Would Charlie Sheen Consider GRADS WINNING!? NOT!

Written by on March 9th, 2011

Class of 2008, 2008, 2009, 20010 and 2011 gets screwed! Charlie will not speak at commencement!

Charlie Sheen’s now very public lifestyle and philosophy is making a lot of people think about their lives. Its obvious Charlie has a very positive attitude about him and has put himself in a category above most mortal men. Charlie is now a self-professed WINNER!

If he were living back in the days of the Greeks, I’m certain he would have convinced them that he was, if not Zeus, at least the son of Zeus!

At any rate, this got me thinking about how college graduates feel about themselves.

Do the members of the Class of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 feel like they are WINNING?

I still remember the pride I felt about graduating 30 plus years ago. I was a first generation college graduate, had no debt, paid my way through college by working night and odd jobs, started a photography business that I continued to run after graduation and had a couple of professors that I admire to this day. It was a fulfilling and life changing opportunity for me. For me and many in my generation life was good, and the opportunities were many!

But what does a student who is about to graduate feel today? If I were a graduating today, I’m sure my mood and expectations would be affected by the fact that:

  • 80% of the last two graduating classes didn’t have jobs by graduation day
  • Eighty percent moved home after graduation
  • The average grad had over $20,000 in student loans and nearly $5,000 on their credit cards to pay off.
  • 17 million grads (the equivalent of 5 graduation classes) do jobs that only require a high school diploma or less!

So I can hear Charlie ask, “Who is WINNING here? “

Duh, it’s not the graduates!

This generation of graduates will be paying more per month on student loans than many couples paid for rent 30 years ago. They will be buying less after graduation because they will be struggling to pay down their credit card bills and according to research 60% of them will be working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

And it’s worse if they marry. Two graduates with the average student loan and credit card debt, enter a marriage “for better or worse, richer or poorer” with $50,000 in debt!

But wait, it gets worse!

Most colleges have done an excellent job giving the graduate the curriculum to satisfy the requirements of their degree. But what have they done to help them prepare for their career?

Does the typical graduate:

  • Have a good handle on which industries they should be looking to for a job?
  • Know what type of position would best suit their skills and knowledge?
  • Know how to search for a job, how to interview, follow up on a job or even build a career network?

My guess is a lot of graduates will be receiving their diplomas in the next two months filled with angst, anxiety and asking the question, “Now What?”

I have a personal stake in this. My son Ben graduates from Miami University with a degree in businessand marketing. Ben’s done all the right things to get a job. He got involved and became President of the Miami Association of Film Makers, became the photo editor of The Miami Q, did a semester abroad to gain international experience and exposure and will graduate with A’s and B’s in all subjects. But even with those credentials, will Ben walk out of school WINNING or struggling!

What can you do?

We need to do more for this generation.

For a variety of reasons, our generation has implemented numerous policies and rules that are putting them at a disadvantage the day they receive their diploma. They are facing issues that the leaders and administrators of colleges, business, government and other organizations did not face when they graduated from college.

So what can you do to help this generation?

In what way can you help give them hope, provide them an anchor or help them get from under the hurdles they now face, before they even start their career?

There has to be something! Standing by is not acceptable. Our generation has been given a lot. We’ve given to this generation a lot to overcome.

One way we’ve found we can help is by providing 9 Webinars that feature career experts. Our Fall Webinar series had 400 Career Centers sign up.  We are also assembling a GRAD Career Toolkit that will provide graduates, advice from career experts, tools to organize their job search and assessment tests.

Your organization can help by hiring a grad, providing internships or on a personal level, mentor a student.

Share with us other ways we can help this generation of graduates!