Sunday, November 18, 2012

Peter Shiff- What Did You Major In?

Peter Shiff walked around New Orleans nightlife asking people if they went to college, what they majored in, how much student loan debt they have, and of course, what they do for a living.


This has been interesting to me since I read Aaron Cleary's "Worthless" and started following his blog.

The majority of people polled were "liberal arts" graduates (not the classical liberal arts, but stuff like religious studies, business administration, and funeral services). I was surprised to see a few engineering graduates in there, but they had a small sample size and I think they are easily explained. I doubt New Orleans is any kind of engineering capitol. It is entirely possible to have a valid college degree and still be unemployed because you live in the wrong place.

When I was laid off in 2010, I wasn't finding decent work in New Jersey, so I became a geographic bachelor and work in Virginia, where there are plentiful jobs. I've been down here 2 years, and I changed jobs once. Even though the hiring manager chose me, the slackers in HR took months to get me onboarded. I started making a list of every place in the country I knew somebody I could stay with for a few months and was about to begin looking for work in those areas when HR FINALLY came through. Aaron Cleary relentlessly bashes HR, and I do not disagree with him. In every job I've had, HR (or personnel as it used to be called) has been a black hole of inefficiency.

Anyway, if you don't want to be unemployed, you need to be where the jobs are. If there are no adequate jobs in your area, MOVE. Or get a bartending job. It's your life. But if you're looking at getting a modern "liberal arts" degree, ask yourself if it's worth having between $20k-100k of student loan debt to drive a bicycle taxi.
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