Careerism: Why The Job Market Is Killing This Generation's Dreams Before We Even Graduate

As you are flipping through your economics textbook at 9:30 am on a Tuesday, looking around at all the other zombie-like and possibly hungover students, do you ever wonder how many of them actually want to be there?

Sure, kids go to college to pursue a higher level of education, which is necessary to be successful in today’s world. However, that may not even be enough to satisfy employers these days.

The job market is rigorously competitive and it is becoming more and more difficult for recent graduates to find jobs in the fields they have either majored in or share a passionate interest about.

In fact, the Economic Policy Institute performed a study on the subject in May, and stated:

In today’s labor market, there are nearly 1 million 'missing' young workers: potential workers who are neither employed nor actively seeking work (and are thus not counted in the unemployment rate) because job opportunities remain so scarce. If these missing workers were in the labor market looking for work, the unemployment rate of workers under age 25 would be 18.1 percent instead of 14.5 percent.

With statistics like this, it is hard for young people to have the confidence and motivation they need while entering the job market. Many young people are still feeling the effects of the financial meltdown in 2007 that spiraled our economy into a deep recession.

The study from EPI further explains:

For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 8.5 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 16.8 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007).

After the financial crisis, many businesses needed to consolidate their companies in order to survive. Furthermore, recessions don’t correct themselves overnight.

It takes months, and in most cases, years, for economies to rebound from recessions that wreak havoc in credit markets, job markets and both private and public sector company performances.

While these percentages help to show that job market is still a dreary place for young people, it only shows half of the story.

Diving deeper into the numbers, an article from the Huffington Post reveals the top 10 majors that currently hold the highest unemployment rates among recent graduates.

Among these majors are film and photographic arts (12.9 percent), fine arts (12.6 percent) and liberal arts (9.2 percent).

Looking past the bombardment of statistics, students often feel like choosing a major means we have control over what we will be doing in life, while in reality, we don’t.

We are going to choose majors that give us a better chance at landing a job after college, especially since colleges have shown no mercy in recent years with skyrocketing tuition.

There is a substantial risk for students to choose a major such as philosophy or graphic design because our economy has made it clear that there is not a strong demand for these graduates and their skills.

The broader problem that is a result of this careerism epidemic is that we are entering jobs and professions that we may only be doing for the financial stability, rather than for passion and interest in the field.

We are always told to do what we love and love what we do, but how realistic is that dream anymore? By surrendering to a job we have no desire, passion or feelings for, we are allowing ourselves to give up.

It eliminates purpose and drive in a person, and before you know it, people will wonder why they are even getting up in the morning. Yes, money is a motivator and keeps our market economy flowing like a well-oiled machine, but to the individual 9-to-5 worker, it may not be enough to achieve happiness.

There needs to be a change in our society concerning the choice of majors for college students today. It is evident that our economy is deterring students from choosing what they want, or at the very least from exploring an industry they may have interest in.

Instead, they are motivated not by passion, but by job security. College is meant for external and internal exploration, as well as learning. By preventing exploration and allowing students to succumb to comfort and security, it is preventing growth and maturity.

It is up to the future of employers, the job market and even the economy as a whole to promote the survey of educational disciplines to students.

With the support from future employers and society as a whole, students will begin to believe that they are able to pursue what they like and what they want to do, rather than what they think they need to do in order to survive.

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