A few weeks ago, I posted a NYT story on twin college grads in desperate search of jobs in Manhattan. The Washington Post now has published a similar saga, only this bright young graduate is not crammed in an apartment with five friends subsisting on Ramen noodles, but back at home eating dinner with mom and dad.
The long piece on former valedictorian, class president and Senate intern Melissa Meyer includes this great passage:
For 23 years, she had advanced down America’s path to success — perfect grades, a $200,000 college degree, a folder overstuffed with business cards — only to have it dead-end back where she started.
“What was the point?” she asks.
For Melissa, that question is the legacy of the recession as she rises one Tuesday morning in early fall and begins her day with the same routine that defined her adolescence. She rummages through her parents’ refrigerator, eats leftovers from a dinner party hosted by her parents the night before and then retreats upstairs to prepare for a fill-in shift at the same job she held throughout high school. After changing into cowboy boots and a skirt, she borrows her parents’ car and drives three minutes to work at Rockin’ Rudy’s, a record store with a peace sign hanging at the entrance.
The shop smells of incense. Classic rock plays through speakers. Customers come and go in tie-died T-shirts as Melissa stands behind a register and rings up CDs, bandanas and a gigantic bronze frog.
Midway through her shift, a man approaches the counter ready to buy three necklaces. He introduces himself as a palm reader. Melissa sticks out her hand.
“I know nothing about my future,” she says.
We are all hearing stories about talented college grads who can’t find jobs, both in the news and in our own lives. I think it’s likely in a few years that we’ll read that most of these twenty-somethings have since found jobs and are back on track. (This story suggests Melissa may change tracks.)
After looking at the photo gallery with the Post story, I can only say that if I were without job prospects, I’d like to at least be in Montana for the breathtaking scenery.