Curse of the Class of 2009..?

_45406166_lecture2_226It’s Saturday morning and the Newshour team is preparing for an in-depth look at university graduates struggling to find work.  We’ve received some interesting comments.  And we’re pleased that one of our distinguished guests today, the American entrepreneur Doug Hall, has joined the online discussion.  He writes: “There has never been a better time to be an innovator – no matter what your career, degree or passion. Industry has never had so many challenges, coming so fast.”  Are you a graduate still looking for work and do you agree with Mr Hall?  Is the recession an opportunity to be seized? 

In just a short while Newshour‘s Roger Hearing will bring together Doug Hall, three recent university graduates from Britain, China, and India, and a representative of Britain’s top universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, to take a close look at what it means to be successful in these troubling times.  Do you think the Class of 2009 is cursed?  Are you from a country where unemployment is a fact of life, and do you agree with Carol in Uganda, who writes: “Has the recession forced me to change my idea of what it means to be successful? Absolutely not. It has only enriched it.”

19 Responses to “Curse of the Class of 2009..?”

  1. May 21, 2009 at 16:21

    If the economic recession is to be blamed for the many jobless youth in Uganda, then the recession must have hit us earlier than the US! Unemployment has always been with us and now with the slow down it is hard for us to connect the two. In fact many of us do not even understand what the credit crunch is all about.

    I completed University last year, worked for a small firm. Got bored with routine. Lost motivation and quit after 7 months. It’s been about the same length of time since I quit. No regrets yet. Hesitant to join the over fifty pairs of eyes set on the same job in my country I’m more than persuaded that Uganda needs a generation of resilient and informed entrepreneurial youth willing to take risks This should be coupled with a supportive government. I believe this will help reduce the thousands of job application letters that lie unattended to in the many offices in my country. Perhaps this works for every economy that has been “developing” from time without beginning.

    Has the recession forced me to change my idea of what it means to be successful? Absolutely not. It has only enriched it.
    Carol Amuge, Kampala Uganda.

  2. 2 John in Salem
    May 22, 2009 at 15:34

    The “curse”, as you call it, isn’t so much the hard realities of today as it is the fantasies of the past. In our minds we see the last century as a struggle out of the Great Depression into the New Frontier of the fifties when success was guaranteed if we only had a belief in ourselves and enough “can do” attitude. Anything was possible – all it took was ambition – and deep down we think that we can get back there again. That’s the message we’re sold at our national pep rallies we call the election cycle and we buy it every time.
    The truth, however, is that in our shrinking world we can’t go back, and that a college degree and a drive to succeed are not the golden road to the good life – they only give you a better chance at survival.

  3. 3 Anthony
    May 22, 2009 at 16:17

    Even when I was in Retail Management a few years back, there were a whole lot of managers with 4 year degrees in business, and I would think to myself, “Really? You went to school for 4 years to get into retail management?”. It was kinda funny.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  4. 4 A.R.Shams, Pakistan
    May 22, 2009 at 19:49

    To have a job looking for one has to have skill for the nature of job in which one wishes to make his or her career.

    For that, besides having number of degrees, more a need is one’s ‘know how’ on a particular trade, while very rare people care to attain that very seriously and persistently.

    Thats the chief cause of many people’s remaining jobless, while joblessness is termed as a curse by many people.

  5. 5 Kakule kiza celestin
    May 23, 2009 at 09:37

    Curse ? May be. Job today has become a matter of acquaintances and arrangements especially in my country, littrate guys are wandering streets doing jobs for they don’t meet opportunities that match their school educations. Having studied is not enough, we also need be clever in choosing studying field, it’s for example silly for a guy living in third world to choose studying field like Aircraft engineering or something like tha while nobody of them is marketable in is own land ( some die jobless ) we have plenty of them here in flight companies from International schools of the world, just keep your diploma under your bed.
    Moreover, knowing how to presenting one’s application is also very important fact which cause people lacking jobs. Just be clever in every thing dude!

  6. 6 Doug Hall
    May 23, 2009 at 11:29

    There has never been a better time to be an innovator – no matter what your career, degree or passion. Industry has never had so many challenges, coming so fast. As a CEO – I look beyond the “piece of paper” to the person’s ability to Create, Communicate and Commercialize ideas. The digital world has changed everything – and young people are desperately needed to bring their fresh ideas and insights. They have the greatest potential to impact the world and companies IF they take responsibility for taking action – and don’t whine. Taking responsibility means not simply relying on: who their daddy is, what school they attended, what their grades were. It means demonstrating their innovation skills in the job seeking process itself. I’m actually less concerned about today’s young people – they’ll adapt and adjust in time. I’m mostly concerned about their parents. They don’t have much time or in many cases the energy to adapt to the new world.

  7. May 23, 2009 at 11:31

    I’m very close to finishing my university studies in industrial engineering. I’ve sent only a single application to a car manufacturing company. Aside, i got the information, that that particular company is in a hiring freeze. Two weeks later (few days ago), I got an invitation to a jobinterview. If it goes successful, i’ll be sent to the USA to help in errecting a new car factory.
    I get the feeling, that the industry is painting a much bleaker image of the crisis, than there actually is. We are in a crisis, but if we students/graduates stopped having hope for having a good job after the study… what would be the point of even going on? But I haven’t seen massive numbers of students dropping out of their university because of the crisis, so there must be some basis for optimism. Eventually, even this crisis will go over.

  8. 8 Max
    May 23, 2009 at 14:09


    I think today’s radio programme was a major embarrasment.. how could you let it degenerate into an “on-the-line make your pitch to random potential employer” sham??
    I agree with Konstantin – large parts of the industry will use the perceived crisis to force applicants into even more unpaid internships or lowly paid initial positions. It’s the nature of corporate greed and exploitation. So instead of pouring oil into the flames, as your programme did, I kindly ask the BBC to revert back to what made its reputation: solid investigative journalism. What are the REAL economic numbers, and how do they relate to the spread of fear? Who is actually profiting from crisis perceptions? These are some of the questions you need to investigate, instead of setting up some weird “plead for a job forum”.
    The “employer”, Mr. “What Can You Do For Me? I don’t Want To Hear About You!” etc. etc. was simply the wrong person to have on the show. Naturally, he’ll feel smug and in control, riding the waves of insecurity. Asking graduates to “make their pitch” literally made me cringe.. perhaps you rather should have asked them to interrogate and criticize the “crisis” – that could have had more beneficial effects on their personal outlook. But no, you played into someone else’s hands.. what a shame!

  9. 9 sma chalwe
    May 23, 2009 at 21:44

    i think the globle econimic crisis is causing many potenial students to change their field of study to any thing that can get u a job.am only in my first year and am already so worried.zambia

  10. 10 Brian from Calif.
    May 24, 2009 at 03:06

    The concern is not how to make money but how to make a difference.
    The phrase “to cop out” in my generation meant to comprise your principles for money, security.
    In short, live you life free. Do things of purpose. The money will come.
    We are all insecure. It is in the nature of people. Security is one of the worse motivations.
    Think clearly, concisely.
    Do something of value.
    Do something you believe in.

  11. 11 Anonymous
    May 24, 2009 at 09:15

    Dear all,

    Success is primarily determined from within; the career you pursue, the job you have, etc. are of secondary importance when it comes to your INNER state of consciousness.

    It is important to take a breath, step back and first ACCEPT the present moment as it is, and then go out looking for jobs, etc. Attempting to do things the other way around (i.e. to find a job, home, partner, spouse, etc.) in order to make you feel happy (because that’s what you’re trying to do – find a job, etc. so you can settle down and ultimately lead a peaceful life) will not work.

    This is because your inner state (which prompted the search for your job!) will remain. It will not be assuaged by arranging your external circumstances in a way you would like (or it may be, temporarily, but only temporarily as as we all know things change – look at the recession itself – how quickly circumstances alter radically in unpredictable directions).

    So first, get your ‘inner temple’ in order, as it were, and then, in that empowered state, do what you have to do in order to arrange your external circumstances as you like (which includes getting a job – we all have to work, etc. finding a partner, and so forth) but from that state of acceptance.

    That is the meaning of success.

  12. 12 randall j. doro
    May 24, 2009 at 09:15

    are you stupid?
    You desire to work for an auto company (G.M. or Chrysler)
    in the U.S.A. (working for little Timmy or Barrack)???
    Grow up and erect something non-state subsidized. Your
    sense of self-worth and your opportunities shall be so much more
    greatly enhanced.

  13. 13 randall j. doro
    May 24, 2009 at 09:17

    My comment “awaits moderation”. This from the
    Orwellian censors at the Beeb”.

    • 14 Brian from Calif.
      May 25, 2009 at 18:31

      Big Brother is watching you. 😉
      Aren’t we all governmentally subsidized or directed in some way, shape, or form?

      To the aspiring industrial engineer, please design a small fuel efficient car for me with clearance. If you can help out GM, i.e., Government Motors, so much the better!!

      Aren’t we going through massive financial crises because of the lack of governmental regulation of the financial markets? Aren’t we highly likely going through massive climate shifts because of the lack of governmental regulation of fossil fuel consumption? Does the free market-teer philosophy really work? Hasn’t this thinking been exposed as “cartoonish”. How many people have to suffer for quasi-religious political philosophies? In the style of George the 43rd, “Does that dog hunt?” Better question, has Cheney learned to hunt?

  14. 15 JDC
    May 24, 2009 at 11:14

    Congratulations on using the stereotypes and getting your guest to play along – the go-getting, hard-working Chinese and Indians versus the dull old British. Doug Hall played his part to perfection, playing the role as expected. For me, I’d hire the Brit ahead of the others. He told me about himself, came across as honest and didn’t just tell me what I (as the putative employer) wanted to hear, unlike the others.

  15. 16 Yi-Peng Li
    May 24, 2009 at 12:06

    This is a very interesting and very thought-provoking topic about university graduates.

    As a graduate of the Class of 2009 in Singapore, I would say that I’d like to seek a different post-university future for myself. While I know that school leavers must earn their living when they graduate, I’ve not felt very happy with the idea that’s being branded around that we all need to get into the corporate world. Job-grooming degrees have their place, but I’d consider myself one who would like to “stand up and be counted” so that I can make the world a better place. So, there needn’t be any doom-mongering among this year’s crop of university graduates who pass through their convocations.

  16. 17 Eli Aino
    May 24, 2009 at 22:26

    I’m from San Francisco in California, which is one of the most educated cities in America. There’s a famous saying there: “You know you’re in San Francisco when the busboy went to Berkeley, the waiter has a master’s degree, the maitre d’ has a PhD and the owner’s a high-school dropout.” This is an exaggeration but only just. The practical, real-life skills that you need to survive and succeed––skills like making a budget, assessing a stranger’s character, persuading an authority figure to your p.o.v., and so on––are neglected in schools in favor of information which, let’s be honest, is only useful to a small circle of academics. I’m all for cultural literacy––if I were on trial, I’d rather my judge be well-read and broad-minded––and I won’t for a second deny the usefulness of science. But let’s give our students a mental framework that can help, rather than hinder, their adaptation to life. I fear, though, that a tenured academic can’t do such a good job of that.

  17. 18 janet
    May 24, 2009 at 23:41

    What sort of reporting was this?
    The women from the Russell Group was not the sort of person I would like to have on my child’s team, spounting the usual meaningless tripe you can expect from careers advisors. The reporter should really have taken the American “potential employer” to task. He (the reporter) obviouly was not used to hearing the normal mindless BS that issues from the month of the average American wannabe .
    Think the Apprentice, totally unpleasent and useless.

    Finally why make the English man bear the brunt of his diatribe, of course the following two graduates did better they just parroted what the American chap wanted to hear. Do I detect a little bit of anti westernism creeping in here.
    Enough please!

    As for the Asian hustle and bustle, I do not think China is the model we should follow with their human rights record and the way they have treated their factory workers in the current downturn. As for India, their educated young can’t wait to get out to the USA or UK, not much going home to improve the lot of their own people.

    All in all a poor report, lacking in facts, with two rather unlikeable people on the career and jobmarket side.

  18. May 30, 2009 at 11:05

    There has never been a match between the jobs available and the graduates produced. Economic depression means the match will be even harder to achieve long term. People who acquire knowledge should treat it as treasure regardless of the pay off “moolah-wise”.

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