Round #2: The challenges
Sent: Feb 18, 2002 10:40 AM
Okay let's start with this (two-part) question: What are your main concerns about entering the work force? How different are your career choices than those your parents faced a generation ago?
Date: Feb 20, 2002 2:11 PM
I really don't have any worries about entering the work force. I think that if the jobs aren't there now, they will be soon with many people our parents' ages retiring.
I think that the most frustrating part of entering the work force is finding something that I like. I still don't really have any idea. The old boys' school mentality that some organizations have really scares me. I want to rise to the top, but there are a few people who still feel that women can't do the same job
as a man, and that really bothers me.
I think that when my parents found jobs it was easier, and they didn't need as much education. I will have a college diploma and two college certificates, yet because it isn't a university degree, many people won't even look twice. My parents were also scared that computers would lake away jobs, we all know now that computers offer jobs through e-commerce, new technology development etc. I also feel that the world is more open and diverse then ever before. Employers may have contracts from around the world, and employees from many cultures.
Date: Feb 25, 2002 2:32 AM
While I might be in my fourth year of university, I still have two more years to go (yuk!). As such, I see all of my friends graduating and leaving school and I'm extremely jealous - or so I think. I remember earlier in my schooling of how my friends and I wanted to get out as fast as possible, and start the rest of our lives working in a career that we would enjoy, making extremely good money right off the bat. As graduation day comes closer and closer, many of my friends are scared of leaving school. They aren't afraid of leaving tests behind, or the late hours studying at the library. Instead, they are scared of the new challenges that they face: paying off their $30,000 debt loads, being responsible, moving out of the house, etc. School is all that we've done for our lives (16 years straight...), and so this gigantic change is often met with apprehension.
My career choices in comparison to my parents are like apples and oranges -- not only were the expectations placed on them much lower, but the competition against other students was virtually non-existent. Both of my parents have post-baccalaureate degrees (my mom has an MD, and my father has his M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry), and their parents weren't supportive of this level of education. My mother's parents wanted her to graduate high school to become a bank teller! My fathers parents wanted him to stay on the family farm.
Now, these levels of education were above and beyond the societal average of education. Today, it is commonplace to see that a bachelor's degree to be insufficient in the competition for meaningful employment, and so I worry that while I have two bachelor's degrees, I might have to take it a level further and complete a master's in order to be successful in the workforce.
People do tell me that with the baby boom beginning to retire, there is going to be a massive shortage of educated workers in the workforce. However, I haven't seen this trend occur yet, and while this deficiency might be a problem in five to 10 years, show me the money today!
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 12:51AM
My biggest concern at the moment is that I won't know what workplace to enter into when I graduate from university in a year. I have general ideas (business administration, clinical psychology, and law) but no concrete decision as to what I want to do with the rest of my life. I realize that many people switch jobs a few times in their lifetime, which removes a little bit of pressure but like everyone else, I want to find a job that I love right away.
As to what I fear about entering into the workplace.... I worry that the career I choose will become a chore that must be done, albeit painfully every day. I've had such great experiences with the student jobs I've had on campus that I've come to expect that I will look forward to going to "work" in the morning. Other fears include not being successful, not being treated fairly and respectfully, and not being in control.
My parent's generation didn't face as much competition in the job market as exists today. They were basically guaranteed a good job if they had a high school diploma and a great one is they had a university degree. Today it is almost completely necessary to go onto post-secondary education if you want a job that doesn't involved flipping burgers for the rest of your life. The competition is so great that you also need to complete some sort of master's or professional program after your university degree to make yourself an attractive candidate in any job hunt. The competition and the challenges in today's market are greater than those in my parents' generation but there is much more variety in today's workplace.
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 6:04 PM
I should start out with this: I have a "can do" attitude and have been successful getting to where I am today. I can envision lots of problems that may arise but I can't wait to "bring it on baby."
I have a healthy outlook about finding a good job. I would agree with the concern Tara stated about a career becoming a chore, rather than a passion. I don't think anyone would want to trade one for the other.
My largest concern is the time period between entering the work force and being given the opportunity to lead. Too many people share the view that a bachelor's degree is insufficient to compete for meaningful employment. I completely agree that it is necessary for someone to continue into the post-secondary system, but a certificate, diploma, degree -- each carries students to meaningful employment.
Both my parents have changed career direction once, but I can't remember a time when they were unemployed. They have passed that value on to their kids and I guess that is the biggest fear for me: simply being UN-employed. My career choices are very different than my parents, I have more options. I think my choices have become more complex.
Many of my peers talk about competition being a big fear, or at least a large obstacle. I don't see competition as a negative and I don't believe I will be 'out credentialled' for the career I will have. You can teach performance but you can't teach personality.
Date: Feb. 26, 2002 10:35 AM
I have several concerns about entering the workforce. What occupies my attention is the value of a Bachelor of Arts degree. At the end of four years of toil, and a mountain of debt, will my degree serve me well?
We have all heard the horror stories of BA grads being the ones who are most commonly heard asking "would you like fries with that?" After a while, you begin to internalize that and see yourself in the same position in a few years time. Also, people who haven't taken the BA often ask me why I'm spending four years when I'll have nothing to show for it, so to speak.
Also, even if I am able to land a decent, well-paying job upon graduation, there remains the questions of how long that job will be available. Now more than ever, the job market is insecure and one cannot rely upon entering a job
at age 25, and retiring at age 65 with a good pension. Not that simple. Globalization has its advantages, but with it comes more uncertainty. Multinational corporations can relocate across national borders with relative ease, and thousands of jobs can be relocated almost instantly.
This was not the case for our parents. Back in their day, it was possible to find a well-paying job that had security. That security allowed individuals to start paying a mortgage, purchase an automobile, and start families. The possibility of this was much greater if an individual possessed a degree. However, our parents had fewer career options. With the advent of technology, an entirely new economy has emerged, and thus a variety of job options. It is more likely that we can find a career more specific to our interests, and in that case, we have an advantage over our parents.
In summation, my greatest fear is the lack of certainty that up-and-coming graduates face. It leads one to wonder if the degree was worth obtaining. Having said that, I cannot dispute the benefits of life-long learning. It is still worthwhile to pursue an education, even setting aside the economic benefits.
Date: March 1, 2002 8:37 PM
Hi guys! I would have to completely agree with Wes in that the job market today is insecure. One hears horror stories of people who have worked their way up through the ranks for years only to get laid off just years before retirement.
So why is this happening?
My feeling is that the biggest reason for this insecurity is the large amount of competition that exists today. There are now so many qualified candidates applying for positions that companies no longer fear letting someone go because it is always easy to find a replacement.
Also, companies themselves no longer exist in a stable environment. We saw the rise and fall of the high-tech industry as a demonstration of this. Companies succeeded for a time, hired a large number of staff, the market fell and then the companies went bankrupt. We are also seeing a trend in middle management positions being eliminated.
So how does this affect me?
Now more then ever it is essential that one gets a good education. It is no longer sufficient to only have a bachelor's degree - one needs a master's or a professional degree to remain competitive. Which I guess means that I will be in school for a good portion of my life. I'm hoping that getting a good education will provide greater job security.
Round #1: Say hello
Round #2: The challenges
Round #3: Choosing a career
Round #4: Are you ready?
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