Financial Crisis: the View from the Campus

For a view from the college campus, Megan Berry posted  The Minds of College Seniors: Panic! on Brazen Careerist on Friday. An excerpt:

I recently met with my college advisor to discuss career options. I shared with him my desire to go into online marketing or business development in the Bay Area. He basically said I shouldn’t be choosy and should try to get any job available. His pessimism (hopefully not just realism) made me worry, and certainly I am not alone in this. Are these really the worst of times?

There were a couple dozen comments over the weekend. Some pretty good comments, such as:

I see a few factors which are converging to change the way we see work – the current generation of grads will lead us into this new paradigm, with this economic crisis being the catalyst:

(1) there is a growing dissatisfaction with the regular 9-to-7 cubicle warrior job – today we value our freedom and ability to build and create more than a steady paycheck and 401(k),
(2) the Web has put resources and infrastructure previously only available to larger businesses into the hands of individuals – we are now able to create, publish, sell and market our own books, music, clothing, etc. online, without investing a dime in infrastructure.
(3) entry level jobs are increasingly scarce for recent grads – it won’t always be like this, but I bet the next year or so is going to be tough.

I think the convergence of these 3 factors is going to inspire and drive (partly out of necessity) people to become more entrepreneurial and create jobs or businesses for themselves. I think the days of most people working regular jobs and rising to middle-management positions are over. As painful as this time is, I see a very exciting future ahead, for those who are bored of the way work currently happens.

And then this one, with some really good advice (emphasis mine)

But just because a handful of investment firms have gone under, doesn’t mean that another sector of the economy isn’t booming. You need to find your niche and start from there.

Some fairly depressing comments:

I hate to break it to you, but you might have to settle for a crappy job. When economic times are tough, and you have no experience, that’s just the way it is. It’s absolutely nothing personal, and it says nothing about you – it’s the environment you are in, and you have to find a way to adapt to it.

And a nice mix of upbeat too. Here’s one example…

Well, it does not feel like the financial turmoil has trickled down to the Bay Area yet. Hopefully it will not hit it too much. The Bay Area is more focused on startups and high tech, which is removed from the financial world and startups are still going strong. So here might be hope for you yet :-).

At the same time, Penelope Trunk wrote about how a recession will probably will not affect our job market as much as we think, due to the huge Baby Boomer population retiring out of the labor force and leaving us their spots (Brazen Careerist). This thought always makes me feel better.

And then there’s this note (accompanied by encouraging local employment statistics):

Maybe you should move to Minneapolis.

By the way, disclosure, Megan is my youngest daughter.


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