeah, they keep lowering school aid and support for young families. and i dont think its agism so much as classism. If you arent rich enough to afford it, you are SOL. If you are rich enough, you can buy laws to make you richer. Thats the game which is being played, IMO, shamelessly today. The question is, how bad will it get . . .will the economy rally and people will be fat and happy again, or will it get bad enough for the lower classes that they finally take action.

crkirby
04-19-2012, 06:37 PM
When I turned 17 and started looking for schools, my grandma sat me down and told me flat out to avoid a liberal arts degree. She'd saved and saved since I was born for me to go to college, so basically it was a "if I'm going to foot this bill, you're gonna listen to me" kinda thing. Glad I did. She and my grandpa told me to look at the careers with the most growth potential, the jobs that would always be needed, and choose from there.

I chose education, and became a teacher. My husband's friend, he's going to college now, and he's planning on majoring in some music degree. Awesome, except, he lives in a nowhere town that has no music scene, and his chances for success in this career are very low. I think this is what happens alot of the time....people just think "oh hey, I enjoy ____ so I'll get a degree in that!" with no real thought as to what the actual job market is for said job (both currently and in the long run).

I plan on giving my girls a similiar speech that my grandma gave me. We already kinda do, when my 8yo says she wants to be an artist, I encourage her to draw, and say that is a fun hobby....but for a job, she should want something more stable.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 07:52 PM
Oh, c'mon guys...all anyone needs to know is to follow their bliss. Sure, I could have not gone to university to get a degree in POETRY - most useless degree ever - and I could have gone and done something sensible like...er...what do you guys call it ? a STEM degree ? - but then I would have been utterly miserable as a person.

It's not my job to direct my children anywhere other than their own bliss; it's ridiculous to think that all young adults will choose poorly.

Yes, I know I am speaking from the relatively privileged land of deferred uni loans and (some) social security...

Still, if my choice was between supporting my child's dream and trying to redirect them to an economically 'safe' choice ( always supposing they were clueless ) maybe I'd just send them to live in Norway. Or Australia.

Dreams are priceless. Living the life you were called to as a vocation is priceless. There are many views of what is 'enough' and how and where to support oneself.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 07:57 PM
And I am sooo tired of hearing how 'useless' a liberal arts degree is. God forbid we lose the liberal arts and become a world of economic units.

It's not an either/or thing. One of my daughters plans on doing an English degree. She plans on doing her docorate in English. And she plans on supporting herself by teaching dance/fitness, something she is already - at 12 - beginning accreditation for.

Sure, she won't be able to afford life's luxuries...but her dream is both intellectually aspirational and practical and I'm proud of those who study liberal arts in keeping with a tradition of the academy.

farrarwilliams
04-19-2012, 08:21 PM
It's not that I think liberal arts is useless - far from it. Or that college is useless. Again, clearly not. More that I think we have to be more honest with youth about the reasons for college. When the cost was what it was thirty years ago, then you could go just to "have the college experience." But with the cost now... I think kids should have a goal. That goal can be to follow your bliss and have that experience, but I think we should be real about that and not act like it will necessarily be a stepping stone to a career.

I think I would have been happier waiting on college and going when I had some clue about what I wanted to do.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 08:31 PM
Debt is an issue. I wonder how self-perpetuating the fear is though. It's not as if you have youth unemployment like Spain, for example. If you have people just doing their thing and coming out of uni with all sorts of degrees, employers will need to hire those with all sorts of degrees.

If you have everyone doing STEM degrees out of fear, employers will have lots of STEM degree holders to hire. So then those coming along behind will see that and think 'Oh, I need a STEM degree to get hired!'

Idk.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 08:48 PM
And I am a big fan of gap year/s. They are very popular here and in the UK. Do many kids do them there ?

Accidental Homeschooler
04-19-2012, 09:09 PM
I think there is a danger also when so many people are making the decision just based on where the jobs are right now. You won't be the only one doing that and by the time you finish school with everyone else chasing those jobs the supply and demand have shifted and not in your favor. I remember the nursing shortage and wages were very high and just a few years later supply had caught up and it was not the same situation at all. My little sister spent almost two years trying to find a teaching job, while working part-time jobs, and finally just recently took something else, which thankfully she likes. Teaching was a good bet for security at one time, but now schools are laying off. If I start trying to steer dd14 to engineering or something like that how do I know that in eight years there won't be a glut of engineers because a lot of other parents will do the same thing?

I think it is much better to follow your strengths/talents (or your "bliss" if you perfer). Why steer a kid whose talent is in language or art off to be a mediocre engineer? Then we just end up with a country with a lot of mediocre engineers, or nurses who don't really like nursing (taking care of us and the people we love) or teachers who were just looking for the best chance of finding a job teaching our kids instead of people who are doing because they are good at and like it. Much better to do something you are good at and be flexible, like my dh, another MFA in poetry who figured out how to use his talents to make a living and is very good at it and managing to support four people comfortably if not in the lap of luxury. He never could have planned for his current job at 18.

Amanadoo
04-19-2012, 09:18 PM
These people I am talking about are far from following their bliss. Like I said, passionate people...do it. Other people...you can't fake passion.

Accidental Homeschooler
04-19-2012, 09:34 PM
These people I am talking about are far from following their bliss. Like I said, passionate people...do it. Other people...you can't fake passion.

Yes, if you don't know what yours is, you need to go out in the world and find it. Although, I think sometimes people do find it in college. That is what I am hoping hsing will do for my kids, give them a little more time and freedom to find their passions while they are teenagers.

Amanadoo
04-19-2012, 09:38 PM
I agree most homeschoolers probably have a leg up that way. Well, secular/non hardcore fundies anyway.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 10:03 PM
Fwiw, I agree with the article in that particular generations do suffer from the actions of previous generations, just as some benefit. Gen X in particular was hard done by, and not through a lack of realism and flexibility, more through the economic conditions at the time they were emerging from schools/universities. It isn't a new thing.

What I reject is this idea that the way to respond to that is to become pragmistists, to reject the optimism of the boomers, mentioned in the article as the cause of all ruin and to narrow the choices of young people down to what is economically viable.

That way may lie individiual comfort but also the death of culture.

So it's not that I think young adults shouldn't think through their choices, take a gap year, protest the cost of education by educating themselves outside the academy...I just think as parents, our job is not to allow our children's lives to be shaped soley by the economy, and supporting children - emotionally, not always financially - who want to go into debt to be a philosopher or an artist is part of that.

I don't often quote the bible, as you know :) but that bit about ( i'm paraphrasing ) 'what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul' applies here.

Yes, I do believe certain generations suffer more than others. Encouraging pragmatism at the expense of the soul is not the way, imo, to react to the fact.

And maybe here most people do see that the two can co-exist; that a person can be an artist, for example, and survive in dire societal conditions not of their own making, so perhaps the reaction here is misplaced, but it is something I see and hear widely from parents of my generation.

Crabby Lioness
04-19-2012, 10:36 PM
wow, you guys were told that english degrees were sought after? Well, honestly, i just thought of english as lit, which i hated, so I didnt really consider it. But i still remember being flabbergasted when a friend of mine got a degree in philosophy. it took him a LONG time to find a career. He framed pictures for many years.

English classes are traditionally considered good for teaching analysis, critical thinking, and the ability to frame and defend an argument. All good upper-level skills.

Accidental Homeschooler
04-19-2012, 10:43 PM
It is my nature to be pragmatic. I can't help it. I remember reading an article about the generation that came of age during the depression, wish I could remember where.

farrarwilliams
04-19-2012, 10:48 PM
I don't think people have to become pragmatists... I just think eyes open and all that. The debt, the following of bliss, the finding of work both meaningful and profitable should all be laid out. Choices should be clear - youth should be allowed to make their own mistakes, not the mistakes of their parents - either by their parents' example or by their parents' ill-gotten advice.

To me, part of that is helping kids think through whether a choice and the sacrifices involved are worth it or not. If you decide to become a starving artist, then you sacrifice wealth in exchange for personal satisfaction. If you decide to go into a career just to make money, you sacrifice personal satisfaction for wealth. I think most people want a middle path, but I don't think either extreme is right or wrong, just that it's important to be clear about what your values are and make choices based on that. My experience has been that most of the time, previous generations are guiding youth toward the choices they see as having the most value instead of helping youth discern what has the most value for them.

Gap years aren't that common here, unfortunately. My step-sister took one, deferring entry to a very competitive school for a year and my mother and her father FREAKED OUT about it at first, though they eventually calmed down and let her do it. I think their reaction was pretty typical. I don't think it's any better now. My mother probably would have disowned me for taking a gap year. She told me point blank it was not acceptable.

I think it goes back to the idea that the previous generations have put the highest value on "college" as a goal in and of itself. I really question that. If a young person finds value in college as a goal in and of itself, then I can honor that, but when it's just a step in the conveyor belt of life, then I don't think much of it at all.

But this is an old argument for us, isn't it, Stella? ;) I don't think we're that far apart, are we? Just different perspectives...

dbmamaz
04-19-2012, 10:51 PM
I dont tell my kids they shouldnt study what they care about, I just remind them to think about the future and how they will make a living. Well, Orion i am steering more towards a specific career, because he has no ability to plan or decide anything, really. I mean, my daughter wanted to major in graphic art . . . i took comfort in the fact that she had also taught a web-page design class at tech camp . . . now she's going in to mass communications and advertising. Well, there is usually money in advertising, I guess. But she has a plan, she has a focus, and I trust her to find her way. I have to say if a child of mine was whining that they worked hard to get a 'good' liberal arts degree and they were 'mad because they cant get a job' i would come down pretty hard on them. You made the choice to pursue that, there are no guarantees, now do what you can and dont blame others for where you are now.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 11:01 PM
I don't think people have to become pragmatists... I just think eyes open and all that. The debt, the following of bliss, the finding of work both meaningful and profitable should all be laid out. Choices should be clear - youth should be allowed to make their own mistakes, not the mistakes of their parents - either by their parents' example or by their parents' ill-gotten advice.

To me, part of that is helping kids think through whether a choice and the sacrifices involved are worth it or not. If you decide to become a starving artist, then you sacrifice wealth in exchange for personal satisfaction. If you decide to go into a career just to make money, you sacrifice personal satisfaction for wealth. I think most people want a middle path, but I don't think either extreme is right or wrong, just that it's important to be clear about what your values are and make choices based on that. My experience has been that most of the time, previous generations are guiding youth toward the choices they see as having the most value instead of helping youth discern what has the most value for them.

Gap years aren't that common here, unfortunately. My step-sister took one, deferring entry to a very competitive school for a year and my mother and her father FREAKED OUT about it at first, though they eventually calmed down and let her do it. I think their reaction was pretty typical. I don't think it's any better now. My mother probably would have disowned me for taking a gap year. She told me point blank it was not acceptable.

I think it goes back to the idea that the previous generations have put the highest value on "college" as a goal in and of itself. I really question that. If a young person finds value in college as a goal in and of itself, then I can honor that, but when it's just a step in the conveyor belt of life, then I don't think much of it at all.

But this is an old argument for us, isn't it, Stella? ;) I don't think we're that far apart, are we? Just different perspectives...

That's a shame there's such a bias against gap years. I think they are very useful for getting off the conveyer belt and also for maturing enough that you can take responsibility for your own choices.

I don't disagree with you on the rest. Open eyes and all that. As long as you don't use the eye opening to scare the bejeezus out of your child for dreaming about/planning for a specific career or industry. And as long as you're not indoctrinating with bias against liberal arts on the way.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 11:06 PM
It is my nature to be pragmatic. I can't help it. I remember reading an article about the generation that came of age during the depression, wish I could remember where.

Pragmatism is a great personal quality. My only objection to pragmatism is when the society becomes unbalanced and the 'pragmatism' of making choices based on economic factors begins to take over, rather than being one factor among many.

So really I'm just objecting to pragmatism being co-opted to mean the making of career choices for young adults by their parents on the basis of economic fears.

Stella M
04-19-2012, 11:07 PM
Oh, and when I say 'you' it means a general you, not anyone specifically :)

farrarwilliams
04-19-2012, 11:34 PM
Oh, and when I say 'you' it means a general you, not anyone specifically :)

It's plural. English majors would know that. :D Except Southern ones, who learn to conjugate with y'all, naturally.

Accidental Homeschooler
04-19-2012, 11:47 PM
I know you weren't Stella:). I think that making choices for your children based on your own economic fears is a mistake, in a totally pragmatic sense. It is almost bound to fail, that was the point I tried to make earlier in this thread. Whether it is right or wrong in principle,it is wrong in practice. I think parents get in a panic when they look at the world today and how much more challenging it is in terms of opportunity. I also think maybe a lot of parents don't really trust their kids to figure it out, and maybe some of them have good reason. I feel pretty confident with my dd that she will be fine and I don't need to steer her, though she is also not all that steerable.

Stella M
04-20-2012, 12:01 AM
Yes, I guess when you have children you feel will make reasonable decisions for themselves, in the long run, if not in the short-term, it's easier to stand by.

Crabby Lioness
04-20-2012, 04:28 PM
On the subject we've gotten derailed on:

Speaking as a professional artisan and Guild member, I don't know a single person who's entirely making a living off fine art. The New York Times couldn't find a single professional fine artist in all of New York City making a living entirely off fine art. All of them had back-up plans. Which brings me back to my point. The solid, basic general college degrees are always going to be in demand somewhere: science, liberal arts, business, medicine, law, engineering, education. The gimmicky, gadget-specific degrees are fads that don't last, and don't leave you with any backup training to rely on.

HOWEVER, that's not what the article was about.

dbmamaz
04-20-2012, 04:51 PM
Give me an example of a 'gimmicky, gadget-specific degree'

farrarwilliams
04-20-2012, 05:10 PM
I don't think it's common at big state schools or prestigious universities, but for profit universities have degrees in things like special effects, video game design, etc. as well as things that are basically just training for specific software. Each of those, to me, seem ill-advised. A degree in something "cool" probably won't get you into the industry and a degree or certification in a specific software might, but if the technology shifts, you're likely to be out of luck without any other skills.

Crabby Lioness
04-20-2012, 05:50 PM
I don't think it's common at big state schools or prestigious universities, but for profit universities have degrees in things like special effects, video game design, etc. as well as things that are basically just training for specific software. Each of those, to me, seem ill-advised. A degree in something "cool" probably won't get you into the industry and a degree or certification in a specific software might, but if the technology shifts, you're likely to be out of luck without any other skills.

Don't forget graphic design. IDK a single person with a graphic design degree who is working in that field and even making minimum wage. It's all piece-work for pennies.

farrarwilliams
04-20-2012, 06:07 PM
Hm... I do know people in graphic design that are working in their field for a living wage. And I do know (not any of my close friends, but people I've met) artists who live off their craft - though by doing work involving commissions and the like. But I agree that "graphic design" is a tough field to be sure.

Accidental Homeschooler
04-20-2012, 10:36 PM
On the subject we've gotten derailed on

Sorry Crabby Lioness, but it was still and interesting discussion, inspired by the article.

kailuamom67
04-20-2012, 10:54 PM
Don't forget graphic design. IDK a single person with a graphic design degree who is working in that field and even making minimum wage. It's all piece-work for pennies.

I have a graphic designer on my staff. She went to art school, and makes a full time professional living doing graphic design. Now, did she go to school thinking she would be doing my insurance brochures and web page design (not the same as the web designer who needs to program it and make it work).

Crabby Lioness
04-21-2012, 01:42 PM
I have a graphic designer on my staff. She went to art school, and makes a full time professional living doing graphic design. Now, did she go to school thinking she would be doing my insurance brochures and web page design (not the same as the web designer who needs to program it and make it work).

Aside from the people with web designing degrees I know personally who aren't making minimum wage, my most vivid memory of a web designer is the one who was making so little money at it he didn't have the resources to leave New Orleans -- when Katrina was coming.

kewb22
04-22-2012, 02:55 PM
Personally, I am guiding my children towards a liberal arts education in college. Unless you are one of those people who just know what it is you want to be (e.g. a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher) then I believe in the a liberal arts education. My kids know to follow their bliss but we also discuss things such as "will you be able to support a family on that." No matter how much we love to learn in the end there is a boss or a client out there who will expect my children to produce something and I am trying to prepare them to do so.

Avalon
04-25-2012, 08:23 PM
It's plural. English majors would know that. :D Except Southern ones, who learn to conjugate with y'all, naturally.

OMG! That is so funny! I learned to conjugate in French, where tu/vous is much easier than the English you/you, in my opinion. I was recently trying to get my kids to memorize the pronouns, and had to resort to "y'all" to get them to grasp the plural "you." They were going around the house for days saying "ya'll", which we all found hysterically funny.

farrarwilliams
04-26-2012, 12:14 AM
OMG! That is so funny! I learned to conjugate in French, where tu/vous is much easier than the English you/you, in my opinion. I was recently trying to get my kids to memorize the pronouns, and had to resort to "y'all" to get them to grasp the plural "you." They were going around the house for days saying "ya'll", which we all found hysterically funny.
I actually spent an insane amount of time this week trying to teach my kids English's dead tu - thou/thee/thy - because Mushroom was struggling to remember it all his his Shakespeare lines. It did not take.

dbmamaz
04-26-2012, 12:39 AM
The thee/thou thing came up in our history - i tried to explain it to Raven but he looked like it was just in one ear and out the other, and I figure it can wait