PERSPECTIVE: In tough economy, graduates may need to settle for less — for now

By Alex Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Well seniors, it looks bleak. The job market we will be entering in a matter of weeks shows no signs of improving, as unemployment sits at 8.4 percent nationally and 9.5 percent here in Jackson. If those numbers seem daunting, consider this statistic from a recent AP story: In 2011, 53.6 percent of bachelor’s degree holders younger than 25 were jobless or underemployed.

Unfortunately, it seems we picked the wrong time to enter the workforce. For many of us, the prospect of graduation also comes with the shackles of student loans that will soon have to be paid back. With these colliding realities approaching, the desperation is almost tangible.

For many in the class of 2012, receiving our caps and gowns was a reality check, a reminder that our time here is almost over. The four years that seemed like an eternity in 2008 have flown by at breakneck speed, and almost without warning, we will have to get used to life outside of the familiar semester cycle.

While few are complaining about the end of exams and research papers, the career we thought was sure to await us after graduation has grown less idealistic. Our dream jobs may seem like just that — a dream.

With the odds so heavily stacked against us, how do we get our careers off and running?

Well, if you thought I had the answers, you probably lack the judgment to benefit the workforce in the first place. But according to wetfeet.com — a blog that provides advice for job-seekers — the best plan may be to back up lofty career expectations with employment that will pay the bills.

In this economy, an extended career search should be accompanied by a job that will help sustain one financially, at least for the time being.

Continuing to work, even at a job for which one is overqualified and undercompensated, will help job-seekers remain competitive candidates and give them flexibility as they pursue more permanent careers.

With dreams put on hold and less-than-ideal employment a real possibility, it is important to maintain one key attribute: a sense of humor.

I may not be able to speak to the best job-hunting approach or the quickest route to a fulfilling career, but after spending much of last summer riding the garbage truck, I definitely will not turn my nose up at whatever lies ahead.

About Cardinal & Cream 1002 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.