Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The SubPrime-Like Government Push to Get Everyone a College Degree...

...is ruining a generation that has no idea how to work or find a job.  Even NYT gets it (partially), as this anecdotal story shows.

What NYT gets is that there are a lot of college graduates without jobs. What NYT doesn't get is that government is the cause.

The wholesale creation of degree factories, as a result of government sponsored programs, has diluted the value of a college education. 1. Because many more have them and 2. The quality of of knowledge by those who have graduated has declined dramatically.

On the demand side, the government manipulation of the economy has made it extremely risky for firms to take on new hires, as the firms don't know what the economy will bring, and they don't know what new regulations will be hoisted upon them and any new employees.

NYT very aptly titled its article: A New Generation, an Elusive American Dream. As I wrote recently, like the housing dream, "the college degree as the key to success dream" is dead.

There's going to be an entire generation of very disillusioned people coming out of colleges. They were promised the world, but they are getting a Big Fat nothing. Given that NYT sees it, you know it is starting.

If I were a recent college graduate, I would find myself a sales job. Selling vacuum cleaners, online world books, whatever. The one thing college students are never taught, even in marketing classes is solid marketing and sales techniques. In the college environment, sales skills are looked down upon.

They are looked down upon only because of ignorance in the college environment. As the economists Friedrich Hayek  and Ludwig von Mises taught us, not all information is ever given to one central planner. Information is diverse and spread across the planet. Sales is about disseminating specific types of knowledge to those who might find the information valuable. There are all kinds of people in sales, some good, some bad, but the best know how to find out who needs the information they have and they then know how to get the information to those who need it. College graduates are generally clueless about how to do this, and yet they have some very valuable information that they need to disseminate, i.e. information about themselves and their work skills.

Most students after years of brainwashing think that their skills will somehow be magically recognized and the path will be laid down for them, just as the path from pre-kindergarten to college senior was laid down. As Aerosmith might say, "Dream on." Life is a journey, not a graduate degree.

The better you know how to present yourself, whether it's looking for a date, or a job, the more opportunities will come before you. And sales is all about learning how to present yourself. You don't have to make a  career out of sales, but I would recommend a first job for a year in sales over an MBA any day.

And if you are good at sales, you will never have problems finding a job. The one thing companies are always in need of is solid sales people who know how to present their product to prospects.