Nattering Nabob of Negativism

 

 

 

 

Perhaps of most import was the depiction in this article of The Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll tracking the percentage of Americans who believe the country is on the right or wrong track. Those believing this country is on the right track have collectively dropped into the low 30th percentile range while those asserting that we are on the wrong track have moved above 50 percent of our population.

 

 

As I reflect on what that "nattering nabob of negativism" The Wall Street Journal has to say about this administration, I realize that Mr. Guerin may have had his tongue inserted firmly in his cheek when he purported to praise this president and his administration.

 

 

UT Grads' High Probability

Ellen Mallernee wrote a fine article on the job market quarterlife crisis for new college grads in the May 5 Metro Pulse . The "Reality Bites" picture presented reflects life after graduation for many graduates, including those from UT. However, there is another story to be told about many students who succeed in finding great career opportunities to pursue even before they graduate.

Over 400 organizations recruit graduating students at UT. These represent corporations, government agencies, non-profits and many school systems. In addition, many others report job vacancies to UT for students to consider. Others search through UT Career Services' Web Resume Book for potential candidates. All in all, hundreds of grads have already lined up professional and managerial starts to their careers by the time they graduate.

The jobs do not go only to Business and Engineering grads as implied by those interviewed in Ms. Mallernee's article. Many Liberal Arts and Communications majors also find good employment with organizations that hire them for their energy, intelligence, communication skills, leadership and teamwork skills, and work ethic. Salaries are good, and opportunities are great.

Students from UT join organizations like Procter and Gamble, Unilever, SunTrust Bank, Ernst & Young, Target, Dell and Oak Ridge National Labs. They join government agencies like TVA, the IRS, Americorps, Teach For America, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and more. School systems from all over the Southeast recruit our education grads. One Sociology major is even joining the Peace Corps in Mongolia.

A person who says that he or she is too busy to look for a job during the senior year is pretty sure to graduate without a job and to miss the best opportunities available to him or her. Those who manage their time and work at seeking and meeting employers, networking, and applying for positions appropriate for entry level fresh college grads have a high probability of finding one.

 

 

Dress to Kill

Ellen Mallernee's [May 5] story on the dilemma facing today's college graduates brought to mind a few things.

According to CollegeGrad.com, a website of Krueger's creation, college graduates make an average of $47,000 a year, while high school graduates make $28,808 a year. These cheery numbers reminded me of VH1's pretentious and obfuscatory "Save the Music" fund, wherein the network continually points to the stats indicating that kids who take music classes in school do better than the rest. Then they show Mariah Carey singing naked and ask for money, so Betsy can keep practicing the flute.

What VH1 fails to address is that kids who take music classes to begin with most likely come from homes which encourage them to achieve. So, too, is it more probable that a young man or woman, going about with the (dubiously based) sense of entitlement conferred by a degree, is a young man or woman who expects more, dresses better, and—as these two factors tend to be the mainsprings for CEOs in our fair nation—thusly gets more. The degree, like the music classes, is relatively incidental to the success.

Then I recalled my own youth. I didn't go to college: because I did not want to face years of debt; because I saw the end of an enforced curriculum as the onset of the opportunity to read and study whatever pleased me; and because, way back then, it seemed to me that a college degree was becoming about as impressive and valuable an asset to the wage-earning world as a Boy Scout merit badge in knots. I was right.

Lastly, I call to mind the approximate seven million college kids whom I've hired and/or worked with over the years. By and large, they know a little about their chosen fields, and even this minimal education comes at the cost of an immense ignorance, a cost accrued during those years wherein the faculties to truly learn are at their best. Is Marketing Research the hot field? Then Betsy lays down her flute and gives her all to Marketing Research, for four pivotal years. Then Marketing Research peaks two days before Betsy's graduation, and she can't even make a living as a flutist (flautist?).

All in all, I am astonished by the Eisenhower-like mentality still veneering the college education. Talk to the HR people hiring in almost every field. I have. They're not terribly interested in who went to what school. They're trained differently these days. They're looking for perspicacity, character, drive, and obedience with a hint of rebel genius in it. They're doing this because choosing the kids with the degrees because of the degrees has proved unrewarding.

Oh, they're looking for well-dressed and confident, too. As always.

 

 

Grossly Unfair and Ridiculous

It was with mild amusement that I read Ellen Mallernee's May 5 article "Now What?" about the fate of college graduates on the very day that I graduated from the University of Tennessee.

I fail to understand (perhaps all that useless knowledge has taken over my brain) Ms. Mallernee's point: What purports itself to be an analytical piece concerning the trials and tribulations of recent graduates comes across more like a joyride through virtually every stereotype produced by higher education. Ms. Mallernee's depiction of college students as Ramen noodle eating, sexual blundering asses who reach for the Prozac (or their parents' house keys) at the slightest hint of responsibility is grossly unfair.

The "this is what they didn't tell you" tone of the article is also ridiculous considering Ms. Mallernee didn't reveal anything that the majority of college students didn't already know.

Thanks to Ms. Mallernee's article, I will most assuredly feel left out if this summer I fail to have "monthly panic attacks" or decline to work in food service.

Unfortunately, I'll be back on the road again in August, assuming crippling debt for no apparent reason as I pursue a Ph.D. I will, however, be taking my Sal Mineo library and "Shot Tac Toe" with me to ease away the  overwhelming stress of entering the "real world."

I almost forgot to ask: Is Metro Pulse hiring?

 

 

I-I-I?

I would like to welcome Mr. John A. Guerin back to Earth. I do not know what planet he has been on, but it is obviously far, far away.  That is the only rational explanation for his assertion that "this president has done a pretty fair job so far,  and that if you want to bitch about him, not too many people would listen to you."

Mr. Guerin's timing was exquisite, with his letter appearing in your paper on April 28. The following day, the local daily paper had an article about Bush's waning popularity. On that same day, The Wall Street Journal carried a much more detailed article entitled  "Eroding Political Capital." That article noted that according to The Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll, the president's approval rating has dropped below 50 percent. Of course, Bush had an approval rating of 80 percent in the rally 'round the flag days following Sept. 11, 2001.

Perhaps of most import was the depiction in this article of The Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll tracking the percentage of Americans who believe the country is on the right or wrong track. Those believing this country is on the right track have collectively dropped into the low 30th percentile range while those asserting that we are on the wrong track have moved above 50 percent of our population. 

I think it is a tribute to the good faith of the American citizenry as a whole that so many people were willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt, perhaps more on point, to accept at face value the Karl Rowe inspired dogma that this president was all about values, and that it was essentially unpatriotic and a renouncement of religious principles to support any candidate other than Bush. Of course, those of us with a more cynical bent feared the reelection of a man who had presided over a disastrous war, the wasting of our economic and moral leadership in the world, national bankruptcy and systematic lying and deceit. 

As I reflect on what that "nattering nabob of negativism" The Wall Street Journal has to say about this administration, I realize that Mr. Guerin may have had his tongue inserted firmly in his cheek when he purported to praise this president and his administration.  Perhaps he is a disguised idiolecting iconoclast of irony. 

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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