[When a top-college graduate can't even get a job as a receptionist, there's a problem.]
*sigh* I have to say something because I'm tired of this. To everyone who keeps dismissing, or even patronizing, the young Occupy Wall Street protesters by saying they need to simply get off their entitled asses and find emloyment, or that maybe they wouldn't have such insurmountable student-loan debt if they were out there actually working, or that they're just too lazy/stupid/incapable to get a job:
I don't think you really understand just how bad it is.
I graduated college in 2006, right as the economy was starting to show cracks in its foundation. Not just any college, but arguably the best public university in the world. I had been working since I was fourteen (the earliest you legally can in the US) to support myself through school. I'd demonstrated stand-out leadership skills in the many and varied extracurricular and volunteer positions I'd stepped into over the years. To top it off, at the end of it all, I'd pulled off a very high GPA in one of the most difficult majors, at one of the most challenging higher-education institutes on the planet, competing against some of the brightest students on the globe. Suffice to say, all of this was enough to later get me into one of the top medical schools in the country.
Yet after graduating UC Berkeley, it took me six months to get employment, and even then it was temp-work. I wasn't sitting on my ass twiddling my thumbs. I wasn't expecting anyone to just hand something to me now that I had a degree on my wall. I spent nearly every day sending out job applications, making follow-up calls, signing up with staffing/temp agencies, and tapping every resource that I had. Thank god I had family close by that I was able to move in with, because I would have been out on the streets otherwise, or at best, couch-surfing the homes of generous friends.
Except that none of my friends could find work either. Even those that I'd gone to school with who, like me, were more than qualified. More than eager. More than willing to take a pay-cut just to get something.
Yet I couldn't even get a job as a receptionist. And trust me, I tried. Many, many times. I even applied to be a matchmaker. It got pretty desperate.
And when I quit my job a year later in the summer of 2007 to take a month off to study for the MCAT, and the economy unexpectedly completely crashed, I was once again at a loss. It took me another five months to find employment. I got down to my last $30. I was cleaning friends' houses, organizing their record collections, working random late-night bar gigs, trying to scramble together enough money just to eat.
I am not financially irresponsible. I am not incapable. I am not stupid. I am not lazy. I am not unqualified. I am the 99%.