Thanks But No Thanks. Labor Secretary’s Advice to Unemployed Grads: “Don’t Sit At Home”

Labor Secretary and Associated Press Encourage Class of 2012 to Pull Themselves Up by Their Bootstraps

As a recent Class of 2012 graduate, a Twitter post today by the U.S. Department of Labor caught my eye:

I wondered, “What does Solis know about job searches?” as I clicked the link, which led to an Associated Press YouTube video titled “Unemployment Challenges Class of 2012.” Apparently, not much.

AP’s simple coverage of this complex matter didn’t reveal much about the difficulties graduates face either. Leading up to Solis’ interview, AP said that while unemployment for college grads last year averaged higher (8.8 percent) than the current national average (8.2 percent), “The Labor Department says … these numbers …  should not be seen as an excuse for graduates to hold back.” Darn. The bad economy is such a good “excuse” to bum on our parents’ couches and remain jobless as student loan bills begin to arrive in our mailboxes. You caught us AP.

Then, Solis’ priceless advice: “Get involved, don’t sit at home waiting for someone to call you. Send out resumes, go knock on doors, go to the job centers.”


The only problem, Solis, is that there are no jobs out there. In fact, the ratio of unemployed job-seekers to job openings is 3.9 to 1. But it seems like Solis is in denial of these horrid job prospects. After all, when was the last time she scoured the barren Craigslist ads, spent hours in career services or sent out hundreds of resumes to not even hear back?

The economy is bleak, few people are hiring, and I was hoping Solis would talk about what she was going to do about it. But instead, she uses that ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ rhetoric to avoid addressing the real cause of unemployment and to mask the fundamental flaws in our current capitalist economy. 

Well, at least AP had one piece of good news for us graduates. They reported that while graduates hope to “land a job that pays well,” their “limited experience could hold back those hopes.” They then introduced Lisa Severy, director of career services at the University of Colorado, who says this inexperience may be in our favor.

Severy said, “Employers, I think, are drawn to this population … for a number of reasons. Let’s be honest, one is that they’re cheaper.”

Cheap labor — our only hope.

Thank goodness.

AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa

Posted at June 13, 2012, 2:35pm

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