Monday, August 17, 2009

Whose job is it to get a job?

New Yorker Trina Thompson is suing Monroe College for a tuition refund because she can't find a job. She accuses the office of Career Advancement at the college for not doing enough to help her.

The zucchini is piling up in my kitchen, the mountain of laundry is growing, and my barren classroom is calling me to start preparing for school to start, but this headline stopped me in my tracks. Blaming the college? Really? Where did this philosophy come from?

I have a hard time taking Thompson's case seriously. She graduated in April. She's applying for jobs along with people with years of experience, people laid off from their previous positions. Our economy is bad. Bad, with a capital B-A-D. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and she doesn't seem to understand that it's not the college's responsibility to build her a lovely air conditioned doghouse.

According to Thompson, the counselors are supposed to call potential employers and recommend recent graduates. The career counselors, in her view, should be asking " Can you interview this person?" They're not doing that, and therefore she blames them for her unemployment.

Listen, recent grads, counselors are in their positions to counsel, to teach students how to conduct a job search. They're not there to call employers, make connections, network in the field, or work the room. In short, college career counselors don't do the work. The graduate does. More accurately, the graduates do their own career search.

I remember a career counselor telling us, "The job search will be your first job. Plan to spend 20 hours a week on it while you're finishing your last year of school. When you graduate, plan to spend 40. Searching for a job is going to become your full time job."

She wasn't kidding.

Years past my graduation, after working at different jobs that paid little but widened my experience, I went back to college to expand my teaching license and increased my options. Teaching jobs were hard to get, and I knew that. I put at least 20 hrs a week into the search at first, building in more hours as time went on. I made copies at Kinko's at night after my kids were in bed. I bought stamps so often that the post office staff knew me by name. I kept records and followed up on interviews. Upon finishing my student teaching internship (and earning a cumulative 3.8 GPA), I substitute taught for a year and a half before getting a job offer: a part time offer. Two half-days a week: a 20% contract. I took that contract, got laid off, called back, then used my foot in the door (foot? more like a big toe) to strategically maneuver my way into a full time position.

Thompson is suing for emotional distress after an unsuccessful search - four months long. She complains that with her 2.7 GPA (a C+ average), employers ought to be pounding on her door at the urging of her college career counselors, begging her to interview with them.

Really? Give me a break. With a sense of entitlement like hers, I pity the eventual employer who puts her on staff. If they're looking for accountability and personal responsibility, they won't find it in Trina Thompson.

As for personal responsibility, don't even get me started on the kid who set himself on fire after watching YouTube....guess who his mother blames?


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Blogger Shari said...

I teach at a local university and the sense of entitlement is stunning. These students feel the world owes them something. They get this way because their parents raise them to believe this. It's sad, but there's an entire generation in line for a rude awakening when they realize the world doesn't owe them anything.

8/17/2009 11:42 AM  
Blogger Florinda said...

Granted, I was a bit disillusioned that my university's Job Placement Office didn't actually "place" you in a job - but then I got on with the job search myself. When my son graduated two years ago, he knew quite well he was going to have to do his own leg work to find a job (which he did, within three months, and he's still there).

I found the news story about this, and apparently her mother agrees that the college was supposed to have done more for this grad. Sheesh. Sometimes I just don't GET people.

8/17/2009 3:02 PM  
Blogger Coach J said...

When I first read that story last week, I think I actually laughed out loud. My story is similar to yours: 3.8 GPA, fabulous student teaching experience, and yet no job. But after a year of substitute teaching and a year of living off a half-time contract, I too "got my foot in the door." Did this girl actually expect to have jobs falling in her lap? What a joke. It is not a college counselor's job to find students work. Ms. Thompson needs to get a clue, get a work ethic, or get out of the way!

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

8/17/2009 5:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa Sharp said...

Wow! You can sue for anything now!

8/17/2009 7:05 PM  
Blogger Over Coffee - the green edition said...

I don't even know what to say about this! Unbelievable! Welcome to the real world honey.....

8/18/2009 1:52 PM  
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8/23/2009 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi friends,
Nowadays job search is easy one.

9/19/2009 6:59 AM  

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