Only three months ago Dixie Patton graduated on the fast track to success. Today she is struggling to pay bills while working two jobs as a waitress.
“I worry that my life-my future-is on hold,” she says.
Patton acquired a job before receiving an associate accounting degree from Blinn in June. The future had appeared bright but then the lay-offs came and unemployment began to rise.
“They gave me the notice six weeks before I was laid-off so that I could train the other girls to do my job,” she recalls.
Patton remained hopeful that she would find another job, but nobody was hiring. As a last resort, she took a job at Sonic Drive-in for temporary employment.
Then her fiance was laid-off. However, even though Patton took on a second job, their bills still exceed their income.
She is not alone.
The unemployment rates continue to rise and college graduates are finding themselves overeducated for the jobs they take, or are returning to college to pursue a different degree.
Al Rampmeier, CEO of Express Personnel, leads one of the largest staffing services in the United States. He has made a career through finding people employment, but the job is becoming more difficult as the country’s economy continues to landslide.
“There are a tremendous number of people looking for jobs but there are no jobs. Their all overseas.”
As the applications continue to pile up on Rampmeier’s desk, small businesses that once could have provided solutions are now closing their doors.
“All we see are retails and restaurants but what graduate wants to work there?”
Job security satisfaction among U.S. employees has fallen and consumers are not confident that jobs will be created with the government’s stimulus plan according to recent internet polls by Express Personnel.
“What we are seeing now is worse than what we had in the 70s after Vietnam,” Rampmeier stated.
“We are experiencing something this country has never had to deal with before.”
The jobs created by the stimulus plan are in construction, environment, health care, and education. Accounting, marketing, communication, and many other fields show no sign of improvement.
Meanwhile, Patton continues to search.
“Finding a job depends on your major,” Patton explained, “and I don’t know if mine is strong enough.”
Fear of unemployment has spread across campuses. The average student will make four career changes in their lives, but many students have changed majors to find a job they consider recession-proof. The top three majors today are psychology, biology, and education according to the Princeton Review.
Students are attempting to safe-guard their future but will it help?
Rampeier receives over 3,000 applicants a year just at his location and is forced to offer many entry-level jobs that they are overqualified for. In some instances the applicant’s education surpasses their employers.
“It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” Patton stated.Rampeier offers this advice to struggling graduates:
Go back to school and get a second degree. If you can’t find a job in your field, get a masters. It is not what the recent graduates want to hear but it may be a requirement in the new economy.
Keep putting in applications. Network and be willing to relocate. Consider the future of your degree.
Remember that the companies of tomorrow need the insight of today’s graduates. These are difficult times but not impossible.
Don’t give up.