David Thompson
Subscribe
Blog powered by Typepad

« An Unusual Bulging | Main | Those Brown-People Ideas »

November 28, 2016

Comments

Alice

Ms Olsen also offers “personal guidance” via the medium of Tarot card readings.

I'll pass.

Pinkeen

Such a pity she didn't get hold of the Tarot deck before she chose that degree course.

jabrwok

College students should be poor.

theresa

Pity she didn't consult her Tarot cards when choosing her degree, ain't it?

TheTooner

"...she didn't consult her Tarot cards when choosing her degree ..."

What is it about her self-described situation that seems to you inconsistent with having made decisions based on Tarot cards or any other fortune-telling nonsense?

David

Part of the problem – which, to be fair, Ms Olsen brushes against, briefly – is that far too many young people are being led to believe that they should go to university in the first place, often seemingly regardless of ability and aptitude, and regardless of whether there’s any credible economic benefit in doing so. Judging by Ms Olsen’s account, there wasn’t much cautioning by adults in her sphere that a degree in, say, English literature and rhetoric – costing $65,000 – is by no means a Golden Ticket to lucrative and satisfying employment.

Compounding this is the rather pernicious notion that tertiary education should be thought of primarily as an exercise in personal growth and some kind of egalitarian right, with economic utility a mere secondary concern, if that. It seems to me that encouraging people from humble backgrounds to pursue courses of limited (if any) market value, and thereby running up massive debts that may never be repaid, is very close to an act of cruelty.

Joan

informing the world of her preferred pronouns, and describing herself as a “political troublemaker” determined to “catalyse significant social change,”

She should just wear a big sign that says DO NOT HIRE.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Regarding Mis Olsen, she says of herself:

I'm an experienced reporter, editor, web producer, community and content manager, advertising copywriter, and general internet person.

At 20 something, no you are not "experienced" in all, or any, of those things, which gets us back to the entitlement/ Dunning Kruger mentality of these types.

The abject poverty and oppression of the horribly beat-down Miss Olsen:

billdehaan

You know, I lived a similar life, and was faced with similar choices. In fact, my story is the same as hers, almost verbatim... up until one decision point.

I grew up poor. I went to a university – something that neither of my parents did, through choice and circumstance and a systemic series of beliefs about who college is for – because I believed that that was the only way to be not-poor. I believed this because I was told it, by guidance counsellors, the media, and many adults. I looked at what would make a viable career.

I considered veterinary science, but I didn't have the grades to get into that school. I had top marks in chemistry, and industrial chemistry had a range of well paying positions for that skill set, and so I went to university with the intent of becoming a chemist.

In my first year, I discovered that a) I didn't really care for lab work as much as I thought I would, b) I was getting top marks in my mathematics and computer science courses, and c) computer science skills were highly in demand. As a new discipline, computer science was likely to grow as a career path, more so than chemistry, and so I switched my major.

And so, while going to college put me in debt, by working during school it was a manageable amount, and upon graduation, I was earning about 30% more than I would have made as a high school graduate. That allowed me to pay off my student debt with 10 months of graduation, and my increased earning power has served me well in the years that followed.

David

I looked at what would make a viable career.

And yet there are no end of rent-seeking educators – generally lecturing in subjects of negligible intellectual or market value - who insist that such concerns are philistine, and that more working-class people should spend money they don’t have on post-colonial studies or gender studies, or some other question-begging pseudo-subject. It can all sound very flattering to the young and credulous, and it’s pretty much a staple of the Guardian’s comment pages. But the likely result is a qualification of little or negative value and a large debt burden that’s unlikely to shrink any time soon. As a supposed means of social mobility, it’s laughable, practically grotesque.

R. Sherman

While I don't regret the years I spent studying literature and philosophy, I always knew that I would have to pay the bills which go with being an adult. That is the world which has always existed. It's not a world where hipsters sit around drinking overpriced lattes paid for from bank accounts which magically are never overdrawn.

theresa

@TheTooner
Good Point

Lancastrian Oik

As a white, 22-year-old college graduate in a second-hand dress...

Sometimes them young girls do get weary.

Lab Rat

I grew up poor. I worked through college "poor". I went through grad school "poor". Thankfully I finally have a "real job", albeit a temporary one (ahhh the joy of post docs - even in the Hard Sciences and Engineering). Through all of that I knew that to survive and get where I was going in life I needed to live within my means. I may have been "poor" by some standards, but I always had the basics necessary for life.

My first thought on reading David's summary was "wtf is she doing paying $800 a month for rent??". On a MIN WAGE job??? Methinks her "poverty" is largely self-inflicted.

I'll report my unsympathetic cis-white female arse to the correction booth now for reprogramming...

David

I’ll report my unsympathetic cis-white female arse to the correction booth now for reprogramming...

I’ve removed the padding from the rotary paddles and notched up the RPM, so it should be quite… bracing.

Y. Knott

In one word or less, WHY??? And the solution is to-hand, and the Donald just might be the man to implement it; return students' RIGHT (for it was) to discharge student loans through bankruptcy (like everybody else can discharge every other unmanageable debt).

Instantly, market forces will re-assert themselves. Social Justice majors won't be able to get student loans; the banks will become very philistine about post-grad employment prospects. And colleges, having feasted-on these klutzes for decades, will be face-to-face with losing most of their tuition fees; they'll have to immediately get back to basics - EMPLOYABLE basics.

Or do I achieve the Mencken definition of simplicity?

Daniel Ream

My first thought on reading David's summary was "wtf is she doing paying $800 a month for rent??". On a MIN WAGE job??? Methinks her "poverty" is largely self-inflicted.

This sort of thing is highly dependent on local real estate conditions; $800/month in the local warlord's scrip around here wouldn't get you a one-bedroom apartment, but in the university town an hour down the road it'll get you a two-bedroom within driving distance of the local Marxist indoctrination centre.

That said, I have noticed a tendency among the millenial generation to assume that the prices of things - like rent - ought to be determined by what you get paid, rather than what you get paid determining what you can afford.

Jacob

That said, I have noticed a tendency among the millenial generation to assume that the prices of things - like rent - ought to be determined by what you get paid, rather than what you get paid determining what you can afford.

That.

David

That

See also this. And again, note the author’s disregard of such basic considerations as supply and demand.

Spiny Norman

...note the author’s disregard of such basic considerations as supply and demand.

This is probably related:

the teachings of Thomas Piketty...

David

looked at what would make a viable career.

Although Ms Olsen doesn’t make explicit exactly what kind of career she was expecting to breeze into, it seems reasonable to suppose that it was something involving writing and leftist activism. Given the rapid and widely acknowledged decline of journalism as a viable full-time occupation, especially leftist journalism, this seems a tad optimistic.

Which reminded me of this chap, who conceded that his chosen line of work was no longer entirely viable, due to a chronic shortage of paying customers or public interest, and was likely to get worse, but who nonetheless felt entitled to coerced public subsidy of his written output. You see, the taxpayer must be forced to “subsidise creativity” – i.e., his creativity - because apparently there just aren’t enough leftwing graduates already writing about “consumerism, gentrification and hegemony.”

Theophrastus

...far too many young people are being led to believe that they should go to university in the first place, often seemingly regardless of ability and aptitude, and regardless of whether there’s any credible economic benefit in doing so.

Quite so. This is a scandal. If such blatant con artists operated in any other sector, there would be an outcry. You see, it's edukashun, so it's somehow all right...

But there my sympathy ends for Ms Olsen. Having made one bad choice, she's embracing another - by opting for victimhood and radical opposition to what she perceives as a system, and wasting time and energy on being angry, rather than trying to retrieve her situation by acquiring some additional qualification that would enable her to earn a living and then pay off her debts....She lives in an opportunity-rich society, but she prefers to whinge. A few years of grim part-time jobs could finance a marketable qualification.

Sporkatus

the lifetime return on many degrees is very often negative

And therefore, Something Must Be Done.

As someone who came from relative poverty and who chose a non-angry-studies degree field at a prestigious university, soldiering through on canned chicken and rice and through several panic attacks to try to obtain a serious degree which could contribute to family income rather than a frivolous sort I'd have enjoyed, going deeply into debt and struggling for years out of college... what would be a suitable vulgarity?

Oh, I've got one: a cactus. She can go fuck herself and her tarot card flummery with one. Repeatedly.

Fred the Fourth

My first foray into Uni had me taking, as I liked to put it, "anything starting withe an f: physics, French, philosophy..."
I dropped out in year 3 because I ran out of enthusiasm, money, and mathematical ability roughly simultaneously. After working 3 years in a clerical job and a tech startip job, I went back and did 3 years of EE and CS in 2 years, living on a loan from my last boss (a Czech refugee from behind the iron curtain).
Not great planning but sometimes hard work can overcome that.
Dropping out and working full time really focussed my thinking about what school could do and not do.

Fred the Fourth

"Prices of things..."
That kind of thinking is now bleeding into my avocation area. I had a biotechnology startup tellnme the company should be valued (for investment purposes) at 12 million because "that's how much money has been put in so far in government grants".
Never mind that a) they'd spent it all and had no cash in the bank, and b) they'd created maybe 2 million of knowledge and company value in the process.

dicentra

I am ABD (all but dissertation toward a Ph.D.) in "Romance Studies," meaning that I studied lots of Spanish Literature and a bit of Spanish Linguistics.

I was training to be a Spanish Lit professor but realized that I hated teaching classes. So I moved back in with my parents (after sending my resume to a few dozen publishing houses in NYC and getting no offers).

I got my first tech writing position through nepotism--there was an opening where my brother worked--and after that contract was canceled I applied for a tech writing firm that gave me an editing/writing test, which I passed. I moved out of my parents' place after a year.

All my technical training was on the job, and now I've got a great career in writing technical documentation for software companies.

I know what it's like to look at the job postings and despair that I didn't have marketable skills.

I also know what it's like to have only ~$9000 in debt after 7 years in grad school because grad students in foreign languages teach 1-2 courses per semester and/or have fellowships to pay for tuition.

Of course tuition for my freshman semester was around $450 (at BYU), so that shows you how insanely the tuition costs have gone up when the consumer doesn't place controls on prices. Third-party payer also has made healthcare costs rise almost as fast as tuition.

David

I was training to be a Spanish Lit professor but realized that I hated teaching classes.

Well, that would do it, I suppose.

David

And therefore, Something Must Be Done.

It’s as though the signature arrogance of the taxpayer-funded art world has spilled over into the wider culture.

Pat

"I believed this because I was told it, by guidance counsellors, the media, and many adults"
And that bit is entirely credible!
We really need to stop the education industry advertising itself whilst posing as educating people.
And we really need to make sure that said industry is liable for faulty products as any other industry is.

Sporkatus

We really need to stop the education industry advertising itself whilst posing as educating people.

I distractedly read this bit as "educated people". Which is perhaps also true - anyone making a claim that general non-specific "education" will earn one anything may in fact be a dullard.

Iowahawk's axiom that "go to college" is to education what "put food in your mouth" is to nutrition comes to mind.

Theophrastus

As Pat says:

We really need to stop the education industry advertising itself whilst posing as educating people.

It is fraud. It is misleading the gullible.

Fred the Fourth

"If you wanna get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." F. Zappa (from memory, sorry) (Also, the bit about getting laid in college may be over the edge, risk-wise, these days...)
"Where's the college library?" H. Rennick

Nikw211

I was extremely hungry, worried about my utilities being shut off, and 100% planning to hit up the dumpster at the nearby Starbucks when I was done there.

Starbucks? Starbucks?

Surely it can't be much longer till we discover that Everyday Feminism is the world's most successful example of astroturfing, and that it was actually funded by Andrew Breitbart all along?

He did after all apparently help get The Huffington Post off the ground.

Then again, there's this which ... is ... err ... erm ...

Ten

There's a faint but honest passivity to her tale, especially the awareness that she "tends to gravitate toward post-modernism.”

Given the associated, spiraling trajectory, that's actually not a bad diagnosis. I hope she recovers.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Part of the problem – which, to be fair, Ms Olsen brushes against, briefly – is that far too many young people are being led to believe that they should go to university in the first place, often seemingly regardless of ability and aptitude, and regardless of whether there’s any credible economic benefit in doing so.

In the US at least, a big part of the problem is that companies have increasingly made a bachelor's degree the requirement for entry-level white collar work. You can thank in part Griggs v. Duke Power Co. for that, as companies use a college degree as a proxy for whatever other tests they would have administered.

Jeff Guinn
...far too many young people are being led to believe that they should go to university in the first place, often seemingly regardless of ability and aptitude, and regardless of whether there’s any credible economic benefit in doing so.

[Theophrastus:] Quite so. This is a scandal. If such blatant con artists operated in any other sector, there would be an outcry.

And quite rightly; the shutting down of those grubby for-profit colleges victimizing credulous students and parents is completely called for.

Why, however, the grievance studies departments in every university across the land haven't been similarly pilloried is an abiding mystery.

(The spam filter is nothing short of tedious. First attempt at posting told me I needed to refresh the page. Refreshed, posting not possible. Had to go to a different browser. And I didn't even screw up any HTML.)

David

The spam filter is nothing short of tedious.

Also capricious and unfathomable. For a day or two, some months ago, I had to fish every one of my own comments out of the damn thing.

Imagine the indignity.

Theophrastus

Imagine the indignity.

One simply doesn't, dear boy.

Hopp Singg

There now appear to be two types of college degrees: those where you learn something while you're there, and those where you figure it out afterward.

The latter are much more expensive, of course.

Tim Newman

I had no functional stove in my tiny apartment because the gas it took to make it work was, at $10 per month, too expensive.

What's the betting she was in Brooklyn or some other overpriced shithole where hipsters and "artists" insist on living rather than say, far more affordable South Carolina?

Hal

In the US at least, a big part of the problem is that companies have increasingly made a bachelor's degree the requirement for entry-level white collar work.

. . . and increasingly, that big part is getting towards a "masters degree" as being the basic requirement.

Tim Newman

Actually no: she lives in Seattle. Close enough.

Richard Cranium

"[...] return students' RIGHT (for it was) to discharge student loans through bankruptcy (like everybody else can discharge every other unmanageable debt)."

Assume, for a minute, that you are a freshly graduated Doctor (medical type, that is). At this instant in time, you have no income.

Declare bankruptcy and wipe out your medical degree debt. NOW get a job and profit!

That happened quite a bit, so the brute-force solution was to not allow anyone to weasel out of their student loan debt.

I'm not sure how you prevent people from gaming the system in that fashion.

champ

"English literature and rhetoric – costing $65,000"

Not to worry, the Democrats will absolve them of their student loan debts, dumping the obligation on the taxpayers (you know, the makers..)

witwoud

OT: Mick Hartley braves a particularly cringe-inducing piece from the Guardian.

http://mickhartley.typepad.com/blog/2016/11/turning-into-an-arsehole.html

Chester Draws

My first thought on reading David's summary was "wtf is she doing paying $800 a month for rent??"

I have never been poor. But for many years I was broke.

During that time I did not buy Starbucks, because that was an expense I could not afford. I did not have expensive umbrellas or wear branded clothing. She does not appear to be behaving as I would if I were that in debt.

I was training to be a Spanish Lit professor but realized that I hated teaching classes.

My first job was horrible and I hated it. I lasted three years though before I got a better one. It was a job, and I needed a job.

If you had no Plan B, then at least getting a job at it until you came up with Plan B seems to me the wisest course of action.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Richard Cranium:

Make student loan debt non-dischargeable for a certain period of time. Or, perhaps, have only a percentage of it discharged depending on how much of the debt was already paid off.

Squires

…you probably know that those who begin poor are more likely to stay poor…

And her degree is in English?

New grads no longer start from zero  –  they start with a negative balance.

And come out more foolish than when they went in, in my experience - but far more sure of the ignorance of those who disagree with what they enjoy believing.

a systemic series of beliefs about who college is for

My father was born in the "holler" of Appalachia, went to college on an athletic scholarship, was kicked out of college, got drafted, went to Vietnam (combat medic, which the Army figured he was qualified for because he "had college"), came home, went back to college, got a degree in computer science before it was even being called that, and eventually became a big-deal project manager for a major telecommunications corporation.

How many of these Millennials think college is "for" gawky, hillbilly-bred jocks who've been shot at by Communists?

a second-hand dress

Now the height of fashion.

Jenny R.

As a person with a humanities major, who switched to that from STEM (I've almost got enough credits for an animal husbandry/biology double minor, which would be ridiculous to pursue, but can come in handy when teaching English...who knew?), I don't regret my choice or lot in life (ok, sometimes I wish I had the money to buy a Lexus, but who doesn't?) as I like the field (ok, I don't like what has become of the department, nor the crap in the mandatory syllabus for 100,200 level class...but it merely forces a person to be inventive and creative in finding a work around, a challenge).
If I had one wish, it would be that I actually got to teach the classics and grammar/rhetoric/morphology instead of "studies in victimhood"...I hope for the future. In the meantime, it hones one's skills in how to manage under a Stalinist system, so that may come in useful. So, no regrets -- I love teaching, and I love to teach literature and writing.

I never had any school debt due to: 1)planning ahead; 2) working through school; 3) budgeting!; 4) not being averse to signing on for a federally sanctioned work for tuition program (it's known as the Veteran's Grant and GI Bill and they pay you while your work, and provide stuff!...of course, you do have to be willing to go through the program...).

And I never worried about finding work afterwards because 1) I made sure I went to a good school and got very good grades, and went for canonical studies classes, not "women who can't write, but we'll study them anyway because they have labia" classes -- 3.98/4.0; 2)wasn't afraid to work gritty, but decent paying jobs until something came open, made sure I had the skills to do those jobs...and then I had other work experience, so if I lost my teaching contract (I did, every time I got pregnant and set aside a job for the task of motherhood) I at least could jump back into the workforce as a copyeditor, animal husbandry specialist, trucker driver, or welder/painter/assemblylinesman to bring in a little extra pay for the family budget.

Oh, and yeah, I got married and stayed married -- raising kids is usually a lot easier in all ways if you have a spouse who is helping.

I think one of

WTP

In one word or less, WHY??? And the solution is to-hand, and the Donald just might be the man to implement it; return students' RIGHT (for it was) to discharge student loans through bankruptcy (like everybody else can discharge every other unmanageable debt).

Instantly, market forces will re-assert themselves. Social Justice majors won't be able to get student loans; the banks will become very philistine about post-grad employment prospects. And colleges, having feasted-on these klutzes for decades, will be face-to-face with losing most of their tuition fees; they'll have to immediately get back to basics - EMPLOYABLE basics.

Or do I achieve the Mencken definition of simplicity?

That latter thing. I believe I've pointed this out here before...who is really on the hook for these "loans"...

The Federal Government as Creditor As of July 8, 2016, the federal government owned approximately $1 trillion in outstanding consumer debt, per data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. That figure was up from less than $150 billion in January 2009, representing a nearly 600% increase over that time span. The main culprit is student loans, which the federal government effectively monopolized in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, a majority of student loans originated with a private lender but were guaranteed by the government, meaning taxpayers foot the bill if student borrowers default. In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated 55% of loans fell into this category. Between 2011 and 2016, the share of privately originated student loans fell by nearly 90%.

Prior to the administration of Bill Clinton, the federal government owned zero student loans, although it had been in the business of guaranteeing loans since at least 1965. Between the first year of the Clinton presidency and the last year of George W. Bush's administration, the government slowly accumulated about $140 billion in student debt. Those figures have exploded since 2009. In February 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department revealed in its annual report that student loans account for 31% of all U.S. government assets.

The cost of federal student loan programs is widely debated. The CBO provides two different estimates based on low discount rates and "fair value" discount rates. If you rely on the fair value estimate, the government loses approximately $100 billion to $250 billion per year, including $40+ billion in administrative costs. In other words, the government does not recoup the value of the loans, putting present and future taxpayers in the position of guarantor.

Read more: Who Actually Owns Student Loan Debt? | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/081216/who-actually-owns-student-loan-debt.asp#ixzz4RMBfxDjv

Jenny R.

And I grew up in hillbilly land, amidst great poverty (the rural ghetto, I think some sociologists have called it -- there is some truth to that; 2 classmates out of my graduating class of 20 were in prison 3 years after graduation -- drug related -- rural America isn't all Mayberry) to parents who did not have college degrees (although Mom was an RN, so I guess we could say she had some post high school ed; Dad went to university for a while on the GI Bill, but found he liked a steady paycheck better); something tells me my life was probably not any more privileged than Ms. Brooks Olsen (that's not a typical grit name).

What it does tell me is that Ms. Hannah Brooks Olsen most definitely did buy the line that somehow she was far too special to do dirty jobs; maybe her parents taught her that and her school counselors too (we do have a lot of unrealistic people out there...life is truly a Disney movie for them). Nonetheless, Ms. Brooks Olsen needs to realize that at some point one makes one's own destiny...temp services are likely hiring Ms. Olsen, surely you can type, and you need no skills to do assembly line work. Perhaps move to a smaller, less "culturally stimulating" city with a lower cost of living and more chances at that temp service job???

billdehaan

Part of the problem – which, to be fair, Ms Olsen brushes against, briefly – is that far too many young people are being led to believe that they should go to university in the first place, often seemingly regardless of ability and aptitude, and regardless of whether there’s any credible economic benefit in doing so.

It's a con.

In ye olde days, university educations were hard to get not only because they were expensive, but because they were hard to earn entry to.

And with reason.

One of the reasons that you "had it made" if you had a university education was that just making it into university in those days required intelligence and perseverance; potential employers were aware of that when you walked in to an interview.

Now, a university education is essentially a continuation of high school, in many fields.

Worse, there are people who would be well served not attending university, because (a) they don't have the chops for it, and (b) they may have really practical skills that go begging, because they're trying to get into university.

There are a lot of car mechanic, painter, and electrician jobs, all well-paying, that go wanting for applicants, while potential apprentices instead line up to borrow $50K a year to study the political ramifications of lesbian aromatherapy, and the like.

billdehaan

While I don't regret the years I spent studying literature and philosophy, I always knew that I would have to pay the bills which go with being an adult.

I've known numerous engineers who've earned secondary degrees in Theology, Music, and even Fine Arts. Hell, I may go for a History degree when I retire. All of them enjoyed it, and all profited from it in terms of satisfaction and personal enrichment. But there was never any expectation that it would show up on a resume (with the exception of the Theology major, who gave weird talks comparing religion to software development).

There's nothing wrong with such conceits, but that's what they are - conceits. Amusements. Distractions. Unless you plan on getting a PhD in it and teaching it, such degrees aren't really marketable skills. Taking them as your primary, or only, degree is really career suicide.

billdehaan

return students' RIGHT (for it was) to discharge student loans through bankruptcy

Depending on the country, university and/or college loans are underwritten by the government, and as such, can not be discharged by bankruptcy.

I remember a while back, one US governor (Jeb Bush maybe) caused a stink when he pretty much decreed STEM courses good, arts courses bad, if you wanted to loan.

But you're right. Universities would not be lining up to make high interest loans to Generation Snowflake if said snowflakes could discharge them if they didn't get a job, post graduation. Suddenly, you'd start seeing a lot more engineering/finance/science/STEM grads, and fewer SJW courses.

Darleen

Older folk are supposed to look back on their lean college years as character-building and with a bit of nostalgia - the cramped apartment above a liquor store in the bad part of town - furnishings that included bookshelves made of cinder-blocks and raw planks, the thrift-store couch in an orange print and a couple of mysterious stains, the wheezing refrigerator in the corner with the door held closed with bungee cords, too many nights of spaghetti or ramen noodles for dinner ...

Did this gal really grow up "poor"? Because I'm thinking maybe lower middle class because most people I know who grew up REALLY poor make better decisions on how to meet a thin budget.

What's *really* poor? My dad who was living on his own at 15, going to high school & working after school to support himself - who put himself through 4 years of college in 2 because that was all the GI bill would pay for after he got out of the Army.

Darleen

There are a lot of car mechanic, painter, and electrician jobs, all well-paying, that go wanting for applicants

and all jobs that can't be outsourced to a call-center in India.

Hanzo

" .... at least in the years since I’ve graduated".

Huh? She's 22.

lotocoti

That coveted internship at a public radio station makes me wonder if we've fallen for some Alene Composta level trolling.

Ray

Richard Cranium
Well Dick, I can call you Dick, can't I? The really simple solution to non payment of college debt is to have courts treat the repayments as they do child support. That should focus up a few minds.

Jay

Back before WWII college degrees in the liberal arts were vigorous (two languages and Anglo-Saxon doesn't count), exclusive and entirely useless. Which, if you were a member of an aristocracy didn't matter a bit because you were expected to work but not to earn a living.

Then came the GI Bill and it relations in England and the Commonwealth and standards were relaxed. Not completely, but enough so that returning heros could get a decent pass degree and on with their lives. From there the very idea of "standards" in the liberal arts came under attack as elitist, sexist, very racist indeed, and a very bad idea.

Meanwhile, as women gradually "professionalized" the human resources departments of government and industry, credentialization became the egalitarian mantra. "He's done the job for years but she has a degree in psychology. We have to be fair."

Poor Ms.Olsen should have the right to sue the nannies who took her money and taught her little or nothing. But, the day she is up against some gormless deplorable for a job she'll thank her lucky stars she has the piece of paper and he does not.

sk60

Although Ms Olsen doesn’t make explicit exactly what kind of career she was expecting to breeze into, it seems reasonable to suppose that it was something involving writing and leftist activism. Given the rapid and widely acknowledged decline of journalism as a viable full-time occupation, especially leftist journalism, this seems a tad optimistic.

Why would anyone need a degree in English literature to write for Vox or Jezebel?

David

Why would anyone need a degree in English literature to write for Vox or Jezebel?

In ten years of freelancing for magazines, journals and just about every national newspaper, from the Times and Observer to the Daily Mail, no-one ever asked me about any qualifications.

David

For those with time to kill and some morbid curiosity, Ms Olsen’s twitter feed is quite revealing, albeit in ways you’d probably expect. There’s the obligatory chippy tone, a disdain for both debate and practical advice, and quite a bit of grizzling about the word “hysteria” and how it’s “uniquely gendered” and therefore impermissible. All peppered with pronouncements that are faintly hysterical.

AMB

Describing Thomas Pikkety's writings as "Teachings" profanes the concepts of both writing and teaching.

Rafi

Ms Olsen’s twitter feed is quite revealing,

Shut up, she explained.

NielsR

Off topic, but thought it might amuse:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/29/new-5-notes-contain-animal-fat-says-bank-england-drawing-anger/

David

Shut up, she explained.

It’s interesting how sour so much of it is. It doesn’t reflect well on Ms Olsen’s personality, and I doubt it would entice many potential employers, at least from outside of her immediate peer bubble. I mean, in the wider world, I’m not sure that describing yourself, on LinkedIn, as a “political troublemaker” who’s determined to “catalyse significant social change” is all that alluring to people looking for reliable staff.

I wonder to what extent the sour and chippy manner is a result of the inevitable disappointment that follows years of cossetted self-flattery in academia’s Clown Quarter. Being led to believe, by left-leaning educators, that, like them, you should be in the vanguard of some social and political transformation – a “change agent,” to borrow the jargon – and then finding yourself unemployed, and practically unemployable, precisely because of the vanities you’ve internalised.

Hal

Our unhappy feminist goes on to stress that she and those like her should not be chided for “their perceived poor decisions,” which, she says, doesn’t “actually address the problem.”

Hipsters as "architects" and "engineers": How to achieve the same sort of perceived poor decisions on a corporate scale with local commentary as well . . . .

Rob

The Wedt is churning out hundreds of thousands of these people, virtually unemployable in a market economy but with a colossal sense of entitlement and a grievance to match.

It won't end well.

Rob

The first lesson you need to learn post-graduation is that you haven't made it just by graduating. You have barely started.

Once you learn that lesson you should do reasonably well. Those that don't write embittered articles online incoherently emoting about why they aren't showered with Good Things.

MC

I wonder to what extent the sour and chippy manner is a result of the inevitable disappointment that follows years of cossetted self-flattery in academia’s Clown Quarter.

I notice that many of the people you illuminate on this blog are simply not very bright. However, they believe they are because, as you say, they have been told so, by quacks whose livelihood depends on telling idiots they are great but that the system is wrong.

Reality must be quite pointy after this.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Assume, for a minute, that you are a freshly graduated Doctor (medical type, that is). At this instant in time, you have no income.

Declare bankruptcy and wipe out your medical degree debt. NOW get a job and profit!

No, unless by "instant of time" you mean the week or two between the time new doc gets his diploma handed to him, and the time he starts internship (or PGY1, if you prefer the new fashionable term)/residency, and ignore the typical grace period (which can be as long as 9 months) built into a loan to account for this. One can also opt to put a loan into forbearance until one completes a residency.

That happened quite a bit, so the brute-force solution was to not allow anyone to weasel out of their student loan debt.

No it did (and does) not happen quite a bit, because one has to be exceptionally terrible not not to be selected for a residency program anywhere.

The national (US) average salary for a PGY1 is just south of $59,000. The average yearly tuition is a bit north of $42,000 (this includes state schools which are, of course, cheaper). With a standard 10 year loan that comes to about $1700/month. What this means is that if our new doc does not ask for forbearance, he gets to live semi-frugally for 4-7 years (depending on residency) at which time his salary will jump to about $185,000 (various primary care specialties) to around $400,000 for things like anesthesiology or some of the surgical sub-specialties.

The figures in the Olden Days are nearly the same in terms of today's dollars. Having opted to take one of the several scholarships being offered, I only had one year of loans to pay back which I did by writing a check for the whole amount at the end of PGY1. I, or anyone, could do this as it all comes down to personal choices yet again. The reality is that during the course of a residency in anything, because one practically lives in the hospital, one does not need a fancy house/apartment, a new Porsche, all the latest electronic gimcracks, etc, etc., and even with a wife and kid in tow, can more than eke by on slightly more than the median average US family income.

" .... at least in the years since I’ve graduated".

Huh? She's 22.

Thar ranks right up there with one of the most dangerous things in the world, a 2LT saying, "In my experience..."

GarceW

On her twitter feed, she makes a snarky big deal that she was paid for this essay. But not much:
http://everydayfeminism.com/apology-food-insecure/

Farnsworth M Muldoon
Everyday Feminism is run by a full-time core staff of six people of various intersecting marginalized identities...We believe, first and foremost, that it’s necessary for organizational leadership to be diverse and for our staff to have lived the experiences that we write about in our magazine. Currently, we are two-thirds people of color, two-thirds trans or gender non-conforming, two-thirds disabled or neuroatypical, and 100% queer.

They appear to have no one "cis" or mentally normal, so that sort of rules out the diversity.

David

she makes a snarky big deal that she was paid for this essay. But not much

What made me chuckle was the typically self-flattering claim that, “The market undervalues this important work.” I.e., writing leftist boilerplate for Everyday Feminism. And that’s the nub of it, really. Ms Olsen and so many of her peers waft through life assuming that they have some God-given right to be paid whatever amount they deem commensurate for writing something, often badly, that can’t be monetised in the ways they would wish – because very few people regard it as worth paying for. Even the readers who are, demographically and ideologically, very much like themselves.

And Ms Olsen and her peers find this simple fact outrageous.

Remember, these “social justice” warriors very often regard themselves as having expertise in capitalism and the way the world is, yet they struggle with basic notions of supply and demand. And so they seem to imagine that there ought to be a vast and lucrative market for what they do, as if what they do is in some way both profound and unique, despite the fact that tens of thousands of leftist wannabe-writers with eerily similar opinions, regurgitated wholesale, are churned out every year. Resulting in a massive, almost comical, oversupply.

A little humility might permit perspective. But instead, the underlying dynamic is something like, “How dare you not find us as fascinating and valuable, and as cosmically important, as we imagine we are?!” And of course they’re writing for an audience largely made up of equally vain and embittered people who, quite often, imagine the same thing about themselves.

ac1

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/11/welcome-world-right-wing-gateway-drugs-ready-ride/

Even in its twilight years the Guardian remains the gift that keeps on giving. As the tin-shaking below the pieces grows stronger (generally presenting the publication as the only barrier between the reader and incipient fascism) the pieces remain reliably ridiculous. Yet even by these standards, Monday produced perhaps the Guardian’s worst shake-down effort to date.

Richard Cranium

Mr. Muldoon, you are assuming that those people were not explicitly gaming the system when they declared bankruptcy.

JuliaM

That B Ark is going to need to be a B Armada at this rate....

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...you are assuming that those people were not explicitly gaming the system...

Go back and read what I wrote. Though there are probably a couple of cases (not "quite a bit") of hammerheads who would try declaring bankruptcy upon completion of school, a) it is unnecessary, and b) phenomenally stupid as it would make it nearly impossible to get loans to start up, buy into, or buy a practice.

Fred the Fourth

On the site "Samizdata", commenter Watchman writes (in a discussion of the treatment of intellectuals in Cuba and the US):
"the price of freedom is to discover you may not be as valuable as you think you are"

David

WHY IS NO-ONE BUYING MY GIANT PORCELAIN SHOES?!

jabrwok

Regarding the animal-fat-containing £5 (hey, I just learned the alt-code for the £ symbol! Yay me!) note, I wonder whence the tallow originated. Perhaps it's not only not *Vegan*, but even not *Halal*! I wonder what the response would be amongst the Diverse-British to the revelation that their money contained pig fat...

dcardno

Jabrwok
+1

RightofGenghis

The sad thing about this young lady's rant is that it's distracting her from solving her problem. She's spending all her time justifying her self-pity and surrounding herself with people who enable and reward that self-pity rather than challenging her to improve and innovate and succeed. Placing all the blame on uncontrollable "others" and complaining about a situation, instead of solving her problem.

I too graduated with a mountain of debt. I rented a shitty little room in a group house for several years. I too lamented and felt helpless under a mountain of debt, filling myself with doubt and fear.

And then I grew the fuck up and stopped whining and started thinking about how to improve my economic situation. I'm no longer poor. Imagine that.

Y. Knott

Mr. Muldoon, you are assuming that those people were not explicitly gaming the system when they declared bankruptcy.

Regrettably, you are perfectly correct; many of them were, and many of them planned to do this before they started. I, too, couldn't see how to prevent this... :(

And of course they’re writing for an audience largely made up of equally vain and embittered people who, quite often, imagine the same thing about themselves.

- and equally unemployable, which is why they have no money to buy the published ravings of their fellow SJW's, thus supporting their deserved lifestyles. Karma takes no prisoners...

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

I was broke/poor; I moved and went into an entirely new line of work. It was hard and scary and exhausting and lonely, but I had to do it or I would have continued to sink into debt.

I also sold stuff to get the money to move. She could at least sell those rings she's wearing. To this day almost all my clothes are off of ebay.

Her real problem is that she's not as important to the world as she wants to be. All that twitting about being afraid Milo Y would "attack" her? She wishes she were important enough for Milo to go after. Plus, how is a thin blond gay so damn terrifying anyways?

MC

I'd love to know how Everyday Mentalism generates enough revenue to pay six full-time staff.

Spiny Norman

MC,

Preying on the eternally gullible, I would imagine.

Trevor

Even in its twilight years the Guardian remains the gift that keeps on giving.

Now revealed to be Godfrey Elfwick's finest hour (to date, at least).

Spiny Norman

ac1,

Some of the Spectator's readers seem to believe that absurd "Anonymous" hit piece in the Graun "has Godfrey Elfwick all over it". Surely the Guardian wouldn't publish (and heavily promote) something they didn't bother to check?

Spiny Norman

Oh bang! I should have refreshed the page before posting.

Fred the Fourth

MC,
As I know from many examples of legitimate new, small companies, when the CEO says "we have 6 full-time staff" one cannot conclude anything about their salary costs.
Of course, unless one is a total cynical bastard like me, one certainly believes that Everyday Femininism is paying all its workers a "living wage" with full benefits, paid vacations, generous sick-time or "personal" time off, "family and maternity(wut?) leave", transport subsidies, "wellness" programs, tuition benefits, and annual pay increases. Heck, their current lead article is about how feminist "paid sick leave" is. (How feminist, you ask? "Feminist as hell" is the apparent answer.)
I mean, come ON, how could anyone here think they'd skimp on such basics?

They claim to have 4.5 million readers (hits per month, I think). I enabled ads and scripts on their magazine site, and exactly one ad came up, for Marie Callender's restaurant. Evne that ad only came up once, at the first load - after that the ad spaces were all blank. They market speakers and courses, but there's no evidence on their site about how much revenue is generated, or even if any of that is booked by the magazine itself. Off the top of my head, I'd guess their gross revenues are AT BEST on the close order of $200K per annum, net after non-salary costs maybe $150K (websites are cheap to operate), leaving about $ 25 K per annum per employee for salary. Realistically I'd guess it's half that. The site appears to be mostly a platform for marketing seminars, lectures, and courses of various types, and as I noted, there's no indication how that revenue, if any, is booked.

The above information is the opinion of the author, and should not be used as the basis for any investment in the subject company. Investors should always perform their own diligence before investing.

Fred the Fourth

Sadly, the slot in my portfolio for "Wacky businesses with over-the-top risk" is already filled. But the rest of you, hey! feel free to pile in anytime!

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

They claim to have 4.5 million readers (hits per month, I think).

They may indeed, but most are probably from here...

PiperPaul

"They claim to have 4.5 million readers"

Yes, could be "hits". A webpage with 10 images on it registers 11 hits. A website with 100 invisible 1px by 1 px images registers 101 hits. Some pages auto-refresh every n seconds and many "webmasters" are notably reluctant to release the raw site stats data (something about "site policy" or maybe "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it").

It's possible that 4.5 million figure could be all-time numbers also but then again, how many gender and wymyn's studies students and alumni are there? Part of the "deal" after graduating could loading up browser windows filled with the right-thinking websites' tabs on a regular basis... Nah, that'd be silly.

Observer

"During her years at Western Washington University"

Instate tuition at Western Washington University is $7,100 a year - the full cost of attendance is $23,000 a year.

She's $65,000 in debt - about the cost of three years of attendance.

I guess she really hated the idea of working during school or during summers.

Observer

"(Also, the bit about getting laid in college may be over the edge, risk-wise, these days...)"

I've calculated that a male now attending the college I graduated from has about a one in ten chance of being formally charged with sexual assault over four years.

Watcher

For a long time I have believed that many governments have been victims of faulty logic, based on the following historical facts:
1) Smart people graduate from University, and,
2) Graduates with university degrees statistically earn more money than those without.

Then, they started believing in the following, without any evidence other than 'common sense':
3) University education makes people significantly smarter,
3) Sending more citizens to university will make more citizens who are significantly smarter,
4) Ensuring that a sufficient percentage of university students graduate will ensure they have the qualifications to get good jobs,
5) More graduates from universities ensures that these graduates will have higher paying jobs to lift the economy and provide innovation.

Unfortunately, now we are seeing this house of cards teetering on the balance of collapse. The above might be true, if the original graduates had been randomly chosen from the population, instead of being the top 10-20% of the population, and had still achieved points 1) and 2). Now that governments have dropped the academic entry requirements, you have to be accepting the less smart students. If you don't drop the standards for graduation, then many of these additional students would have otherwise failed., and so the standards are lowered. Consequently the market is realising that the value of a degree is dropping not only because of its prevalence, but because they no longer are a reasonable marker for superior intellect. The rise in enrolments in Grievance Studies compared to STEM enrolments means that many students graduate without useful employable skills, but are often filled with skills that make them less employable for private industry. The disillusionment that items 1) and 2) still hold is a big disappointment for those who have borrowed large amounts in the expectation of a fast repayment in a guaranteed good job.

So, here we are. Government are not going to stop this because of the outcry that would result if fewer students were supported in getting university qualifications, and, making university effectively an additional three to five more years of secondary education means the government doesn't have to deal with huge young person unemployment figures.

Watcher

For Ms. Olsen, shown above with a large Starbucks coffee in her hand, just forgoing two cups of this coffee a month would have provided the savings to be able to afford to run her $10 per month gas stove, and thus develop her culinary skills in the process.

No gas stove = no maillard reactions = take-away as a staple diet. She should be able to save even more money by cooking for herself on her currently unused stove, as well as eating healthier. But, no, she must rail against the lack of light instead of lighting one candle - or in her case, a gas stove.

David

Everyday Mentalism

Heh. “Where logic and stoicism go to die.”

The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.

Blogroll