It feels like people around my age are falling through the cracks of society

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Auron225:
Australia? Seems everyone is getting jobs there these days. So long as you can survive every animal/plant trying to kill you, it seems like the answer.

There are still jobs around. They're damn hard to find but they still exist.

you come to autralia and take a single fucking job i am applying to and i will rip the fucking heart out of your chest!!

in all seriousness the job market in australia is brutal right now. back when i was 12 i could walk into any menial labour job and be practically guaranteed a job and somewhat decent pay - that is to say while it used to be slightly above minimum wage (12-14 an hour) that money went alot further than minimum wage does these days (17.70).

FFS when i was 17 i was earning more than my principle (28/h) and the only requirements when i applied were - can you press a button? you cool with staying up late? got all your arms and legs? K you're hired, there's a forklift over there if you wanna play with it. try not to kill yourself.
these days they want 5 years experience in insanely specific roles and a half dozen qualifications just to say you know how to survive for more than 5 minuets without maiming yourself and each job description has requirements like "must be able to weld, have trade experience preferably tiler/electrician/plumber. pays minimum wage" without realizing anyone with those sort of skills is either working for themselves earning 3x as much cash in hand or already employed by someone who would give their right nut to keep em there

capture: in the doldrums. fuck you capture
yes tough week looking for a job. and its monday

Fatboy_41:
Taking a trade is pretty much the single biggest piece of advice I give to anyone I know coming out of highschool. While there are time I can hate my job, like when I'm tits deeps in mud trying to bail out a trench so we can run cables through it, overall it is a really good job and incredibly stable. I always have to laugh at these people who finish school and then go to uni for another 5 or 6 years afterward. Suddenly they're 25 with no job experience other than waiting tables and they're trying to land a job towards the top of a business cause they think their degree entitles them to it. Meanwhile, I've finished my trade at 22 and have been pulling in 60,000 a year ever since. Then, with the mining boom going on here, a tradesman working out there on a 4 weeks on/1 week off roster can easily be on 150,000. Sure, it's hot, dusty, lonely and shitty work, but that's what you gotta do if you want the coin.

Essentially what I'm saying is that yes, people do still look at the tradesman and labourers as the working class. However, that working class is earning a hell of a lot more than most office workers. In Australia, trades people are the biggest spenders in the country.

You make a good point, I like the way you think, but in my country for example, the real workers, as in people with trades, get a shitty payout, no matter where they work. My mother for example is a tailor, she makes the most beautiful clothes you can imagine, and people come to her because she makes them cheaper than you get in the store, but she works her ass off every day, I on the other hand I'm one of those guys that went to uni, I did it because I got a free pass scolarship because of the good grades, if I had to pay for it I would have said "screw you!", I know have a bachelor's in engineering but the city I live in is dead! it's strictly commercial, no development.
In any case, nice post, I value people that actually know how to build stuff and are not afraid of doing the dirty work when need be.

Auron225:
Australia? Seems everyone is getting jobs there these days. So long as you can survive every animal/plant trying to kill you, it seems like the answer.

Of course, the tricky part is qualifying for a work visa... and by 'tricky' I mean 'next to impossible if you don't have recognised qualifications in a field that currently has a labour shortfall'...

Distilled to it's very essence the current policy on obtaining a Work Visa for Australia is "if you're not a tradie, engineer or doctor, you can fuck off."

Mycroft Holmes:

thaluikhain:

I think you're supposed to totally ignore the reality of the situation...that's why they call it "the dream".

Oh hey, whats up George Carlin? Didn't realize you had an account here, and aren't dead.

George's words on the American dream were- they call it the dream because you'd have to be asleep to believe it.

I've said it quite a few times before, young people today are quite screwed. My best advice to young people would be to avoid debt and keep employed, even if it is at Wal-Mart, and never stop looking for a better job.

That's basically what I did.

There are two people who do my job, I have an associates degree that I got from 18-28 by taking various courses at community college when I had the money... the other guy has a masters degree. It's not a great job, I grossed just a little over 37,000 last year. I should find out this week whether or not I move up as I am applying for another job in my company which pays around 21$ an hour.

At the interview, I explained how I did not have a bachelors because I had a hard time deciding on a 4 year program, and instead told them all about my experience in my personal life and past employment for my field. They said I seemed "jazzed" about doing this kind of work and were genuinely impressed with my knowledge and exuberance. Sometimes that's all it takes. I also set up a lunch meeting with a few of the department heads 3 months prior after getting really good compliments in the course of my regular work, while helping out of the guys who used to work in that department who was retired. People will open up doors for you if you work hard and have a little bit a of talent, regardless of whether or not you have a degree.

Maybe not everywhere, but at places that have a decent corporate culture this is true.

First thing to realize is that a job is not to be viewed only as a source of income - it also lets you create a social circle and make connections. And it brings more variety into your life than being unemployed and a nusiance to yourself (trust me, if you have too much time on your hands, that's how you'll feel).

Second thing to realize is that there are more than three kinds of jobs - white collar, heavy lifting and burger flipping. The variety out there is impressive, so looking outside your comfort zone for interesting stuff is another way to find a niche for yourself. As a physics student, I never thought I'd end up working in the media, but that's how it turned out, and I'm one of those lucky folks who actually enjoy their work even when it's stressful. Having a good team who has each other's backs and can adapt on the fly helps, of course.

Third, well...jobs don't grow on threes, we all know that. For every one who gets a job, there are likely at least dozens who don't, but that's a problem that can't be tackled overnight so don't think about it too much.

Cookie-cutter CV's likely aren't the right idea either, but an even worse mistake you can make is overdoing it to stand out. You future employer isn't going to hire you because you're such a hoopy frood but because you convinced them that you can provide what they need. Don't be overconfident at the interview, admit that you have faults, but try to do so in a positive way, such as, speaking of myself, "I'm too much of a perfectionist sometimes". It's a sales pitch, just like real estate agents won't call an apartment "small", but "cozy" when pitching it to you. I had a lot of trouble getting past that, because "selling myself" rings too similar to "prostitution" for my comfort, but, myeah.

And the first thing when you do get a job is to remind yourself to not go "Mission accomplished".

Yeah, the current generation got screwed over by the previous ones and collectivelly has to pay off the debts incurred by them, but you gotta work with what you've got, not with what you think you should have.

Sutter Cane:
As someone who is currently 20 and looking to finish up his college degree in the next couple of years, it feels like people around my agre are really ending up on the short end of society's stick. I mean based on what I'm hearing, it really feels like college degrees are barely worth the paper they're printed on nowadays, an that unless you are looking to go into certain very-specific fields, you're just going to end up back at Walmart indefinitely anyway. It really feels like the only choices right now are between "career that will make you miserable for your entire working life" or "not being able to support yourself." I mean when it feels like those are your only two choices, how am I supposed to stay motivated? How am I supposed to remain optimistic? What is a person like me even supposed to do?

Here is my personal motivation. You may use it:

"Life is hard, unfair and mostly misarable. Deal with it. Getting a job that is both well-paid and interesting is near impossible. So here is a choice for you: either stay loner for the rest of your life and work wherever you want and earn enough to survive, or marry, start a family and be willing to work your ass of on the most boring of all the jibs just to make life of your loved ones enjoyable. If you care for them, of course.
But if you are lucky enough to get a job, that is enjoyable AND well-paid, then grab it by the balls and do not let go, untill your eyes are blind, your arms are limp and your brain is almost dead."
Something like that.

As for devaluation of diplomas: what did you expect? In the past, most people did not go to universities, so people with higher education were treated as rarities.
Now, everyone is getting it, so employers can fastidiously choose whatever person they like. Democracy, babe. Everyone gets a chance, but the more people get it, the smaller it is.

bananafishtoday:
Only other advice I can give you is don't get sad, get angry. The system is rotten, but there's still hope we can change it. Maybe not much hope, but I think it's there.

This was attempted, I believe the labels applied were "spoiled, entitled kids taking a tantrum" along with coincidental smaller employed groups of obviously pre-planned violence to take up the front page of the newpapers

For some reason the violence never goes near the residences of rich people, politicians, bankers and those who caused the problems...

Hero in a half shell:

Ryotknife:

[quote]Also if you do go for a college degree, for the LOVE OF GOD, get an internship or some practical experience. I wish I knew how important that was when i was in college.

I support this statement whole-heartedly. You need real world experience in your field. Any employer will view it with 5 times the importance of any degree or qualification. Even if it means volunteering over your summers DO IT.
It's also great for interviews as it gives you a chance to name-drop during the questions and will actually provide a lot of answers for the trickier questions.

This x1000. I'd also add that doing "Habitat for Humanities" or other volunteer/charity work with your fraternity or sorority while you're in college barely counts. Don't think you're safe just because of stuff like that. You need to get an INTERNSHIP, preferably more than one before you graduate. The summer of your Sophomore and Junior year you should really be thinking about this. Next is to get an actual JOB. Not a Walmart job or a Starbucks job. A job that teaches you skills you can put on your resume. I got my first job out of college based on the part-time IT job that I had while I was in college. My degree had little to nothing to do with it. Work experience is what it's all about.

alfinchkid:
people who have "fun/dream" degrees (liberal arts, philosophy, acting, etc; things that don't have a direct impact on improving society, as opposed to medicine, engineering, etc)

I really hope you are joking... I assume when you go home after a hard day's work you just sit in a dark cave doing nothing?

Nonono, people with those "fun/dream degrees" want to work in a multi-billion pound industry, for a section of society that doesn't have a direct impact on improving society, they sure have a tonne of multi-millionaires and influence on the way our world works, even just this website needed a "fun/dream degree" to design - I hope you reflect on your ignorance because what you typed out is an insult to those who aspire, make a tonne of money and make many more people happy (yes, this improves society) than a mechanic ever could!

Apart from that, I agree with everything else

Captcha: Bet on Cheltenham at Betfair

I'm not a banker

Vegosiux:
Don't be overconfident at the interview, admit that you have faults, but try to do so in a positive way, such as, speaking of myself, "I'm too much of a perfectionist sometimes". It's a sales pitch, just like real estate agents won't call an apartment "small", but "cozy" when pitching it to you. I had a lot of trouble getting past that, because "selling myself" rings too similar to "prostitution" for my comfort, but, myeah.

Face it man, you prostituted yourself with that bare-faced lie x3

Also, it is very bad advice to "admit you have faults" in the UK, employers demand PERFECTION GODDAMMIT!!! xD

It pisses me off a lot. I don't want to hear any shit about how I'm not applying for the right jobs, I'm applying for any job that I can do that isn't in an office cubicle. Why no office cubicles? Because those sorts of places are always so focused about getting to the top. Everyone'll stab each other in the back to get there, too. I can't work in that enviroment.

Everything else? I have to apply for something I know I can do. If you fuck up too badly, you get fired, you get fired in this economy, you don't get another fucking chance. Most things that ain't rocket science I can do, but I ain't getting a difficult job just to fuck up, get fired, then spend the rest of my life being judged for that one mistake, and don't fucking tell me they won't. They're already fucking judging me over stuff as asinine as the colour of my t-shirt.

I just want an honest days work for an honest days pay. I've did my volunteering, I've got plenty of qualifications, I've tried to keep myself busy, six years out of school and I have never claimed unemployment benefits, always going after more knowledge, as much education as I can get, I hate sitting on my ass for longer than a month.

But they still don't want me. I barely know why I bother trying anymore. It seems fucking obvious to me that they want to close every fucking door they can, well I'll eventually find one that I can smash the fuck down if I have to. In the meantime, I'm not taking any shit from people who think I'm not trying.

Based on some things I've been reading I would say most of it has to do with being just a bit behind the curve, at least here in n.a. Not stupid or anything, just a few steps behind the right place to be. Growing up all I ever heard was "lawyers and engineers make zounds of money, and there are so many jobs to be had". This was not a lie, or untrue at the time, unfortunately years later it is no longer the case. Now we have lawyers and engineers coming out the ears and no jobs for them, why? Because everybody got the same advice at the same time. So what are parents saying to their kids now? Don't know, maybe investment bankers or doctors or whatever, but the trend will likely have moved on by the time .

The good news is that relatively soon the baby boomers will exit the workforce, and no matter how bad the news claims this will be, it will probably be the best thing that has happened to our generation, in a job prospect sense. Once our preceeding generations have finished filling up to fill in the gaps, there should finally.be some room left for the many of us looking for a spot. Those already in might even get a boost in terms of their prospects for advancement.

Having just graduated within the last year, probably 3/4's of my friends including myself have found jobs within months of finishing college, Its all about being in the right place at the right time, and well having connections doesn't hurt, even though I didn't have any. Remain optimistic.

bananafishtoday:
College can be a worthwhile learning experience, but make it as cheap as possible if you do want to go. I'm talking a $3k/yr community college, transfer to $6k/yr state school. If there's a particular place you want to live, move there for a year before you start school so you can qualify for resident tuition.

Problem with that is, depending on where you live, you're only getting what you pay for (and in plenty of cases, not even that.) A $50k/yr tuition can be worth it, providing you do your research on the school beforehand, and the debt you end up with can be made a lot more manageable through scholarships and smart decisions. I'm from Virginia, and I can say that my electrical engineering education is far beyond anything that any of the major engineering schools in Virginia could have ever provided me. As for the VA community colleges? What a joke.

As for the debt, I'm looking at $120,000 or so total between my parents and I. That's $80k less than full tuition, and that's from a $10k/yr scholarship and a well-timed year's study abroad in Germany that let me essentially pay down an entire year's worth of university. The difference, though, is that I'm looking at a ~$70,000/yr job within a couple months, if not weeks, of graduation--and living in a fairly low-cost city to boot. I know how to manage my money, and I'll be able to pay my share of the debt off in six years assuming I don't get a raise.

The reason all of this is possible is because I went into an already high-ish demand field (EE), specialized in a subset that's been running low on new blood (electrical power systems), and went to a university that offered undergraduate education in that specialization, something that nearly no other university in the US offers. As a result, with minimal effort on my part--I haven't had a single internship, and haven't put a whole lot into the job search other than jumping on opportunities that jump at me--I already have a second interview with a company for a job that will start soon after I graduate. There's also another opportunity that I've been sitting on for a while that I haven't touched because I want to see how my interview goes first.

And therein lies the problem: it's not that there are too many college graduates, it's that many of them picked the wrong fields to study and the wrong schools to study at. They don't know how to read trends, they don't know how to look for colleges, many of them have sub-par high school education and/or poor preparation for college. Many of them don't even know what they want to do in life, end up getting gen-ed or liberal arts degrees, and then realizing that it's really not worth the money they spent.

TL;DR: your advice is flawed, because the "learning experience" of college can be better made with getting a job or apprenticeship out of high school. If you want to pay $18k for college and also have a job once you graduate, you're either going to have to bust your ass for scholarships or bust your ass finding internships and external experience.

thaluikhain:
I take it you mean US society? If so...yeah.

I think you're supposed to totally ignore the reality of the situation...that's why they call it "the dream".

But the system is failing large numbers of people, and there isn't any real answer. Even pointing out the problem pisses people off no end.

I love how every problem someone has in the US can be traced to them living in that country, even though it is actually happier than the almost all of Europe. I mean you can bitch about the US all you want, I couldn't really give an essence of a fuck about it, just giving you a heads up.

(P.S. here's my source http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/01/09/the-worlds-happiest-and-saddest-countries-2/)

afroebob:

thaluikhain:
I take it you mean US society? If so...yeah.

I think you're supposed to totally ignore the reality of the situation...that's why they call it "the dream".

But the system is failing large numbers of people, and there isn't any real answer. Even pointing out the problem pisses people off no end.

I love how every problem someone has in the US can be traced to them living in that country, even though it is actually happier than the almost all of Europe. I mean you can bitch about the US all you want, I couldn't really give an essence of a fuck about it, just giving you a heads up.

Isn't the OP talking about unemployment and the lack of job prospects facing young people? Because surely that is a serious problem in the US.

thaluikhain:

afroebob:

thaluikhain:
I take it you mean US society? If so...yeah.

I think you're supposed to totally ignore the reality of the situation...that's why they call it "the dream".

But the system is failing large numbers of people, and there isn't any real answer. Even pointing out the problem pisses people off no end.

I love how every problem someone has in the US can be traced to them living in that country, even though it is actually happier than the almost all of Europe. I mean you can bitch about the US all you want, I couldn't really give an essence of a fuck about it, just giving you a heads up.

Isn't the OP talking about unemployment and the lack of job prospects facing young people? Because surely that is a serious problem in the US.

Its the same story, with a few exceptions pretty much everywhere in Europe is on par or worse than the US.

afroebob:

thaluikhain:

afroebob:

I love how every problem someone has in the US can be traced to them living in that country, even though it is actually happier than the almost all of Europe. I mean you can bitch about the US all you want, I couldn't really give an essence of a fuck about it, just giving you a heads up.

Isn't the OP talking about unemployment and the lack of job prospects facing young people? Because surely that is a serious problem in the US.

Its the same story, with a few exceptions pretty much everywhere in Europe is on par or worse than the US.

Sources plz. That's a pretty big claim.

How about you just suck it up and do your job, Work isn't supposed to be fun.

Chairman Miaow:

afroebob:

Its the same story, with a few exceptions pretty much everywhere in Europe is on par or worse than the US.

Sources plz. That's a pretty big claim.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_unemployment_rate

Wikipedia uses various sources for their information. If you want the specific source for each country next to either the percentage of unemployment for the country or the date the data was published there should be a link to the original source for every European country listed (just a tip if you don't know, its the little blue numbers that are the hyperlinks).

Doclector:
*snip*

So much empathy for you... so much empathy ;_;

(so not to get warned for low content) although I didn't reach 6 years, still a long time...

afroebob:

Chairman Miaow:

afroebob:

Its the same story, with a few exceptions pretty much everywhere in Europe is on par or worse than the US.

Sources plz. That's a pretty big claim.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_unemployment_rate

Wikipedia uses various sources for their information. If you want the specific source for each country next to either the percentage of unemployment for the country or the date the data was published there should be a link to the original source for every European country listed (just a tip if you don't know, its the little blue numbers that are the hyperlinks).

I'm confused. That link shows that what you said is wrong. Very few European countries are on par or worse off. About the only big European country worse of is Spain, the rest are all on a par or better off. Even the smaller countries bar a few eastern European countries are doing better.

tehroc:
College degrees under a masters are worthless. The whole point of college is just to make connections. It's not just your generation, every gen has gone through those periods.

Uh, no. The point of college is to obtain specialized education and training so that you can work properly in that field. You may be able to learn engineering principles on your own, outside of college, but you won't have access to the facilities that let you actually fuck up and learn from it before you fuck up in the industry and get fired, before you have a chance to even progress in your field. Even non-STEM majors need the education in order to get into grad school--you can't straight-up jump into grad school.

VMK:

Sutter Cane:
As someone who is currently 20 and looking to finish up his college degree in the next couple of years, it feels like people around my agre are really ending up on the short end of society's stick. I mean based on what I'm hearing, it really feels like college degrees are barely worth the paper they're printed on nowadays, an that unless you are looking to go into certain very-specific fields, you're just going to end up back at Walmart indefinitely anyway. It really feels like the only choices right now are between "career that will make you miserable for your entire working life" or "not being able to support yourself." I mean when it feels like those are your only two choices, how am I supposed to stay motivated? How am I supposed to remain optimistic? What is a person like me even supposed to do?

Here is my personal motivation. You may use it:

"Life is hard, unfair and mostly misarable. Deal with it. Getting a job that is both well-paid and interesting is near impossible. So here is a choice for you: either stay loner for the rest of your life and work wherever you want and earn enough to survive, or marry, start a family and be willing to work your ass of on the most boring of all the jibs just to make life of your loved ones enjoyable. If you care for them, of course.
But if you are lucky enough to get a job, that is enjoyable AND well-paid, then grab it by the balls and do not let go, untill your eyes are blind, your arms are limp and your brain is almost dead."
Something like that.

As for devaluation of diplomas: what did you expect? In the past, most people did not go to universities, so people with higher education were treated as rarities.
Now, everyone is getting it, so employers can fastidiously choose whatever person they like. Democracy, babe. Everyone gets a chance, but the more people get it, the smaller it is.

Tried working a menial job for the summer. Didn't really work out. Was miserable at the job, and that misery began working its way into my personal life as well. Can't imagine myself working for decades in a job like that

Honestly, do something you like to do. Forcing yourself in a course that'll take 3+ years, with barely any "fun" (as in interesting and engrossing opportunities) prospects will get you less satisfaction in the long run than a course which truly interests you, even though the pay might not be the highest at the end of the day. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Sutter Cane:
As someone who is currently 20 and looking to finish up his college degree in the next couple of years, it feels like people around my agre are really ending up on the short end of society's stick. I mean based on what I'm hearing, it really feels like college degrees are barely worth the paper they're printed on nowadays, an that unless you are looking to go into certain very-specific fields, you're just going to end up back at Walmart indefinitely anyway. It really feels like the only choices right now are between "career that will make you miserable for your entire working life" or "not being able to support yourself." I mean when it feels like those are your only two choices, how am I supposed to stay motivated? How am I supposed to remain optimistic? What is a person like me even supposed to do?

My only two choices are being miserable with my job or being poor? I'm an animator, and I love it. I work with the arts non-stop and have fun doing it. Maybe you're in the wrong major...

Be cautious before taking on a degree. In 2008 I lost a job to the recession. Then I did a computer science degree, and now I'm a skivvy at a theme park because my decade of experience in the work place has nothing to do with my degree, and nobody is interested in a guy with a qualification and no related experience. As for staying motivated, you can make any job fun and worth doing if you try, and as long as you choose to have fun, and to work hard, things generally will get better, it may take a while, but they will.

Chairman Miaow:

afroebob:

Chairman Miaow:
Sources plz. That's a pretty big claim.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_unemployment_rate

Wikipedia uses various sources for their information. If you want the specific source for each country next to either the percentage of unemployment for the country or the date the data was published there should be a link to the original source for every European country listed (just a tip if you don't know, its the little blue numbers that are the hyperlinks).

I'm confused. That link shows that what you said is wrong. Very few European countries are on par or worse off. About the only big European country worse of is Spain, the rest are all on a par or better off. Even the smaller countries bar a few eastern European countries are doing better.

With on par being considered between 7-9 percent unemployment and 9%+ being considered worse and excluding countries that haven't been cited in 3 years it shows that 78.6% of countries are on par or worse than the US. Granted, there are some places doing significantly better, Switzerland being a great example, but for the majority of nations they are on par or worse, with places like Greece having over 4 times the unemployment. However, I will admit I didn't count Russia as a European country and if I did it would changed it to about 75% in my favor.

afroebob:

Chairman Miaow:

afroebob:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_unemployment_rate

Wikipedia uses various sources for their information. If you want the specific source for each country next to either the percentage of unemployment for the country or the date the data was published there should be a link to the original source for every European country listed (just a tip if you don't know, its the little blue numbers that are the hyperlinks).

I'm confused. That link shows that what you said is wrong. Very few European countries are on par or worse off. About the only big European country worse of is Spain, the rest are all on a par or better off. Even the smaller countries bar a few eastern European countries are doing better.

With on par being considered between 7-9 percent unemployment and 9%+ being considered worse and excluding countries that haven't been cited in 3 years it shows that 78.6% of countries are on par or worse than the US. Granted, there are some places doing significantly better, Switzerland being a great example, but for the majority of nations they are on par or worse, with places like Greece having over 4 times the unemployment. However, I will admit I didn't count Russia as a European country and if I did it would changed it to about 75% in my favor.

Forgive me, I was looking at the map, which paints a very different picture.

I don't might be because its the city I live in but its been incredibly easy to find a decent job for me. Plus I know my degree will be relevant as long as I follow whichever city tech booms happens.

Sutter Cane:
As someone who is currently 20 and looking to finish up his college degree in the next couple of years, it feels like people around my agre are really ending up on the short end of society's stick. I mean based on what I'm hearing, it really feels like college degrees are barely worth the paper they're printed on nowadays, an that unless you are looking to go into certain very-specific fields, you're just going to end up back at Walmart indefinitely anyway. It really feels like the only choices right now are between "career that will make you miserable for your entire working life" or "not being able to support yourself." I mean when it feels like those are your only two choices, how am I supposed to stay motivated? How am I supposed to remain optimistic? What is a person like me even supposed to do?

Start thinking outside the box. I think the main issue is that all the sudden we have enough information via the internet to know how shitty life is when you do nothing but chase a paycheck. Don't do anything simply because society thinks you have to. Even jobs that sound interesting on paper are mostly tedious and boring. Research shows that the amount of money that you make does not alter your level of happiness once you're above the point where you have all your expenses covered, so chasing bigger and bigger paychecks is a waste of your life.

The economy will not get better. Life will not improve simply by adopting a positive outlook. My advice? Learn to program. You can do just about anything if you understand how to write code and approach problems tactically and creatively. It takes a bit of work, but no more so than any college degree you'd be going for. Take classes if you feel the need, or just use the internet as your resource. The world is evolving very quickly, and most of the things we're being trained to do in the US may not have any value very soon. But computers and the internet aren't going anywhere. Plus, you get to do contract work, so you don't even have to be glued indefinitely to one job for your whole life if you don't want to.

Trade school. Get a job that requires a license or 2 or 3 to perform. Get bonded. Get a truck. Go to work.

rob_simple:
While I was studying for my degree I was regularly told by certain lecturers that I wasn't going to be able to get a job with it, because there are too many people getting degrees and realistically not enough jobs for all of them.

This is why I feel the UK government/education system has completely fucked my generation over, because we were raised to believe that obtaining a degree was the best thing you could possibly do and now we're all in debt we can't pay off because there are a hundred of us for every one position available; so they expect us to take management positions in supermarkets that we could have achieved just as easily by working in the god damn supermarket for four years. (That's not even mentioning the Tories fucking despicable scheme to make people work forty hour jobs for 1.50 an hour.)

I'm lucky in that I have certain specialist skills that I'm currently trying to turn into a business, but I feel genuinely sorry for the people who have nothing to show for their time in education other than a piece of paper saying they're smart.

This. I remember the golden words of "Do well in school and get a good job". Well, I did "well" in College and University, and I can't even get a job packing and delivering in a warehouse :/

20,000 worth of money WELL SPENT!. Couldn't finish my Bachelors because of the increase in fees last year *sigh*

OP: Get experience in your field, no matter what it takes. So many times in job adverts I've had the qualifications and NOT the X amount of years' experience.

As a high school student looking through this thread, i'm getting a few chills.

That being said, the notes I've written from the various comments are helpful, and I'm counting my lucky stars my school has a proper selection of AP sciences (i'll have roughly 30-ish college credits before graduation)

I feel the need to emphasize the second bit because a high school next to mine had to cut off all non varsity sports and AP classes and art/music courses from a lack of budget, and there are projected 5 million worth of spending deficit that needs to be fixed in my school (luckily the active student body has lead to mitigating the damage in the aforementioned AP sciences.

It's a good thing the medical field always has a demand!

Chairman Miaow:
Forgive me, I was looking at the map, which paints a very different picture.

I can't quote a per capital statistic, but looking at the map isn't the best way to look at it either, at least not when comparing it to the continent as a whole. The smaller countries have a much bigger population than you would think, with many of them having easily 10 times the population density (aka, amount of people per square mile). But even if you want to look at just the big names (UK, France, Austria, Netherlands, Greece, etc.) it isn't that much better or worse on average, with Switzerland being probably the best of them and Greece being by FAR the worst. Either way you cut it, the US gets a bad wrap, it isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Ya, we have a shit ton of flaws, but a lot of them are being worked out (gay marriage and marijuana being illegal are 2 of the biggest but give it 10 years and they'll both be legal) and a lot of it has to do with the entire world economy being shit. And then the debt... well ya we really need to get that shit worked out but same with a ton of European countries. Either way, its not a bad place by any measure of the imagination, we just need to make dat weed legal, tax the shit out of it, pay off China and den we be nomba 1 again. Oh, and we'll use the excess funds from the weed taxes to colonize Mars.

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