Thursday, May 21, 2009

Congratulations Graduates! Words of Advice from an Economist.

The semester got to me and I lost momentum on blogging, but I’m back. It is summer time and I’m off to see Towson College of Business 2009 Graduates walk the stage along with me in my University of Maryland Librarian Science attire (thanks Jennie for lending me the robe until I can find a used one ).

I’ve been meaning to write this post about my advice to people who are still looking (or just starting to look for jobs). With the recession you are going to find lower paying jobs, when you find them. This Wall Street Journal article discusses how even ten years later, people who graduated during the recession had lower wages.

The secret to beat this problem is to take a job in the field you hope to wind up in. By doing this you lower your future wage gap. So taking a lower paying job in the field you want to work in you get both the benefit of continuing to pursue what you want and possibly a longer higher term payoff. This not to say finding a job in this economy is going to be easy, I know several smart well qualified people still looking after a few close calls to getting a job. As Robert Reich said at my graduation at Grinnell College in 2002:

"Gaining self-knowledge often comes from failing—crashing headlong into the wall of your character. And please have no doubts about it: You will fail, in some way, at some time. In fact, you will keep crashing into that character wall again and again until you finally realize its there, and that you have either got to knock it down or figure out how to get over it."

Welcome to the real world graduates!

(Actually, let me know what it is like in case I ever quit academia)

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