Thursday, January 6, 2011

College Buddy

Got a surprise visit from an old college buddy.

After high school, he went out and got himself an English degree. When I met him, he'd gone back to college. Like me, he was an older "non-traditional" student. We hit it off. He'd done some work as a journalist, liked it, and decided to get the degree.

After college, he worked for a while as a journalist, but ran into difficulties with management. Ethics will do that for you. He had some and management didn't.

Eventuality, he went back to college and got a degree as a machinist. It paid well. He bought a house. Sent his daughter to an expensive college. Got his piece of the American Dream.

Then the factory laid him off. The only work he could find was the night shift at Walmart. The late hours were killing him. (we aren't getting any younger) He quit. It took him six months to find another job. Now he works for a company that provides flaggers for highway construction. It pays less than $10/hour.

He dropped in because he was on a job site near my house. The company requires him to provide his own transportation. Today he had a 75 mile drive to work. The rising price of gas terrifies him.

His hope for the future? Putting a band together. That doesn't pay well either, but at least it's not flagging.

Fortunately, his wife makes decent money. They've been able to keep the house. His daughter transferred to a state college. He doesn't say it, but I can tell it hurts him to rely on his wife to bring in the majority of the household funds.

That's what three degrees and years of experience gets you these days.

Don't tell me the economy is getting better.



  1. am in agreement. it gets damn hard to find a job, even keep it. it is starting many younger people to wonder besides military if going to trade schoool or colledge be worth ity as long as many fellow graduate only to find no work at all,
    seriously you wealth is going overseas as those with money invest in India and China leaving your kids with either filling the military grinder or work as servants''

    be a wonder when the poor americans wake up this!


  2. I agree with you, especially if you are over 50 years of age. You can have all the education in the world but the companies won't "pay" for it. The only jobs out there are in the low paying unskilled labor field and even those are all disappearing overseas.

  3. Then you have the side where 20 years of work experience don't count as much as some snot nosed kid fresh from the dink factory (college) with zero real work experience. It sticks in my craw to see some 20 something clueless moron making the same money as my 37 year old ass, who can run circles around that spoiled college punk... It really sticks in my craw when I have to train the idiot, but for all his "education", he still doesn't get it. Thank you sir, may I have another....

  4. I've seen it from both sides. Didn't go to college until I was 37. After that I was an "older worker."

    Good thing I wasn't looking for a real job. I tell people I'm "self unemployed."