Gee, you’d never know that anything other than a trendy tech or think tank job were available to the youth of America when reading pieces like this one from Bloomberg: “Economists Offer These 10 Career Tips for Today’s Graduates.” Among such questionable advice as “go to graduate school” (expensive) and “pack up and move” (disruptive) you see the implicit message that only self-actualizing jobs are the ones worth having. And for a press supposedly hostile to capitalism — in line with the media’s generally lefty tenor — you’d never know that state jobs or highly regulated occupations, wherein workers are largely shielded from “independent contractor” status and automation, were even on offer in 2015.
Kids these days may not react with disdain to the word “socialist” — quite the opposite in fact — but they all desire jobs in the most cutthroat corners of the private sector. Or at least that’s the impression you get from this:
As internships proliferate as a low-risk way for employers to test-drive candidates, fewer of the traditional, more secure “entry-level” jobs are available.
If you can scrape together the cash, or are willing to rack up the debt, another degree might prove to be one of the best investments you can make. Workers with advanced degrees tend to get paid a lot more than those with only a college education.
Readers would never know from the likes of this Bloomberg piece that they need not move away, incur lots of debt, or learn how to program a computer to have a decent livelihood. Old fashioned jobs like nurse, dentist, or police officer are there for the taking. Anywhere for the taking.
And they tend to pay pretty well. In Oakland, where I live, starting pay for a cop is advertised at $69,000. But then if you didn’t get the implicit memo to the world — penned by libertarians and progressives alike — that nothing is worse than being a cop right now, then you can’t be helped.
To be fair, “nurse” is mentioned in the piece, but only in passing. You get the distinct impression that what really, truly counts are the jobs with some measure of prestige, deserved or not, as pounded into young heads by pop culture. Not the pop culture, mind you, of the NCIS and Pawn Stars variety — that’s for your dad — but of the Silicon Valley and Veep variety. Interesting, isn’t it, the way the Culture Industry molds economic aspirations. And in the age of expressive individualism and a fascination with everything “nerd,” data hounds and app developers reign supreme.
“The youngest generation of workers has shown marked preferences toward extrinsic work values, such as prestige, changing tasks, social and cognitive aspects of work, and flexibility,” explained a 2010 report from the RAND Corporation, which examined the declining interest in police work, specifically. Careers in the armed forces were also scrutinized for compatibility with millennials’ hopes and dreams. “The same cultural shift has driven military propensity downward since the early 1980s,” stated RAND, “and is compounded in younger generations as realities of military structure conflict with differing youth attitudes about the nature of work.”
No wonder our elites are acting as if everyone wants a job making minor changes to a Facebook page. They just might.