I just finished listening to a documentary on CBC called “The Double Grind” (unfortunately I believe you can only stream it in Canada but I am sure there are other ways to listen to it). I hope you are able to give it a listen since it is really fascinating, extremely depressing, but fascinating. The podcast interviews various baristas at Second Cup, all of whom have are university graduates.
One of the biggest challenges for the underemployed is getting out of debt. If you finish school with $40,000 in debt then work a minimum wage job how are you ever going to catch up let alone get ahead? I am extremely fortunate that my parents paid for my schooling so I don’t have any student loans. I don’t think I would be able to function if I did. I feel it would be this big dark cloud constantly overhead, overwhelming me with anxiety. Many of my friends are not so lucky and not only are having a hard time finding work but are starting off in the red.
A couple of the subjects who were interviewed were graduates of Queens University, which is basically Canada’s version of an Ivy League school. Even with a degree from a prestigious school they are in the same boat as everyone else. Why spend more money to go to a “fancy” school when in reality it doesn’t make a difference. One of the girls realized this and decided to transfer to a college so that she would be able to do a co-op program. Now a days it seems like colleges or trade schools may be the way to go. They are usually less money, less time and give you hands on experience. Seems like the most logical way to go. For some reason it was looked down on to graduate from a college instead of a university but in today’s job market it might be the only way to go if you aren’t independently wealthy.
University is a great experience to broaden your mind. You have the opportunity to take courses like philosophy, history, foreign languages etc. but if you want a job it may not be practical.
We are at a point where we need to decide if we want to gain knowledge in general or if we want an education that can actually help get a job. I wish it wasn’t a choice that has to be made but it seems like it is.
I think the best point of this program was about how we identify with how we pay the bills. In other words, what we do for a living defines who we are as a person. I am beginning to realize that this doesn’t have to be true anymore. We can’t all make money from our passions. The best we can do is get a job that allows us time to still do what we love. Try and find a job that is somewhat enjoyable and pays the bills but it doesn’t have to define you as a person. Like the one girl said, she works in a coffee shop but if someone asks she says she is an actress and a boxer. Her passions are what define her, not her pay check.

Here is the link to the podcast, hopefully you are able to take a listen!