Underemployment is no cause for concern

This headline should trouble students…. or should it?

Apparently, in the US, half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

First of all, it’s not clear to me that the situation is the same in Canada, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.  After all, Canadians, despite all the evidence, continue to act as if we were just the 51st State.

Some of you are in University because you want a Big Important Career.  And for that, you need a university education.  Fine.  But if that’s why you’re here, then let me suggest that you may find it difficult to get that career.  More and more people are going to University, on the assumption that they will have a nice white collar job as a result.  While there’s no doubt that going to University will improve the odds of establishing a white collar career, it is becoming harder and harder to do that.

But that’s not the only reason to get a good education.

A university education can make you a better person.  You’ll learn to think better, more rationally, more critically.  You’ll be able to appreciate the great works of science and art better.  You’ll likely be able to carry on more meaningful conversations.  You’re less likely to be violent later in life. (That’s what the statistics say.)  You’re more likely to be healthy for longer.  Getting a good education is absolutely the best possible “investment” that a young adult can make in their own future, regardless of the work you will end up doing.

There’s no dishonour in being “underemployed” unless you bring dishonour upon yourself by not doing a good job.  Don’t worry about what all the posh, spoiled, and entitled think.  They, in the long run, don’t matter.  Find something meaningful to do with your life – even if its an unglamorous trade – and do it well.  You will be happy.  And that’s priceless.

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