College graduation is always a time of high possibilities. Images of eagles with wings spread soaring above the world often pepper speeches by class valedictorians. Once eagles soar they do not, please hear me, do not fly back to the nest of their childhood. In fact, for parents ready to have their kids back home the minute they can’t get the job of their dreams, they will lose their eagle wings. So if you want to teach leadership development to your progeny take a lesson from our high flying friends.
Eagles, in fact, take care of the young to a point. Then they begin to add twigs that sick up and are uncomfortable and as the fledglings grow they begin to take away the essentials of the nest till the little kid eagles have nothing left to do but fly away.
Now, I do not know if the kids come around for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas; and a human species, coming around to visit is a good thing. Let us, however, give our young the strength to soar on their own and not hold them down.
Moving Home: When College Grads Face Uncertain Futures, By Amanda M. Fairbanks, contributor to the Huffington Post.
“LANSDALE, Pa. — One midnight in April, Sabrina Malik pulls her red Chevy Blazer into her mother’s asphalt driveway, removes the keys from the ignition, and stops to take a deep breath.
Alone in the darkness, a sense of defeat courses through her body — disappointment about her past and uncertainty about what lies ahead. This, she thinks to herself, is surely what failure feels like.
Six years ago, Malik fled this town for Syracuse University. Since graduating in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in art history, she has yet to find a decent job.
She hadn’t planned on moving back home and, at the age of 23, never expected to return to her mother’s house for an extended and open-ended period of time.
“At times, it really feels very personal, it really feels like I’ve failed,” says Malik, standing in the kitchen of her mother’s two-story stone house and recalling the eight weeks since she returned home. She’s wearing khaki shorts and white socks that come up to her ankles. Glasses frame her brown eyes and wavy chestnut hair grazes her shoulders. “Your dream is a very personal thing and when you can’t do it, it feels like you’re being told that you’re not talented enough and that you haven’t worked hard enough.”
After graduating from college, Malik moved to Boston. There, she worked as a nanny, sold books, and waited tables — a series of dead-end jobs that didn’t pay more than the minimum wage, didn’t require a college degree, and weren’t remotely related to what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Two months ago, she ran out of money and drove home from Boston to Lansdale, a middle-class suburb north of Philadelphia, her car brimming with the contents of post-college life: canned food, twinkle lights, potted plants. A dozen of her paintings, stacked to the ceiling, kept hitting the back of her head. When a gas station attendant in New Jersey asked why she was moving and where she was headed, Malik didn’t know quite how to respond.
She’s hardly alone. Malik is part of a generation of 20-somethings that’s experiencing what it’s like to graduate from college, move back in with your parents, and then get stuck there. Though estimates vary, a recent study by Twentysomething Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing to young adults, predicted that of the 2 million graduates in the class of 2011, 85 percent will return home because they can’t secure jobs that might give them more choices and more control over their lives.
To be sure, having a college degree still matters. Nationwide, while the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, the jobless rate for college graduates 25 years and older is 4.5 percent. By contrast, 20 to 24-year-olds who only have a high school diploma are contending with an unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent.
While college graduates typically navigate periods of economic decline far better than those lacking such credentials, the past few years have still taken an especially brutal toll on them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate for younger workers with a college degree has more than doubled since the recession began four years ago — from 3.5 percent in April of 2007 to 6.4 percent in April of this year.
For college graduates under the age of 25, finding stable work is a particular challenge. According to Andrew Sum, an economist at Northeastern University, about half, or 3.2 million, are “underutilized” — meaning they’re unemployed, working part-time, or working a job outside of the college labor market, such as bartending or waiting tables.”
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